Northwestern and CAPA File Opposing Reply Briefs With NLRB

In an attempt to have a regional director’s decision that Northwestern University football players are employees, the school filed a reply brief with the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) explaining that its relationship to the student athletes is not economic. Previously, the regional director Peter Sung Ohr found that under the National Labor Relations Act, the athletes receiving scholarships were “employees” and could vote to unionize.  In response, Northwestern  argued that since the school is not “in the business of football,” no “economic relationship” is…
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O’Bannon Case: Judge Found NCAA “Unreasonably Restrain[ed] Trade”

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken in her decision wrote “The evidence . . . demonstrates that student-athletes themselves are harmed by the price-fixing agreement.”  Having found that the NCAA has violated antitrust laws, Judge Wilken issued an injunction prohibiting the NCAA “from enforcing any rules or bylaws that would prohibit its member schools and conferences from offering their FBS football or Division I basketball recruits a limited share of the revenues generated from the use of their names, images, and likenesses in addition to a…
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NCAA BIG 5 Granted Rights to Self-Regulation

On Thursday, August 7, the NCAA Division I board of directors voted in favor of allowing the Big 5 conferences to make some of their own rules.  This vote comes amid a wave of national criticism of the NCAA’s strict adherence to potentially outdated rules.  Primarily the NCAA has received criticism over its refusal to share its billions in revenue with the student-athletes who help generate it. The Big 5 conferences, ACC, Big 10, Big 12, SEC, and Pac 12, will now have broader authority…
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University of California Sued for Wrongful Death of Football Player Ted Agu

On Tuesday, August 5, the family of former University of California football player, Ted Agu, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the university claiming negligence in the Agu’s sudden death earlier this year. After offseason training drills in February, Ted Agu was taken by University of California medical staff to Alta Bates Medical Center as he exhibited signs of extreme fatigue.  There, Agu was pronounced dead.  The coroner’s report released in April stated hypertrophic cardiomyopathy as the cause of death.  His family and attorneys, however,…
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NCAA Reaches Settlement, Offering Rule Changes to Concussion Class-Action Plaintiffs

On Tuesday, the NCAA filed a proposed settlement in the US District Court of Chicago to potentially end the class-action head-trauma lawsuit.  The preliminary settlement will create a $70 million fund for diagnosing current and former college athletes for brain trauma and other head related injuries.  The NCAA is currently awaiting approval by Judge John Z. Lee. The proposed deal also sets up a new and uniform return-to-play policy, treatment requirements, and protocol for athletes who sustain head injuries.  The fund will be made available…
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Judge Approves $60 Million Settlement in NCAA Video Game Case

On Thursday, Judge Claudia Wilken approved the proposed settlement agreement between the Sam Keller plaintiffs and the defendants, NCAA, EA Sports and Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC)—$20 million with the NCAA and $40 million with EA Sports and CLC.  In an attempt to avoid similar video game related liability in the O’Bannon case, the NCAA argued the $20 million settlement should cover any misappropriation of likeness claims arising from NCAA-branded video games, but Judge Wilken disagreed.  Her decision to handle the two similar cases separately would…
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Big 12 Commissioner Critical of NCAA

At the beginning of Big 12 media days on Monday, July 21, commissioner Bob Bowlsby focused his state of the league address on to the NCAA and its rule enforcement procedures. Bowlsby joins the continuously  growing population of NCAA bashers by calling into question the NCAA enforcement wing’s efficiency.  While claiming the system is broken and that the NCAA has allowed cheating to pay off, the commissioner pointed out that the NCAA Infraction Committee hasn’t held a hearing in over a year.  He also expressed…
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NCAA Steps into the Northwestern Union Debate

The NCAA filed an amicus brief on behalf of Northwestern to reverse a decision from a regional National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that ruled the school’s football players are university employees.  The filing followed briefs submitted by Northwestern  and six Republican members of Congress in support of the university. The debate is still ongoing since the NLRB allowed the university to appeal the regional board’s decision.  If the NLRB affirms, the case could go before federal court.  Meanwhile, the voting results of  Northwestern football players…
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Players Are Harmed Regardless.

To start off the final round of filings, the plaintiffs in the O’Bannon trial submitted a brief addressing the court’s questions peppered at the end of the trial and rebutting the arguments articulated by the NCAA. At the end of the trial, Judge Claudia Wilken rigorously asked fundamental questions to determine whether the plaintiffs sufficiently established that the NCAA has violated antitrust law.  The plaintiffs reiterated in their brief that pinpointing the buyer and the seller in this case is pointless.  Regardless of who the…
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O’Bannon Trial: The Ball is Now in the Hands of Judge Wilken

After 24 witnesses over 15 days of trial, it has finally come to an end, with a final round of filings scheduled to end on July 10.  Presiding Judge Claudia Wilken is expected to render her decision by early August.  No matter who wins, there will be appeals. During the last day of the trial, the NCAA articulated the plaintiffs must show all the elements in an antitrust case: buyer, seller, market, product, agreement, restraint, antitrust injury and victim.  The NCAA further argued its rules…
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