The NCAA Continues to Block Student-Athletes From Transferring Universities: Protecting Fair Play or Violating Antitrust Laws?

Former Northern Illinois University football player, Peter Deppe, filed suit against the NCAA in which he alleged that the NCAA’s “year-in-residence” rule violates antitrust laws. NIU recruited Deppe as a walk-on punter, but designated him as a red shirt player for his first year. In August 2014, the special teams coach told Deppe that beginning in January 2015, he would receive an athletic-scholarship and take over as the starting punter. However, the special teams coach transferred schools, and NIU’s head coach informed Deppe that he would not receive the scholarship. Also, NIU signed another punter, reducing Deppe’s future chances of receiving an athletic-scholarship or achieving playing time. Deppe obtained an official letter of release from NIU to transfer to the University of Iowa. The University of Iowa conditioned Deppe’s transfer ...
Continue Reading...


Ole Miss Persuades Tax Court Judge to Slash Tax Bill in Half, a Tax Victory for Athletic Programs

Ole Miss successfully convinced a tax court judge to reduce the university’s tax liability by 50 percent with respect to revenue the school brought in by sending its coaches to Nike and Coca-Cola sponsored functions. In August 2015, the IRS notified the university that the income received for these appearances were taxable under IRC sections 511-513, because it constituted “unrelated business income” for exempt organizations. Ole Miss responded by filing a petition with the tax court disputing its tax liability in late 2015, arguing the university coaches’ appearances at such functions were conditions of its sponsorship and were directly related to the school’s tax-exempt purposes, which should have insulated it from tax liability. As a result of Ole Miss’s victory, coach appearances that bring in sponsor payments are shielded from ...
Continue Reading...

Sexual Abuse Suit Brought by 18 Athletes Names MSU and USA Gymnastics as Defendants

Eighteen women have filed suit naming Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics, and the Twistars gymnastics group as defendants with regard to the actions of Dr. Larry Nassar, an elite orthopedic doctor who allegedly sexually assaulted several women over the course of twenty years in the guise of medical treatment. Specifically, the suit alleges that by ignoring the women’s persistent claims, MSU, USA Gymnastics, and Twistars effectively perpetuated the abuse perpetrated by Nassar for two decades. Twistar’s owner, John Geddert, chose not to take action after he received a sexual abuse complaint regarding Dr. Nassar in 1997. In addition, complaints of abuse were brought to MSU’s attention as far back as 1999, but the university failed to take any steps to remedy the problem. Its eventual investigation in 2014 of new ...
Continue Reading...

Pennsylvania Appeals Court Denies NCAA’s Efforts to Appeal Negligence Finding in NCAA Death Suit

The NCAA’s efforts to appeal a Pennsylvania court’s finding that the NCAA was negligent in failing to require Division II schools screen for sickle-cell trait were denied on December 28, 2016. The case arose after Jack Hill Jr., a Slippery Rock University student, died following a high-intensity basketball practice due to sickle-cell trait complications. Jack Jr.’s parents, Jack and Cheryl Hill, filed suit against the University and the NCAA, arguing the university’s failure to administer sickle-trait testing prior to allowing them to participate in athletics and the NCAA’s failure to require Division II schools to do so was negligent. Initially, the NCAA was dismissed from the suit based on the idea that the applicable “increased risk of harm” tort required an affirmative act, but the PA appeals court disagreed, noting ...
Continue Reading...

Efforts of UPenn Athletes to Obtain Employee Status Denied Once Again

Following the dismissal of a suit brought by UPenn athletes seeking compensation as employees under the FLSA, the athletes are arguing that the Seventh Circuit’s reliance on a 1992 Seventh Circuit case, which rejected Fair Labor Standards claims brought by a prisoner, essentially placed them on similar legal footing as prison laborers. Though the athletes are aware fighting for employee status as college athletes is far-fetched based on the courts’ consistent denial of such claims, the UPenn athletes’ argument rests on the proposition that they did not get a fair stab at discovery, and they should have, which places them in a similar legal status as prisoners. The case the court relied on in its dismissal was Vanskike v. Peters, in which the court focused on the “economic reality” of ...
Continue Reading...

NCAA Faces Another Concussion Class Action Over Breach of Protective Duty

The NCAA faces another potential class action after several former college football players filed suit in Indiana federal court attacking the organization’s concussion protocol, or lack thereof. Some might say the organization should have seen it coming in light of the modified $75 million dollar medical monitoring settlement the NCAA reached with players last May. The original settlement was modified out of concerns that the settlement would preclude players from bringing individual personal injury claims based on contract principles, and left open the possibility of athletes suing their individual colleges on behalf of a single sport. And that is just what college athletes have been doing ever since. The group of former players alleges that the NCAA breached the contracts embedded in the players’ agreements by failing to protect and ...
Continue Reading...

Former NHL Players Bringing Concussion Suit Ask Court to Unseal Concussion Class Certification Docs

Several former NHL players brought a concussion suit against the National Hockey League in 2013 based on allegations that they have all experienced long-term neurological issues as a direct result of concussions sustained while playing for the league; a suit precipitated by a settlement between the NFL and thousands of former players over similar allegations. The players claim the league neglected to provide adequate protection and information re concussion dangers and the possible repercussions. One of the players’ experts opined that the average NHL player sustains 1-3 blows to the head with the potential to cause permanent brain damage in every game, and that this was being conservative. In December of 2016, the players initiated a class certification of players qualifying for medical monitoring and those who have been diagnosed ...
Continue Reading...

Maryland Adopts Daily Fantasy Sports Regulations

Maryland’s fashionably late adoption of daily fantasy sports regulations went into effect on January 2, 2017, providing several consumer safeguards  in the industry. State regulations surrounding the industry came flooding in after fantasy sport kingpins DraftKings Inc. and FanDuel Inc. faced a number of class action suits in 2015. Maryland’s regulations appear much less restrictive than most, however, in that they do not require operators to shell out a high registration fee (Virginia requires a whopping $50,000), and they set its minimum age at 18 as opposed to the majority of states, which require players to be 21. The regulations create a $1,000 ceiling for player’s monthly deposits, a number that is low for high-volume DFS participants. In addition, professional athletes are precluded from participating in contests in their respective ...
Continue Reading...

Is the First College Sports PAC for the Purpose of Preventing Pay for Play?

The athletic directors at 129 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) colleges and universities announced recently that they are forming a political action committee, called LEAD1, to lobby Congress. Not only can PACs give limited donations to candidates and parties, they can also — as a result of Citizens United — spend as much as they want to support or defeat a candidate, party, or legislation. LEAD1 is the first college sports PAC. Conventional wisdom holds that the FBS athletic directors created LEAD1 to try to prevent college athletes from being paid. Pay for play and other issues related to amateurism often make headline news these days, two examples being the O’Bannon v. NCAA case and Northwestern University football players trying to unionize. One LEAD1 committee is chaired by the Northwestern athletic director, who ...
Continue Reading...

Documents Show Fox News Settled Sexual Harassment Case Against Bill O’Reilly

Fox News network has settled another sexual harassment scandal. Juliet Huddy, a local New York television personality, has alleged that both Bill O’Reilly and longtime Fox executive, Jack Abernethy, pursued her, albeit, unsuccessfully for sexual relationships. She rebuffed both relationships to her own demise. Fox has denied Huddy’s allegations, but nevertheless, settled the potential lawsuit for a disclosed sum on money combined with an expensive confidentiality clause. Huddy and her family are well-known to the Fox family. Her father, John Huddy Sr., was consultant to Fox News and a friend to former network executive, Roger Ailes. Her brother, John Huddy Jr., continues to work there as a correspondent based in Jerusalem. Huddy’s attorneys drafted a letter to Fox News detailing the allegations, a letter also anonymously forwarded to the New ...
Continue Reading...