UPDATE: Former USC Coach Losses Defamation Suit Against the NCAA

On May 21, 2018, a jury returned a verdict of 9-3, found that the NCAA did not defame former University of Southern California assistant football coach Todd McNair in its 2010 and 2011 statements. As we have previously reported, McNair accused the NCAA’s Infractions Committee of ending his coaching career in June 2010 when it found him guilty of unethical conduct in connection with the impermissible-benefits scandal involving the Reggie Bush scandal. The Reggie Bush scandal, also known as the Bush/O.J. Mayo scandal, arose…
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Putative Class Action against NCAA and Universities Dismissed for Untimeliness

On May 17, 2018, a federal judge dismissed a putative class’ wage suit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and several universities for failing to file within the two-year period required under the statute of limitations.  Lawrence “Poppy” Livers, a former Villanova University football player, brought a claim in September 2017, asserting that the NCAA, Villanova, and other universities were violating the minimum wage provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  Specifically, Livers contended that he and other college athletes with scholarships should…
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NCAA Wins Motions in Antitrust Litigation

On January 3, 2018, Judge Nathanael M. Cousins denied the class of former NCAA student-athlete’s motion to reopen discovery in the NCAA antitrust litigation. The litigation began in March 2014, when former student-athletes claimed that the NCAA violated antitrust laws by capping scholarship awards below the actual cost of college attendance. The former student-athletes wanted to reopen discovery to gain access to a public opinion survey conducted by the NCAA, which according to the players said that 79 percent of Americans believe that big universities…
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NLRB Opens its Doors to Protect College Football Players as Employees

On January 31, 2017, the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) released a memo which stated it believed football players at private colleges qualify as employees. The Board declined to answer this question in 2015 when they dismissed a unionization effort by players at Northwestern University, citing concerns of instability if such a decision was rendered that only pertained to private universities. However, a recent decision by the NLRB that found in favor of graduate teaching assistants challenging their status…
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Student-Athlete Pay Cap Claims Return, NCAA Seeks Shelter Under O’Bannon Ruling

The NCAA is seeking to remove multidistrict litigation antitrust claims relating to the organization’s rules regarding student-athlete compensation. Currently, the NCAA maintains that college athletics is a form of competitive amateurism. The NCAA’s unwillingness to pay student-athletes compensation beyond the cost of attendance is based in the belief that college sports are hobbies played by amateur athletes. On Monday, May 18, 2016, the NCAA claimed that the issue of student-athlete compensation has already been litigated in the O’Bannon case ruling (2015). Previously, in a…
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Objector’s Attorneys Continue to Get Pummeled with Motions for Sanctions

On Wednesday October 28, 2015, a group of former-collegiate athletes filed a motion for sanctions against the attorneys representing objecting class members in their own lawsuit. This comes as the latest in a long and well-publicized class action suit brought by the former athletes against the NCAA and Electronic Arts, Inc., for violations relating to the use of their likeness and images in video games. Filed with the Ninth Circuit, this motion for sanctions comes in response to what the plaintiffs believe is nothing more…
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Third Circuit Will Revisit New Jersey Sports Betting Decision

On Wednesday, October 14, 2015,  the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit granted New Jersey’s request to revisit its decision to disallow New Jersey from legalizing sports betting. Last October, New Jersey lifted its prohibition on sports betting in racetracks and casinos. In response, the NFL and NCAA—two sports leagues that oppose sports betting—sought an injunction to stop New Jersey. The district court granted the injunction and subsequently found that repealing the prohibition violated the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992.…
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The NCAA Continues Opposition of Class Certification in Scholarship Antitrust Actions

On Tuesday September 8, 2015, the NCAA continued its opposition of class certification in a multidistrict antitrust litigation, which seeks to reduce NCAA restrictions on scholarship caps for Bowl Subdivision D-1 football players and for men’s and women’s basketball teams. The lawsuits, filed on behalf of past and current NCAA athletes, also aim to reduce restrictions on what schools can offer their players—like compensation, for example. The plaintiff’s initial filing seeking class certification came in April 2015. For the individual cases to be certified,…
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NLRB Ends Northwestern Football Players’ Attempt at Unionization

A unanimous decision by the National Labor Relations Board on Monday ended the Northwestern University scholarship football players’ bid to unionize without addressing the key issue that has plagued collegiate athletics for so many years: whether college athletes are employees and entitled to such compensation. The case was brought before the five-member board for review after an NLRB regional director found that the football players who put in “more hours than ‘many undisputed full-time employees’ work” are employees and thus can unionize. According to the…
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An Uphill Battle: NCAA Embroiled In Federal Litigation On Multiple Fronts

The NCAA is under fire, defending cases in both the Northern District of California and the Ninth Circuit. The California proceedings are now focused on attorneys’ fees – specifically, whether or not the NCAA has to pay them. Earlier this month, U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins, in an opinion that referenced the popular television series “Game of Thrones,” awarded Plaintiff Ed O’Bannon $46 million in attorneys’ fees. The NCAA opposed the award, claiming that O’Bannon’s legal team – which is comprised of over 30…
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