Texas A&M Wants out of the “12th Man” Copyright Suit

On March 15, 2019, Texas A&M University urged U.S. District Court Judge Andrew S. Hanen that the Texas A&M Athletic Department is not a separate entity and therefore is entitled to immunity in the Texas A&M “12th Man” copyright suit. As we have continued to report, in 2014, Michael J. Bynum, an author, sued Texas A&M after it posted on its website the “heart” of Mr. Bynum unpublished book, 12th Man: The Life and Legend of Texas A&M’s E. King Gill. According to…
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Potential New Tax Law Would Allow NCAA Athletes to Profit From Their Image

On March 14, 2019, Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) introduced a bill that would allow NCAA athletes to profit from their image and likeness. The Student-Athlete Equity Act, which is co-sponsored by Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), would amend the definition of an “amateur” in the federal tax code and would allow NCAA student-athletes to get paid when they, or more specifically their image, appears in video games, advertisements, and other public media. In a statement, Rep. Walker said, “Signing an athletic scholarship with a school…
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Ex-Auburn Assistant Coach to Plead Guilty

Former Auburn basketball assistant coach, Chuck Person, has reportedly plead guilty to a conspiracy charge. Person, who was previously accused of accepting bribes and encouraging Auburn basketball players to sign with certain financial advisors and business managers, is the latest NCAA figure to be caught up in the NCAA corruption/Bribery scandal and trial. As we have continued to report, the scandal, which concluded in a trail and convictions, involved Adidas executive Jim Gatto, Adidas contractor Merl Code, and sports business manager Christian Dawkins. Each…
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Former Penn Basketball Coach Takes the Stand, Admits Accepting Bribes

On March 8, 2019, former head basketball coach at the University of Pennsylvania, Jerome Allen, took the stand as a government witness in the trial of Philip Esformes. Allen, now with the Boston Celtics, previously plead guilty, in October 2019, to a bribery-related money laundering charge. Allen testified against Esformes, a healthcare executive, claiming that Esformes bribed him with $300,000 in bags full of cash and wire transfers so Esformes’ son, Morris, could qualify as a “recruited” basketball player, which would help him get accepted…
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NCAA Escapes Wrongful-Death Suit

In February 2016, at Mount Ida College in Massachusetts, after a two-hour off season workout with his football team, Michael Mazza returned to his dorm room and tragically died. According to an eyewitness, “[h]e sat on the couch and stiffened up. His head went back. His friends thought he was fooling around, but his lips were turning white and he wasn’t breathing.” Thirty minutes later, at 20 years old, Michael Mazza was pronounced dead. An autopsy revealed that the cause of death was “probable…
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“Hard Rock” Hamilton Says Microsoft Can’t Leave Gears of War Lawsuit

On March 2, 2019, Lenwood “Hard Rock” Hamilton filed a motion in opposition to Microsoft’s summary judgment motion in video game lawsuit. As we have previously covered, Hamilton sued Microsoft Studios Inc. and Epic Games Inc. claiming that a character/avatar in the popular video game Gears of War, Augustus “Cole Train” Cole, was based on, and copied, Hamilton. According to Hamilton, “[t]he similarities of the avatar ‘Cole Train’ and [Hamilton] include that both are black (and ‘Cole Train’ is the only black avatar…
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SCOTUS Settles Circuit Split, Rules Copyright Owners Must Register Prior to Bringing Infringement Lawsuits

On Monday, March 4, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously declared that a work must be registered with the U.S. Copyright office prior to the copyright owner bringing an infringement lawsuit. While registration is not required for valid copyright ownership, Section 411(a) provides that a work must be registered prior to bringing a copyright infringement lawsuit. Notably, even if the application is ultimately refused and the registration is denied, the applicant still may bring a civil action. Previously, the circuit courts had been split on what…
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College Athlete Compensation Decision

On March 8, 2019, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken issued an injunction prohibiting the NCAA from enforcing rules that are “overly and unnecessarily restrictive.” In yet another decision, Judge Wilken changed the landscape of the NCCA’s amateurism and compensation rules. For the second time, Judge Wilken ruled that the NCAA’s amateurism and compensation rules violated federal antitrust laws. Specifically, the NCAA can no longer “limit compensation or benefits related to education;” however, the NCAA “may continue … to limit compensation and benefits that are unrelated…
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Panel Suggests New York is Closing in on Limited Legalization of Sports Betting Statewide

According to a panel at the Cardozo Sports Law Symposium, New York continues to inch closer to joining neighboring states in legalizing sports betting. The panel, consisting of sports law professionals and state congressmen, discussed the current status of its legalization, impediments that continue to hinder its progress, and the benefits that could ultimately be capitalized upon. As noted by Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr., New York need look no further than its neighbors to the south to get a glimpse of the potential sports betting’s…
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UPDATE: NFL Moves to Dismiss Lawsuit Over Controversial No-Call

On February 27, 2019, the group of New Orleans Saints season ticket holders dropped their lawsuit against the NFL. ******* On February 12, 2018, the NFL moved to dismiss the lawsuit brought by a group of New Orleans Saints season ticket holders over the controversial no-call in the fourth quarter of the NFC championship game. As you recall, a group of New Orleans Saints season ticket holders sued the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell with the goal of reversing their overtime playoff loss in…
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