Joseph M. Hanna

Joseph M. Hanna is the founder and chair of Goldberg Segalla’s Sports and Entertainment Practice Group and editor of the Sports and Entertainment Law Insider blog. With a national practice and industry-wide reputation for leadership, Joe is consistently ranked among the top 10 attorneys based in Western New York in Business First’s annual Legal Elite, and in 2015, Joe was the youngest honoree ever to be named Lawyer of the Year in the Bar Association of Erie County’s 130-year history. He was named a Rising Star by Law360 in 2014 and is also a member of the Mediator Panel for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York.

All articles by Joseph M. Hanna

 

No Goal: Massachusetts Panel Rules that Hockey Player Can’t Sue Fellow Player or Officials over Injury

The Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled in a split decision that a high school-age hockey player cannot sue a fellow player or other officials for a serious injury he suffered as a result of an illegal hit. In July 2013, hockey player Daniel Borella was injured by opposing player Julion Scott Lever near the end of a game between the New England Renegades and Team Kanaly. After being checked by Lever, Borella briefly lost consciousness and had his hand slashed by Lever’s skate. Borella permanently lost…  

What a Knockout! Disgruntled Fans Suit Down for the Count

The May 2, 2015 match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, promoted as the “Fight of the Century,” saw two of this generation’s most prominent figures in boxing go head-to-head for 12 rounds. However, many fans were less than pleased with the outcome of the fight after the Pacquiao camp’s post-fight revelation. At the conclusion of the match, a “three-judge panel [unanimously] declared Mayweather the overall winner of the match,” the Ninth Circuit said. That same panel declared Pacquiao the “winner of between two…  

Rolling the Dice: Florida Sports Betting and Gambling

In Murray v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, the U.S. Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) decision paved the way for states to enact sports gambling schemes. SCOTUS held that, “Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own.” In essence, SCOTUS found that a federal law banning sports betting and gambling is unconstitutional. Following this ruling, a flood of state legislatures moved to capitalize on the sports betting market. Recently, Florida State Sen.…  

NCAA Upholds Penalties Against Mizzou, Including Postseason Bans

An NCAA appeals committee upheld a series of penalties against the University of Missouri (Mizzou), including postseason bans, after a tutor was found to be completing coursework for several student-athletes. The NCAA Committee on Infractions initially penalized Mizzou in January 2019. The tutor was employed by the university from 2010 to 2016 and began to complete student coursework in the summer of 2015. The tutor interpreted a pay raise as school approval of her behavior. She completed assignments, quizzes, exams, and even an entire course…  

Pausing the Game: Take-Two Seeks to Pause WWE Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

Video game publisher Take-Two Interactive has told an Illinois federal court that it wants to pause a tattoo artist’s copyright infringement lawsuit, as a ruling on a pending summary judgment motion could decide the case. As we reported last year, tattoo artist Catherine Alexander filed a lawsuit against Take-Two and World Wrestling Entertainment, alleging that they infringed on her copyright. Between 2003 and 2008, Alexander created several unique tattoos for WWE superstar Randy Orton. While WWE allegedly offered Alexander $450,000 for the rights to use…  

Los Angeles Dodgers try to Leave Ballgame by Transferring Jackie Robinson Contracts to Foundation

In a dispute over a pair of Jackie Robinson contracts, the Los Angeles Dodgers told a New York federal court that it transferred its purported interest in the contracts to the Jackie Robinson Foundation. As we reported  in October, the Dodgers entered a legal dispute over two of Jackie Robinson’s historic contracts. One is his 1947 contract with the then-Brooklyn Dodgers, in which he became the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball. The other is his 1945 contract with the Kansas City Monarchs,…  

Ex-NFL Player DeMeco Ryans Fights Arbitration in Lawsuit Versus Texans

Former Houston Texans and Philadelphia Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans has asked the Texas Supreme Court to let his lawsuit against the Texans continue, instead of going to arbitration. As we reported earlier,  Ryans sued the Houston Texans back in 2016, alleging that they were responsible for an Achilles tendon injury he suffered in 2014. Specifically, Ryans claimed that the field of NRG Stadium was maintained in a poor condition, as the playing field consists of square patches of actual grass interwoven with seams of artificial…  

Players’ Unions v. Jock Taxes: An Inside Look at This Waging Legal Battle

Last week, we reported that the NHL Players’ Association, MLB Players’ Association, and NFL Players’ Association sued the city of Pittsburgh for charging a fee on nonresident professional athletes that play within the city. These fees, often referred to as jock taxes, have come under fire over the past few years. The players’ associations are not challenging the legality of jock taxes in general. It is well established that states and municipalities have the right to tax income earned by athletes in their jurisdiction.…  

Former Football Players Fight Back, Tell Ninth Circuit That NFL Was Directly Involved in Painkiller Lawsuit

In a lawsuit where former NFL players accused the league of doping them with amphetamines and painkillers, the players have responded to the NFL’s effort to end their appeal in the Ninth Circuit. As we reported earlier, former Chicago Bears players Richard Dent and Jim McMahon sued the NFL in 2014, claiming that the league facilitated the use of opioids, anesthetics, and drugs like Toradol without prescriptions, violating the Controlled Substances Act. While their lawsuit was initially dismissed by a district court for being preempted…  

One More Time: New Lawsuit Argues NCAA Must Pay Athletes Minimum Wage

Trey Johnson, a former defensive back for Villanova University, has sued the NCAA, arguing that the organization has violated federal labor law and that it must pay student-athletes a minimum wage. In his lawsuit, Johnson argues that student-athletes clearly constitute employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Specifically, he notes that college students in work-study programs are classified as employees, meaning that they are subject to minimum wage laws. Meanwhile, student-athletes, who work longer schedules and create the need for some of these work-study…  

NFL, MLB, and NHL Players’ Associations Sue Pittsburgh Over “Unconstitutional” Athletes Fee

The city of Pittsburgh is being challenged for a fee it is charging  nonresident professional athletes who play for Pittsburgh teams. The NHL Players’ Association, MLB Players’ Association, and NFL Players’ Association, along with baseball player Jeff Francoeur and hockey players Kyle Palmieri and Scott Wilson, have sued the city of Pittsburgh. The city currently imposes a three percent general revenue income fee on professional athletes who reside out of state. Athletes who live in the city, however, pay only a one percent fee. Pittsburgh…  

Game On: FaZe Clan’s $20 Million Lawsuit Against eSports Gamer Will Continue

A federal judge will allow a $20 million contract lawsuit filed by FaZe Clan Inc. against a popular eSports star to proceed. In May 2019, Fortnite player and social media celebrity, Turner Tenney, known to fans as “Tfue,” sued FaZe Clan, a popular eSports organization, in California state court. Tenney alleged that FaZe lured him and other gamers into “grossly oppressive, onerous and one-sided” contracts, allowing FaZe to make millions while Tenney earned a mere $60,000. He also filed a complaint with the California Labor…  

NCAA Student-Athlete Pay Rules, Opposition Grows

On October 30, 2019, the plaintiffs in the Alston v. NCAA case gained support in the form of an amicus curiae brief from the Open Markets Institute, Change to Win, the National Employment Law Project, economics professor Marshall Steinbaum, and law professors Sanjukta Paul and Veena Dubal. In the brief submitted to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the amici argue that the U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of California, Claudia Wilken, reached “an overly narrow” decision based upon…  

Inglewood Scores Big with Legal Victory in Clippers Arena Lawsuit

A California judge handed the city of Inglewood a win by ruling against a group of local residents who sought to block the city from selling public land for a $1.2 billion arena for the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers. The city of Inglewood accepted $1.5 million for an exclusive negotiation agreement with Murphy’s Bowl LLC, the developer of the proposed arena. The arena is located at a site near Los Angeles International Airport and the land was acquired by the city so that residents would…  

U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Ordered to Reveal Sponsorship Income

In March 2019, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) filed suit against the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. In their complaint, the plaintiffs alleged that the USSF violated the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for paying the women’s soccer team players less than the U.S. Men’s National Team. On October 28, 2019, the USSF filed a motion to compel disclosure. The USSF seeks documents from the…  

Youth Football Concussion Suit, Pop Warner Seeks to Exit

Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. submitted a motion for summary judgment to U.S. District Court Judge Phillip S. Gutierrez for the Central District of California on October 25, 2019. Pop Warner is a named defendant in a lawsuit alleging the organization knew of, and hid, the safety risks associated with youth football. The youth football organization is asserting the plaintiffs’ lack of evidence to show it was aware of the alleged health risks until years later. According to the complaint filed September 1, 2016, Paul…  

NCAA Plays Defense on All Fronts, College Athletes Seek Big Win in Ninth Circuit

On March 8, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of California, Claudia Wilken, ruled that the NCAA’s student-athlete compensation limits “unreasonably restrain trade in violation of . . . the Sherman Act.” A group of former and current student-athletes, including plaintiff Shawne Alston, applauded Wilken’s decision but is requesting that the Ninth Circuit invalidate caps on all forms of compensation. The NCAA appealed Wilken’s decision and is once again defending its student-athlete compensation rules before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the…  

NFL Tells Ninth Circuit to End Painkiller Class Action Lawsuit

The NFL argued to the Ninth Circuit that the lawsuit from former players should be dismissed, as it was individual teams, not the league, that supplied the players with amphetamines and painkillers. In 2014, former Chicago Bears players Richard Dent and Jim McMahon sued the NFL, claiming that teams frequently use opioids, anesthetics, and anti-inflammatory drugs like Toradol. They alleged that such drug use often does not require prescriptions and that the teams do not take into account medical history or potentially fatal interactions with…  

Adidas and Brooklyn Nets Settle Trademark Lawsuit Over Milkcrate Logo

Adidas and the Brooklyn Nets have agreed to settle a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by Milkcrate Athletics Inc. over the use of its logo. On October 28, 2019, Milkcrate asked a New York federal court to dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice, noting that a settlement had been reached. No details of this settlement have been revealed. The lawsuit stemmed from an attempted collaboration between Adidas and Milkcrate. Between 2011 and 2017, Milkcrate owner Aaron “LaCrate” LaCanfora exchanged emails with Adidas seeking to collaborate on a…  

NCAA Offers Lifeline: College Athletes To Benefit From Name, Image, Likeness

The NCAA announced it is starting the process to allow student-athletes to benefit off their name, image, and likeness. The move comes after multiple states introduced legislation permitting student-athletes to earn this form of compensation. Previously, we reported California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law the Fair Pay to Play Act. The law will take effect January 1, 2023 and will allow student-athletes to enter into endorsement deals. Since Gov. Newsom signed the California bill, multiple states introduced legislation, including New York. The move…  

Ex-Wrestlers Argue WWE Hid Risks of Head Injuries in Concussion Lawsuit

In a Second Circuit lawsuit, a group of former professional wrestlers argued that the statute of limitations did not lapse in their lawsuit against World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), as they knew about and hid the risks of head injuries. As we reported earlier, 67 retired wrestlers sued WWE and its CEO, Vince McMahon, arguing that WWE failed to protect the health of its wrestlers. As a result, these retired wrestlers suffered concussions, CTE, and other brain injuries. The lawsuit was dismissed in September…  

Out of Time: Ex-NFL Players’ Suit Against Riddell Time Barred

In July 2016, a group of former NFL players filed a lawsuit against the sports equipment manufacturer, Riddell, Inc., in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. However, on October 21, 2019, Illinois’s First District Appellate Court ruled that the players’ suit is time barred by the “two-year statute of limitations governing personal injury actions in Illinois.” In their complaint, the players alleged Riddell “failed to warn” that their “plastic helmets could not protect” the players against concussions or long-term neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, the…  

Injunction Denied: D.C. Court Rules No-Bid Sports Betting Contract Okay

Washington, D.C. Superior Court Judge John Campbell issued an oral order on October 18, 2019, denying a preliminary injunction request to halt a contract between the D.C. Office of Lottery and Charitable Gaming and Intralot. The contract would permit Intralot, the district’s current lottery operator, to administer sports betting within the district. Under the Sports Wagering Procurement Practice Reform Exemption Act of 2019, the D.C. council was given the authority to award the contract to Intralot without holding a competitive bidding process. Previously, we reported 

MLB Umpire Joe West Sues Ex-Player Paul Lo Duca for Defamation Over Bribery Claims

Major League Baseball umpire Joe West has filed a lawsuit against ex-player Paul Lo Duca, alleging that Lo Duca defamed West by falsely accusing him of bribery. In one of his podcasts this past April, Lo Duca claimed that a teammate told him that West engaged in bribery. That teammate, Billy Wagner, allegedly told Lo Duca at a 2006 or 2007 New York Mets v. Philadelphia Phillies game that he lent West his 1957 Chevrolet in exchange for opening up the strike zone for him.…  

TCPA Lawsuit Against Tampa Bay Lightning Reaches Class Settlement

A settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit against the Tampa Bay Lightning, in which a fan claimed that the NHL team violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by flooding him with unwanted text messages. Plaintiff Brian Hanley claimed that the team violated the TCPA by using a bait-and-switch tactic. Hanley was under the impression that he had entered a ticket contest for a future Lightning game by texting a short code number. Instead, he had inadvertently signed up for an advertising…  

Dodgers Enter Legal Fight Over Valuable Jackie Robinson Contracts

The Los Angeles Dodgers will enter a legal dispute regarding the ownership of two of Jackie Robinson’s player contracts, which may be worth as much as $10 million. In 2013, Collector’s Café, run by Mykalai Kontilai, purchased two of Jackie Robinson’s MLB contracts for $2 million. One is Robinson’s historic 1947 contract with the then-Brooklyn Dodgers, in which he became the first African American to play in the MLB. The second is Robinson’s 1945 contract with the Kansas City Monarchs, the Dodgers’ minor league affiliate.…  

Browns Rushed to Identify Beer-Pouring Fan, Misidentified Fan Files Suit

The Tennessee Titans faced off against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio on September 8, 2019. As customary, a group of Browns fans sat in the area behind the home team’s goal post, dubbed the Dawg Pound. The Browns were trailing the Titans and, late in the fourth quarter, Baker Mayfield’s pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Titans cornerback, Malcolm Butler. Fellow Titan, Logan Ryan, decided to jump into the Dawg Pound while celebrating Butler’s pick six. While celebrating,…  

MLB Opposes Umpire’s Request to Withdraw Confidentiality Designations in Discrimination Lawsuit

Major League Baseball has asked a federal magistrate judge to reject umpire Angel Hernandez’s request to eliminate confidentiality designations in his racial discrimination lawsuit against the league. As we reported earlier, MLB umpire Angel Hernandez sued the league in July 2017, alleging that they discriminated against him based on his race. Hernandez has not worked the World Series since 2005 and, despite applying numerous times, was denied a promotion to crew chief. He alleged that these rejections were racially motivated and that chief baseball officer,…  

Federal Judge Dismisses Two Ex-NHL Players’ Concussion Lawsuits

A Minnesota federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the NHL by two former players, finding that the court lacks jurisdiction over the suit. U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson dismissed two lawsuits, filed by Andre Deveaux and Todd Harvey, without prejudice. Judge Nelson reasoned that the players lacked a connection to Minnesota for jurisdiction. Deveaux and Harvey never played for a Minnesota hockey team, nor did they present enough evidence linking them to the state. As we previously reported, Judge Nelson oversaw a…  

Eagles Soar Away from Liability, Appeals Court Reverses $700K Judgment

On October 11, 2019, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania reversed the trial court’s $700,000 award to Dallas Cowboys fan Patrick Pearson. Pearson, who was assaulted at Lincoln Financial Field, alleged that the Philadelphia Eagles were negligent in providing security during the December 14, 2014 matchup between the Eagles and Cowboys. The Superior Court ruled that the Eagles could not have foreseen or anticipated that a fight would occur in a bathroom at the stadium. At the time of the alleged fight admitted at trial, Pearson…  

WWE Counters Wrestlers’ Appeal in Concussion Lawsuit

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and its CEO, Vince McMahon, have fought back against 67 retired wrestlers who appealed the dismissal of their concussion lawsuit. Beginning in 2014, these former wrestlers filed lawsuits against WWE, arguing that the organization failed to protect their health, which resulted in concussions, CTE, and other brain injuries. In September 2018, the Connecticut District Court dismissed the lawsuit as many of the plaintiffs stopped wrestling before WWE was aware of the risks of head trauma. The attorney for the plaintiffs,…  

Phillie Phanatic Creators Fire Back with New Filing

Wade Harrison and Bonnie Erickson, credited with designing the Philadelphia Phillies’ mascot, the Phanatic, have filed a reply to a lawsuit alleging that the creators were threatening the baseball club with pulling the team’s rights to use the mascot. The creators have described the lawsuit by the Phillies as a “weapon.” At issue is whether the creators of the Phanatic can use the Copyright Act’s termination right – a rule made to allow authors to regain control over works they created, but signed away. The…  

Feds Discover NCAA Game Rigging Attempt, Mafia Connected

On October 3, 2019, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York unsealed a series of indictments against alleged crime family La Cosa Nostra (the Colombo Family). Among those arrested were Benjamin Bifalco, an associate of the Colombo Family, and Joseph Amato Jr., the son of an alleged Colombo Family captain Joseph Amato. Bifalco was charged with violating 18 U.S.C. Section 224(a), which makes it unlawful to influence a sporting contest “in any way, by bribery. . . .” Per the…  

St. Louis Stadium Authority Tells Supreme Court: Don’t Further Delay Rams Move Suit

The St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority argued to the U.S. Supreme Court that there is no reason for the court to halt its lawsuit against the Los Angeles Rams and owner Stan Kroenke. Last week, the Rams and Kroenke asked Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch to halt the case while they petition the Supreme Court to intervene. While the St. Louis Authority stated that the Rams and Kroenke may continue to pursue their supreme court petition, they argued that the court…  

One Tweet Threatens 30 Years of NBA Expansion into China

The controversy began on October 6, 2019, after Daryl Morey, the general manager of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, tweeted about the ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, China. Since the 1980s, the NBA has spent millions of dollars investing in Asian markets, including China, hoping to grow the game of basketball. For example, the NBA has helped build basketball courts, given broadcasting rights for free, and played preseason games in China and Japan. However, Morey’s tweet threatens years of progress and what has otherwise…  

Washington D.C. Arena Will Be America’s First Sports Venue with Sportsbook

Capital One Arena, the home of the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals, is about to become the first major sports venue in the United States to have a sportsbook. Monumental Sports & Entertainment, owner of the teams and the arena, announced a partnership with sports betting operator William Hill US. The sportsbook will span multiple floors and be accessible to both non-ticketholders and ticketholders for certain events. Expected to open in 2020, the sportsbook will be open year-round and is accessible to the public from…  

FanDuel Owner to Become Largest Gambling Company in $6 Billion Deal, Targets U.S. Sports Betting Market

Flutter Entertainment PLC, the owner of Paddy Power and FanDuel, announced a $6 billion deal to purchase The Stars Group Inc. (TSG) and become the world’s largest online gambling company. Flutter, an Irish gambling conglomerate, owns gambling websites Paddy Power and Betfair, in addition to sports betting websites FanDuel, Sportsbet, and TVG. Meanwhile, Canadian company TSG owns the world’s largest poker website, PokerStars, as well as BetStars and Full Tilt Poker. The combined value of the companies is approximately $12 billion. Further, the combined…  

Ex-Athlete, Now Congressman, Ready to Suit Up Against the NCAA

On September 30, 2019, it was reported that California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law the Fair Pay to Play Act. Previously, we have reported that the bill will allow student-athletes at the 58 member schools within California to receive compensation for the use of their name, image, and likeness. Within days of  Newsom signing California’s Fair Pay to Play Act, U.S. Congressman Anthony Gonzalez, of Ohio, announced his intention to propose a federal bill to give student-athletes the opportunity to benefit from the use…  

Peloton Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Expanded to $300 Million, Includes Over 2,000 Songs

A refreshed complaint against cycling giant, Peloton, by over 30 music publishers was approved by a federal judge, approximately doubling the number of songs and damages claimed. As we reported earlier, 30 music publishers filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Peloton in March. The company is known for its high-end stationary bicycles that allow users to stream online spinning classes. The lawsuit alleges that these classes used copyrighted music and that Peloton failed to obtain proper synchronization licenses, which are fees paid to music…  

Pennsylvania and Florida Latest to Introduce Bills to Pay Student-Athletes

The bandwagon keeps rolling — Florida and Pennsylvania have become the latest states to introduce legislation that would allow student-athletes to earn compensation through endorsements and sponsorships. Like the recent bill signed into law in California, which allows student-athletes to receive compensation for the school’s use of their name, image, and likeness, state legislators in Florida and Pennsylvania introduced their own versions of the Fair Pay to Play Act. On September 30, 2019, Florida state Rep. Kionne McGhee introduced House Bill 251–a bill that would …  

NFL Officially Partners With DraftKings for Daily Fantasy

On September 26, 2019, the NFL announced that it has selected DraftKings to be its first official daily fantasy partner. Notably, this partnership deal does not include sports betting. In a joint statement, the companies stated that their partnership includes “exclusive sponsorship of the daily fantasy sports category with access to NFL branding and more.” NFL Chief Revenue Officer Renie Anderson said, “[d]aily fantasy football has been a tremendous vehicle for fans of all types to deepen their engagement with the NFL.” Over 11…  

California First State to Pay Student-Athletes

On September 30, 2019, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act. Groundbreaking legislation and the first of its kind, this act will allow California student-athletes to earn compensation through endorsements or sponsorships. As we have continued to report, the legislation – now law – comes on the heels of the heated debate across the country on whether student-athletes should be compensated for their services. California is now the first state in the country to allow student-athletes at the 58 member…  

Jets Player Sues NFL, Alleging ADA Violation Over Helmet Visor

New York Jets safety Rontez Miles filed a lawsuit against the NFL, claiming that a referee violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when he forced Miles to remove a helmet visor. Miles said that the visor was necessary to protect his eyes from sun glare. He had previously collided with another player and was injured when his helmet did not include the visor. The incident took place on August 19, 2017, during a preseason game against the Detroit Lions. According to his complaint, a…  

New England Patriots Player Asks Judge to Throw Out ‘Trash Talk’ Lawsuit

New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung has asked a federal judge to dismiss a defamation lawsuit by a former Los Angeles Rams employee that involves the posting of a text message on social media. As we reported earlier, former Rams ticket executive Matthew Hogan sued Chung and Matthew Weymouth, a friend of Chung’s who ran his social media pages. The lawsuit is over text messages that Chung posted to his social media. The post consisted of an exchange between Hogan and Weymouth where Hogan…  

All in the Family: Father of NCAA Corruption Convict Allegedly Fired for Soliciting $25,000 from Student-Athlete

Cleveland State University (CSU) has fired Lou Dawkins, the father of aspiring sports agent and convicted NCAA bribery conspirator Christian Dawkins, from his assistant basketball coach position for soliciting $25,000 from a student-athlete. As we previously reported, Christian Dawkins and Adidas consultant, Merl Code, were convicted by a federal jury in October 2018 on fraud charges. Then, in May 2019, Dawkins and Code were convicted by another federal jury on conspiracy to bribe assistant college basketball coaches. Dawkins is currently arguing for leniency in…  

$29.5 Million Sports Betting Scheme Unraveled by SEC

On August 30, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court of Nevada against John Thomas, 74, and Thomas Becker, 72. The SEC alleges Thomas and Becker ran a fraudulent $29.5 million sports betting investment scheme. The two men raised the funds from 600 investors across 40 states by “offering investors pooled investment contracts whereby [the investors] obtain the opportunity to share in the purported profits” from Thomas’ and Becker’s “proprietary sports betting system.” Thomas and Becker communicated…  

New York Introduces Bill Entitling College Athletes to Ticket Sale Proceeds

New York Sen. Kevin S. Parker (D-Brooklyn) recently introduced a bill that would allow college athletes to become eligible to receive compensation. The bill would allow college athletes to sign endorsements, but was recently amended to allow athletes to also enjoy a 15 percent cut of the income generated from ticket sales. This change comes after reports revealed Parker planned to add language that required schools to share 15 percent of all athletics revenue with athletes. “At the conclusion of each school year, each college…  

Scandal, Lawsuit, Settlement: Louisville, Pitino Reach an Accord

The University of Louisville Athletic Association (ULAA) and ex-coach, Rick Pitino, reached a settlement on September 18, 2019, following a two-year legal battle. Previously, we reported that Pitino was terminated following the NCAA’s investigation into alleged inappropriate recruitment practices by the Louisville men’s basketball team. As a result of the investigation, the NCAA forced the University of Louisville to vacate many of its wins, including the school’s 2013 national championship. Following the NCAA’s actions, the university terminated Pitino’s employment in October 2017. In November 2017,…  

The Battle for Student-Athlete Pay Rages: New York Joins the Movement

California’s state legislature passed The Fair Pay for Play Act (SB-206), which is designed to allow student-athletes to earn compensation through the use of their name, image, and likeness. Previously, we reported that two South Carolina state lawmakers intend to introduce a similar bill. On September 23, 2019, the Empire State joined the movement after New York State Sen. Kevin S. Parker introduced a bill similar in language to the bill California recently passed. Parker believes this is about equity. He understands that student-athletes are…  

Catching Fire: South Carolina Lawmakers to Follow California’s Pay-to-Play Bill

The passage of California’s Fair Pay to Play Act (SB-206) has sparked a movement among state legislatures on the east coast. South Carolina intends to join the fray. South Carolina State Senator Marlon Kimpson says that he and South Carolina State Representative Justin Bamberg plan to introduce a bill that will permit college athletes to make money from the use of their names, images, and likeness. In addition to collegiate athletes earning a $5,000/year stipend, the bill will allow them the opportunity to earn money…