Another One Bites the Dust, AFL Files Bankruptcy

The Arena Football League (AFL) has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in a Delaware bankruptcy court. The AFL filed its bankruptcy petition a little over a month after suspending all local business operations for its remaining six teams. Since its inception in 1986, there have been as many as 19 AFL teams in a single season. However, the number of teams dramatically decreased following a Chapter 11 reorganization in 2009. That same year, the league rebranded to Arena Football One. This year, the AFL’s financial…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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
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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…
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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…
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$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…
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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,…
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NFL Running Backs Could Break from Players’ Union

On August 9, 2019, a group called the International Brotherhood of Professional Running Backs (IBPRB) filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) asking that NFL running backs be severed from the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) and formed into a new union. According to the IBPRB, NFL running backs “have unique career structures; and the current one-size fits all [approach to players contracts] is inappropriate.” The petition looms over the ongoing talks between the NFLPA and the NFL over a new collective bargaining…
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