Category Archives: NCAA

Adidas Executive Asserts No Universities Defrauded in NCAA Bribe Case

On November 15, 2017, the attorney for Adidas executive Jim Gatto told a Manhattan federal judge that no colleges were defrauded. Gatto was charged in a bribery scheme to pay college basketball athletes to play for Adidas-sponsored schools and to hire certain agents after they went professional. Gatto was arrested in September and was Adidas’ head of global sports marketing directed at basketball. In addition, Merl Code, an Adidas consultant, and Christian Dawkins, a former NBA agent, pled not guilty to wire fraud conspiracy charges.…

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NCAA Hopes for Slam Dunk in Trademark Infringement Suit

The NCAA, on November 13, 2017, asked for a default judgment and a permanent injunction against Kizzang LLC and its owner, Robert Alexander, for alleged trademark infringement of “March Madness” and “Final Four.” A judge had issued a stipulated order back in March under which Alexander and Kizzang agreed not to use “April Madness” or “Final 3” in its online fantasy games. The suit was originally filed in March 2017, less than a week before the NCAA’s annual Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. It…

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Eight People Indicted in NCAA Bribery Scandal

A series of indictments unsealed on Wednesday, November 8, 2017 reveal more of the iceberg of the dark underbelly of college basketball. The scandal was publicized in September when ten individuals were arrested. The new indictments named Adidas executive Jim Gatto, sports agent Christian Dawkins, Auburn University associate head coach Chuck Person, Oklahoma State University assistant coach Lamont Evans, University of Arizona assistant coach Emanuel Richardson, University of Southern California assistant coach Anthony Bland, former Adidas adviser Merl Code and former NCAA referee Rashan Michel.…

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Student-Athletes Square Up Against Lone Objector to Attorneys Fee Award in $209 Million NCAA Settlement

The fight over legal fees from the second-largest class-action settlement in NCAA history continues. One sole student-athlete objected to the $41 million attorneys’ fee award, which is 20 percent of the $208.7 million settlement. NCAA Division I football player, Darrin Duncan, called the fee award unfair and wanted to apply to the “mega fund rule,” which decreases fee awards as the settlement total increases. Plaintiffs’ class counsel had argued back in September that the fee request was reasonable considering the Ninth Circuit’s 25 percent fee…

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NCAA Dribbles the Idea of Fundamental Internal Change

NCAA President Mark Emmert spoke to the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics on October 30, 2017 and asserted that major changes are needed in college basketball to demonstrate to the public that the NCAA can properly run the sport. “We cannot go to the next basketball season without seeing fundamental change in the way college basketball is operated,” Emmert said. “The public doesn’t have sufficient confidence in any of us in terms of our ability to resolve these issues.” Emmert cited to a recent NCAA-commissioned…

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NCAA Says UNC “Sham” Classes Did Not Violate Rules

On October 13, 2017, an NCAA panel ruled that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) did not violate NCAA policy for offering “sham” classes. The issues in the case were discovered in August 2011 and the following three years in which UNC conducted a number of internal and external reviews. The reviews led to a criminal indictment against Julius Nyang’oro, the former chair of the department of the “sham” classes, for obtaining property by false pretenses. Those charges were later dropped. A…

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Northwestern Bricks its Shot for Motion to Strike in Johnnie Vassar Suit

On Friday, September 29, 2017, an Illinois federal judge denied the motion Northwestern University (NU) had filed at the end of January to strike portions of a former basketball player’s complaint that mentioned settlement negotiations. “Clearly, the purpose of this allegation is not to show liability by referencing a settlement agreement but rather to allege Northwestern’s bad act in making a misrepresentation to Vassar,” the judge’s order stated.  The complaint alleged that NU offered a “cash payment” to “make Johnnie go away and free-up…

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NCAA and Student-Athletes Request Final Approval of $75 Million Settlement

On September 29, 2017, former student-athletes asked the Illinois federal court to approve the $75 million settlement against the NCAA for head trauma. With the reports of young NFL players diagnosed with brain damage after death, the former student-athletes insist that the medical monitoring part of the deal cannot come soon enough. The final approval hearing is scheduled to be heard before the judge in November. The former student-athletes argued that the settlement is ready for final approval because the evaluation of the student-athletes’ claims…

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On Appeal, Former USC Linebacker Tackles Judge’s Ruling with Misapplication of Law Claims

In September 2016, Lamar Dawson, a former USC linebacker, filed a class-action suit against both the NCAA and Pac-12 Conference alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and California Labor Law. Dawson claimed the NCAA and Pac-12 failed to pay athletes minimum wage, failed to pay overtime, and failed to make timely compensation to athletes. He argued that he, among other student athletes, were without a doubt employees. The NCAA and Pac-12 moved to dismiss the suit in January 2017, and in April, Judge…

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Louisville Ejects Coach Rick Pitino Following FBI Bribery Investigation

Amid a federal bribery scandal, on Wednesday, September 28, 2017, the University of Louisville placed head basketball coach Rick Pitino on unpaid administrative leave, which, according to his lawyer, means he has “in effect, been fired.” Federal prosecutors allege Pitino and executives at Adidas funneled $100,000 to the family of a recruit to play basketball at Louisville – a program Adidas sponsors.  Louisville’s athletic director, Tom Jurich, was placed on paid leave. Neither Pitino nor Jurich were specifically named in the criminal complaints…

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