Collision Course: California’s Pay-to-Play Bill Takes Aim at NCAA

On September 9, 2019, the California State Assembly voted 66-0 to pass an amended version of the Fair Pay to Play Act. The bill now moves back to the state senate for a vote, which is likely to pass, putting the state on a collision course with the NCAA over its rules prohibiting student-athletes from being compensated for use of their name, image and likeness. Previously, we reported that the California State Senate voted to pass the Fair Pay to Play Act (SB- 206) to…
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Key Witness in NCAA Corruption Trial Avoids Prison Time

Munish Sood, a crucial witness in the NCAA corruption cases, will avoid both prison time and probation, a federal judge ruled. Sood, a New Jersey financial adviser, admitted to paying bribes to a variety of people involved in college athletics. Included are two former assistant coaches: Lamont Evans, of the University of South Carolina, and Emanuel “Book” Richardson, of the University of Arizona, who each pled guilty and faced three months of prison time. Government counsel requested leniency at Sood’s hearing, with attorney Noah…
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Amended California Student-Athlete Bill Nabs Endorsement of LeBron James

A recent bill introduced to give student-athletes the right to earn compensation has garnered star support. The bill, SB-206, was recently endorsed by Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James. The superstar took to Twitter to voice his support for the recently amended bill that would allow students to receive compensation for the use of their names, images, and likenesses. “Everyone is [sic] California – call your politicians and tell them to support SB 206! This law is a GAME CHANGER. College athletes can responsibly…
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Access Denied: NCAA Bribery and Corruption Scandal

On September 3, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge Lewis A. Kaplan issued a ruling denying the motions by the NCAA and Yahoo Sports parent company, Oath, Inc., to intervene in the pay-for-play NCAA scandal case for the limited purpose of obtaining access to evidence that was not admitted at trial. As we have previously reported, in October 2018, former Adidas executive James Gatto, business manager Christopher Dawkins, and consultant Merl Code were convicted of fraud that arose out of a college basketball pay-for-play scandal.…
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California NCAA Athletes Inch Closer to Earning Compensation

As previously reported, a California bill that would allow student-athletes to be paid for their likenesses has cleared yet another legal hurdle. The closely followed bill would allow college athletes to enjoy the capital gained from their name, images, and likeness. Under current NCAA rules, student-athletes are not permitted to accept payment for, or permit, “the use of his or her name or picture to advertise, recommend, or promote” the commercial sale of goods, or use their likeness to promote a service or product.…
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NFHS Argues Paying Student-Athletes Will Erode School Spirit at All Levels

On August 23, 2019, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) asked the Ninth Circuit to grant leave and allow it to file an amicus curiae brief (non-party brief) in the Alston v. NCAA case. As we have previously reported, this case was brought by a class of college athletes in the wake of the O’Bannon decision, where a court held that NCAA rules prohibiting college athletes’ abilities to profit from their likenesses were anti-competitive. O’Bannon held that compensation for college…
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Ex-Penn State Doctor Alleges Football Coach Pressured Him to Clear Injured Players

A former Penn State football team doctor filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania state court on August 23, 2019,  alleging that the school’s football coach, James Franklin, pressured the doctor into clearing injured players and allowing them to return to the field. Allegedly, Dr. Scott A. Lynch reported Coach Franklin’s actions to various Penn State department heads. It was after he reported those actions, though, that Dr. Lynch was removed from two positions in Penn State’s athletic department in March 2019. In his lawsuit, Lynch is…
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Ninth Circuit Rejects Lamar Dawson’s Bid to Revive Lawsuit

On August 12, 2019, a panel of Ninth Circuit judges rejected Lamar Dawson’s bid to revive a proposed class action lawsuit, which claimed that the NCAA and Pac-12 Conference improperly denied student-athletes minimum wage and overtime. In their ruling, the panel noted that the Pac-12 and NCAA did not provide Dawson, a former University of Southern California linebacker, with a scholarship or have the power to hire or fire him and, thus, they were not his employer, nor was he their employee. According to Chief…
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NCAA $75 Million Settlement Gets Final Approval with $14 Million in Fees

On August 12, 2019, U.S. District Judge John Lee granted final approval to a $75 million settlement and awarded more than $14 million in attorney fees. As we have continued to report, the suit began in 2011 when former Eastern Illinois football player, Adrian Arrington, and three others, sued the NCAA because they suffered from seizures, which were a byproduct of repeated head trauma. Of the $75 million settlement initially approved by Judge Lee in July 2017, $70 million of the settlement will go…
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Former College Basketball Players Sue Fortnite Creators for Use of “Running Man” Dance

Jaylen Brantley and Jared Nickens, former college basketball players for the University of Maryland Terrapins, are suing Epic Games, along with game creators, over the use of the “Running Man” dance in the popular video game, Fortnite. In this game, players can unlock this Running Man dance for $5 to use for their own characters. The Running Man dance became popular on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2016 when Brantley and Nickens appeared on the show to perform the dance. According to the Baltimore
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