North Carolina Going South: NCAA Brings Five Charges Against University

On Thursday, June 4, the NCAA brought five charges against the University of North Carolina as a result of approximately 3,000 students having had their grades inflated through faulty courses.  The charges were broad, rather than sport-specific, and dealt with the improper benefits that student athletes received through the formerly named African and Afro-American (AFAM) Studies department.  The five charges are considered potential Level I violations, and the athletic director stated that it is too early in the process to speculate on potential sanctions the…
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NCAA Athletes Lose the Big One: Judge Dismisses Publicity Rights Lawsuit Against Broadcasters

On Thursday, June 4, a Tennessee federal judge dismissed a putative class action filed by ten former college athletes who accused major TV broadcasters and others of improperly profiting from the use of their names and likenesses.  U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp granted a motion to dismiss with prejudice, ruling that the plaintiffs failed to prove their case under Tennessee law.  He explained that the Tennessee Personal Rights Protection Act only protects a person’s name and likeness when used in advertisements, and that Tennessee common…
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NCAA Argues Against Class Certification in Scholarship Cap Litigation

On Thursday April 30, the NCAA and a group of the major conferences argued against class certification in the scholarship cap lawsuits, trying to deny their consolidation into one class-action. The lawsuits, brought by former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston and former Clemson football player Martin Jenkins, claim antitrust violations resulting from the current rules the NCAA imposes on the amount in scholarship aid that schools may offer their student-athletes.  The players argue that rules against aid in excess of the cost of…
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New Settlement Proposal Made in NCAA Concussion Lawsuit

On April 14th, the NCAA filed a new proposed $75 million settlement deal to resolve the class-action concussion lawsuit filed against it.  The lawsuit resulted from the consolidation of several cases after former student athletes sued the organization for downplaying and/or neglecting to inform them of the long-term, life altering risk and consequences of sports-related head injuries. The revised proposal was submitted to address deficiencies in the prior settlement deal that federal judge John Z. Lee rejected last December.  In essence, the core…
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UNC & NCAA Seek Dismissal of Academic Fraud Claims

On Monday, March 30, both the University of North Carolina and the NCAA filed motions to dismiss the lawsuit they’re facing brought by two former student-athletes for failing to provide them a meaningful education. The lawsuit, filed in January, stems from the highly publicized academic fraud scandal where it was shown that the University of North Carolina had been offering “paper classes” to boost grades.  These classes required very little work, lacked academic integrity, and provided failing student athletes the grade boost necessary to…
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9th Circuit Hears O’Bannon Antitrust Appeal Arguments

On Tuesday, March 17, NCAA March Madness began in more than one respect.  In addition to the start of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, Tuesday saw the beginning of the much anticipated NCAA appeal to the 9th Circuit challenging the outcome of O’Bannon v. NCAA. Last August, Judge Claudia Wilken ruled in the case that the NCAA was unreasonably restraining trade in violation of antitrust law by limiting schools’ scholarship amounts to less than the full cost of attendance.  The ruling provides an…
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NCAA Says District Court Got It Wrong

Citing NCAA v. Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma where the Supreme Court found the NCAA’s amateurism rules were procompetitive, the NCAA claimed the district court erred in finding such rules anti-competitive and “embracing an analysis that conflicts with fundamental antitrust principles.”  The NCAA emphasized that the Supreme Court held that amateurism rules were valid because they “enable[] a product to be marketed which might otherwise be unavailable.” In a filing submitted on February 11, the organization criticized the plaintiffs’ argument that the…
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NCAA to Disclose Documents Related to Former USC Coach’s Defamation Action

A California appeals court denied on Friday the NCAA’s attempt to seal hundreds of documents in connection with a defamation suit brought by a former University of Southern California (USC) assistant football coach Todd McNair who was sanctioned for his part in the Reggie Bush scandal. Previously, the trial court blocked the NCAA’s bid to seal hundreds of pages of internal emails and other documents in the lawsuit where McNair asserted breach of contract and defamation claims among others. Although the NCAA argued disclosing the…
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NCAA Urges Court to Toss Student-Athletes’ Sexual Discrimination Claims

The NCAA filed a motion to dismiss the sexual discrimination action brought against it by former soccer players at Kean University, citing the action is time barred and the complaint contained no specific discrimination allegation by the NCAA. The motion argued that Shannon Pedersen, Emily Cristaldi, and Jaclyn Janicky failed to specifically allege that the association discriminated female athletes differently when it sent a notice informing the university of a possible rule violation by the school in 2011.  Additionally, several claims stated in the original…
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NCAA Says Athletes Counsel Overcharged It for Attorney Fees

The NCAA wants more than 80% discount on the bill presented by the lawyers who represented the student-athlete plaintiffs in the O’Bannon case pursuant to a judgment in that case. In a court filing, the NCAA argued that since the court’s decision in the O’Bannon case was a “limited success” as it only allowed players to share licensing revenue but awarded no damages, $9.1 million was more reasonable than the plaintiffs lawyers’ demand of $51 million.  Further, it accused the plaintiffs legal team…
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