O’Bannon Plaintiffs Urge 9th Circuit to Affirm Pay-Rule Ban

On January 23, O’Bannon Plaintiffs filed a response to NCAA’s appellate brief that asked the Ninth Circuit to reverse the lower court’s decision allowing student-athletes to be paid. In a 851-page long filing, the plaintiffs argued that the a limited compensation to $5,000 for every year of academic eligibility pursuant to the court’s decision is “such modest payment” to jeopardize NCAA’s policy on amateurism, a concept that has evolved and eroded admittedly by NCAA.  Further, the plaintiffs stressed that because the injunction was not mandatory,…
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Christie and the Horsemen Ask the Third Circuit to Vacate Injunction & Open the Door to Sports Betting in NJ

On Wednesday, January 14, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie filed a brief with the Third Circuit US Court of Appeals, seeking to overturn the district court decision enjoining recent legislation that would open the door to some sports gambling in New Jersey. The 2014 law in question was passed to effectuate a partial repeal of prior New Jersey law that prohibits betting on sports within the state.  The partial repeal would allow casinos and racetracks within the State of New Jersey to facilitate sports betting. …
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College Football & Basketball Families to be Reimbursed for Travel Expenses

Following the trend of sharing broadcast and other revenues with college athletes, the NCAA and College Football Playoff announced they would help athletes’ families with the cost of attending championship games. CFP is an independent body overseeing college football subject to NCAA rules.  Just after being granted a waiver allowing it to reimburse families for travel, the CFP announced it would provide up to $2,500 to parents or guardians attending Monday’s championship game in Arlington Texas.  Reimbursement is capped at $1,250 per parent or guardian…
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NCAA Concussion Settlement Denied

On Wednesday, December 17,  federal  Judge John Lee denied preliminary approval of the proposed concussion settlement between the NCAA and the class of current and former NCAA athletes. The settlement was submitted at the end of July  and proposes $70 million to fund medical monitoring and testing of injured athletes.  The deal also sets aside $5 million for concussion-related research.  The judge denied the settlement, however, taking issue with several aspects of the deal.  The judge expressed concern that $70 million simply would not be…
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Minimum Wage Lawsuits Strike At the Core of Major Junior Hockey and Minor League Baseball

Many would argue that minor league baseball is the quintessential American sporting experience – playing for the love of the game in small towns throughout the country, dreaming of the big leagues, or playing out the string.  Similarly, nothing may be more distinctively Canadian than major junior hockey – the primary breeding ground for future NHLers for generations and the pride of Canadian communities from Cape Breton to Victoria.  The two share more than long bus rides and long odds.  They both are the subject…
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Former High School QB: Fix Patchy Implementation of Concussion Protocol

Daniel Bukal, a former high school quarterback, has filed a lawsuit against the Illinois High School Association (IHSA), arguing that the athletic body insufficiently has managed concussions sustained by young football players. Bukal alleged he suffers from migraines and memory loss because of several concussions he had while playing football for Notre Dame College Prep from 1999 to 2003. The lawsuit seeks remedies similar to a plan proposed in a concussion lawsuit against NCAA that was settled in July. Bukal proposes the IHSA to set…
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Law Professors Support NCAA’s Appeal in O’Bannon Case

On November 21, fifteen law professors filed an amicus brief with the Ninth Circuit Court in support of the NCAA in its O’Bannon appeal. The fifteen antitrust law professors argued that U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilkin’s decision that the NCAA violated antitrust law was a misapplication of the “less-restrictive alternative prong” of the relevant analysis. Referring to the “limited appellate authority” in defining the scope of the less-restrictive alternative, the professors stated that if the Circuit Court affirms Judge Wilkin’s judgment, it “would substantially expand…
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Concussion Class Action Suit Filed Against the NCAA by Former Texas Football Player

On Monday, October 27, a former Texas Longhorn football player filed a class-action lawsuit against the NCAA for failing to warn and protect student-athletes regarding the long-term effects of concussions and impacts to the head sustained during football games. The lead plaintiff, Julius Whittier, was an offensive lineman for the Longhorns from 1969-72.  Whittier allegedly sustained several severe hits to the head throughout his career there.  The former player, now 64 years old, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease in August of 2012.  He…
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Plaintiffs’ Lawyers for O’Bannon Case Billing NCAA for over $50M

Lawyers for the plaintiffs in the O’Bannon case have filed an amended billing filing on October 22 to seek approximately $50 million in attorneys’ fees and other related costs. The filing is a revision of what the lawyers filed back in August pursuant to U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken’s decision that the plaintiffs “shall recover their costs from the NCAA.”  The original request that totaled more than $52.4 million was filed within 14 days of the judgment to comply with the local court rules. …
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NCAA & Division I Schools are Named in FLSA Lawsuit

On Monday, October 20, the NCAA and all of its member schools were named defendants in an FLSA action alleging violations for failure to pay employees the federal minimum wage.  The plaintiff in this action is yet another former student-athlete seeking compensation for participating in NCAA athletics. Samantha Sackos attended the University of Houston and played for the Division I women’s soccer team.  Sackos brought this suit, naming the NCAA and each Div. I school, alleging the schools’ refusal to pay student-athletes under the…
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