NCAA Separation Order

The NCAA is currently facing two related antitrust lawsuits regarding their ban on student-athlete compensation.  The first case, brought by former student-athlete and professional athlete Ed O’Bannon, is now set for trial on June 9, 2014.  The second case, brought by former student-athlete Sam Keller, is set for March of 2015. Ed O’Bannon brought his case in 2009, 10 years after his retirement, when he saw his name and likeness being broadcasted by the NCAA during a basketball tournament.  O’Bannon is not seeking a monetary…
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NCAA Fights Consolidation in Anti-trust Scholarship Cases

The NCAA, facing legal battles on several fronts regarding student-athlete compensation, is fighting to keep multiple class action suits from being centralized. Former student-athlete, Shawne Alston, filed a lawsuit in Oakland, CA, back in March, 2014, claiming the NCAA has violated federal anti-trust laws by fixing scholarship awards below the actual full cost of attendance.  Many students, including Alston, need to take out loans in addition to their scholarships to cover their actual full cost of attendance because registration fees and other daily living expenses…
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What Are the Potential Effects of the Northwestern NLRB Decision on New York Compensation Claims?

Prior entries to Goldberg Segalla’s Sports and Entertainment Law Insider blog have discussed in detail some of the legal and practical issues for college football programs made by the recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision regarding Northwestern University football players. (Recent blog entries have analyzed the ramifications on university athletic programs and student-athletes, as well as the responses of coaches and players.) In addition to the civil liability issues discussed in those articles, particularized problems would arise in the workers’ compensation context…
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To Unionize, or Not to Unionize? Northwestern Football Players Cast Historic Vote Following Controversial NLRB Ruling

On April 25, Northwestern University’s scholarship football players voted on whether to form the first union for college athletes. This came on the heels of a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling that the university’s scholarship football players were employees, and that they (as workers) had the right to form a union and were entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.  The NLRB agreed with the players on almost every point made at last month’s hearing, including acknowledging that athletes spend well in excess of the weekly…
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Northwestern Football Players Encouraged to Just Say No to Union

Last month the Chicago office of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) issued a ruling stating that athletes at private universities are employees of their respective schools and have the right to unionize.  Now, with Northwestern’s players scheduled to vote on unionization on April 25, Pat Fitzgerald, the school’s football coach, is urging his players to vote against the measure. The players leading the unionization effort are hoping to secure things such as better medical coverage, four-year scholarships, and even the possibility of being paid. …
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NLRB Ruling Allows College Football Players to Unionize — and the Ramifications Could Be Huge

A recent decision by regional director Peter Sung Ohr of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) declared that Northwestern University football players are school employees, and have the right to unionize. This move could have vast potential ramifications for academic athletics and the NCAA, two groups that have traditionally worked together to set rules for players classified as “student-athletes.” The cause was spearheaded by former Northwester quarterback Kain Colter and the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA), a union which advocates for student athletes’ rights. During…
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Are March Madness Office Pools Legal?

Brace yourselves, employers: March Madness is upon us. Thursday, March 20, is the first full day of the 2014 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men’s Division I Basketball Championship Tournament games, and the tourney does not conclude until the Championship Game on Monday, April 7, in Arlington, Texas. During the tournament’s three weeks, the United States economy will lose an estimated $1.2 billion in productivity as employees watch early round games, participate in office pools, and discuss the outcomes with co-workers. (Fantasy sports activity in…
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Collegiate Athletes Bring in a Ringer for New Action Against NCAA

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) is currently defending student amateurism on several fronts across the country in legal battles with big potential monetary implications.  In one ongoing lawsuit, former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon leads a class action on behalf of former and current NCAA players, alleging that the organization’s practice of licensing and profiting from student images and likenesses without their consent violates federal antitrust laws.  Elsewhere, Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter organized a union movement at the school and requested that the National…
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Stanford Runner Becomes First Active Division-1 Athlete to Sue NCAA Over Concussions . . . Then Backs Out Of Suit!

Jessica Tonn, a senior cross-country and track and field runner at Stanford University, became the first active D-I athlete to sue the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) over concussions when she filed a lawsuit against the NCAA in federal court on March 5.  In an abrupt twist, her involvement in that litigation lasted two days when she decided that she no longer wished to be a plaintiff in the class action. Tonn’s involvement as an active student would have certainly made history, especially given that…
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Settlement Reached Between Rutgers and the Big East in Exit Fee Dispute

Rutgers University and the former Big East collegiate athletic conference have been fighting in Rhode Island federal court over the amount that the school would pay as an ‘exit fee’ – a penalty levied on Rutgers for leaving the for Big East conference early and joining the Big Ten later this year.  Now, both sides have agreed on a settlement deal where Rutgers will hand over $11.5 million instead of the original $15 million exit fee.  The school has paid a portion of the fee…
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