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…
Continue reading...

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…
Continue reading...

Supreme Court Denies NCAA’s Petition to Get “In The Game”

On January 13, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the NCAA’s request to intervene as a party in Keller v. Electronic Arts Inc.  The Keller case stems from 2009 and involves “rights of publicity” and antitrust claims. Former college football players alleged that the EA violated their right of publicity and conspired with the NCAA by using their image and likeness in its videogames.  In EA’s appeal, the Ninth Circuit held that the NCAA was not immune to the players’ claims because the depictions in…
Continue reading...

Judges’ Panel Creates New Multi-District Litigation for NCAA Concussion Cases

A panel of federal judges recently ruled that ten class-action lawsuits brought against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) will be consolidated into a single multi-district litigation in Chicago.  In essence, each suit alleges that the NCAA intentionally concealed the long term-risks of concussions sustained by student athletes in a variety of college sports.  The consolidation follows in the wake of the recent $765 million settlement of the NFL’s concussion litigation, a nearly identical action brought against the league by over 4,500 former NFL alumni.…
Continue reading...

Free Beer + 2,500 Fans = Liability Concerns for Louisville University

Picture this: 2,500 fans rushing into a college basketball game bearing free beer vouchers. What could possibly go wrong? If you ask Louisville Cardinals’ Women’s Basketball head coach Jeff Walz, nothing at all. After all, Walz’s idea for boosting attendance at the WNIT semifinals game against LSU — provide free beer for fans, and they will come — worked, bringing more than 8,000 attendees to witness an 88-67 victory. To pull it off, the coach emptied his wallet and dropped $5,000 to buy the…
Continue reading...

The Anti-Trust Suit Isn’t Over Yet for the NCAA

U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken moved the Ed O’Bannon anti-trust lawsuit forward against the NCAA. On November 8, 2013, Judge Wilken certified a class of former and current college athletes suing the NCAA. The suit began in 2009, when former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon sued the NCAA for wrongfully profiting off the names and likeness of former student athletes in EA Sports video games. The judge ruled that players can seek a verdict forcing the NCAA and its member-schools to end restrictions on…
Continue reading...

Judge Allows NCAA Athletes’ Antitrust Claims to Proceed

A U.S. District Judge in California, Claudia Wilken, rejected all of the NCAA’s arguments to dismiss antitrust claims against it in connection with the use of student athletes’ names and likenesses.  According to the athletes, the NCAA and others are making huge profits by selling rights that should belong to the players.  On October 25, 2013, Wilken ruled that those claims could proceed to the next stage of litigation. The athletes contend that antitrust laws are applicable because they are forced to give up their…
Continue reading...

Ryan Hart Did Not Consent to $40 Million EA Settlement

Ryan Hart, a former Rutgers quarterback, told the New Jersey federal court that he was “completely uninformed” about negotiations and a settlement impacting his case against Electronic Arts (EA).  In his October 21, 2013 filing, Hart did not object to the settlement, but he opposed an action to replace him as the named plaintiff. The $40 million settlement, announced last month, will remove EA and the Collegiate Licensing Co. (CLC) from Hart’s case and two others if approved.  Hart’s case was filed…
Continue reading...

NCAA Will Try Mediation to “Soften the Blow” of Second Concussion Case

The NCAA has agreed to mediate another concussion case pending against it, according to an October 18, 2013 filing. Last month, Chris Walker filed the case against the NCAA contending that the organization failed to protect student-athletes from concussions.  Walker, a former defensive end for the University of Tennessee, is seeking class action status for all former NCAA football players.  The parties agreed to mediation of the claims.  Retired U.S. District Judge Layn Phillips will over see the mediation set to take place on February…
Continue reading...

Reversal of Penn State Penalties May Lead to End of Miami Investigation

That the NCAA investigation of the University of Miami has dragged on beyond any reasonable timeframe is beyond dispute.  Students who entered the school as freshmen when the investigation began are seniors now, with no formal findings having been issued by the NCAA.  The Penn State investigation took less time.  The investigation and trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg took less time.  And yet, there is no sign that the NCAA will be making formal findings anytime soon. However, the Palm Beach Post’s Greg Stoda
Continue reading...