NCAA Student-Athlete Pay Rules, Opposition Grows

On October 30, 2019, the plaintiffs in the Alston v. NCAA case gained support in the form of an amicus curiae brief from the Open Markets Institute, Change to Win, the National Employment Law Project, economics professor Marshall Steinbaum, and law professors Sanjukta Paul and Veena Dubal. In the brief submitted to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the amici argue that the U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of California, Claudia Wilken, reached “an overly narrow” decision based upon…
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U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Ordered to Reveal Sponsorship Income

In March 2019, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) filed suit against the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. In their complaint, the plaintiffs alleged that the USSF violated the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for paying the women’s soccer team players less than the U.S. Men’s National Team. On October 28, 2019, the USSF filed a motion to compel disclosure. The USSF seeks documents from the…
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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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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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Somerville Mayor Sues Barstool Sports, Kirk Minihane for Lying to Conduct Interview

Joseph Curtatone, mayor of Somerville, Massachusetts, filed a lawsuit against Massachusetts-based sports media company, Barstool Sports (Barstool), as well as Kirk Minihane, a podcaster who Barstool recently hired. The lawsuit alleges that Barstool and Minihane violated Massachusetts’ wiretap statute by recording an interview with the mayor via “fraud,” according to the complaint filed on June 17, 2019. Mayor Curtatone announced the lawsuit himself via Twitter. In the video recording, which Barstool posted on its website and two of its social media platforms, Minihane pretended…
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Arbitrator Denies Eric Reid’s Grievance Against Bengals

On October 23, 2018, it was announced that an arbitrator denied the National Football League Players Association’s (NFLPA) grievance against the Cincinnati Bengals. As we have previously reported, on July 11, 2018, the NFLPA filed a grievance against the NFL over its national anthem policy. The policy, announced in May 2018, instructed players to either stand during the anthem or to not come out of the locker room until the anthem is over. In response, the NFLPA filed several non-injury grievances “on behalf…
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Heisman Trophy Trust Sues HeismanWatch.com

On Wednesday, October 3rd 2018, the Heisman Trophy Trust, the organization behind the famed Heisman Trophy, filed a trademark claim against HeismanWatch.com, a website that tracks the competition for the award. The trust submitted their compliant to New York federal court, positing that the website has used the Heisman trademarks without their consent or permission to capitalize on its fame.  The website HeismanWatch.com has been managed by owners Chase Leavitt, Joseph Middleton, and Kimball Dean since 2014, and has podcasts and social media…
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Shocking Testimony Heard at NCAA Corruption/Bribery Trial

On October 3, 2018, weeks before the start of the college basketball season, shocking testimony was heard in the NCAA Corruption/Bribery Trial. As we have previously reported, on February 21, 2018, Yahoo Sports reported that financial records, documents, and wiretaps tied to prominent former NBA agent, Andy Miller, and his former associate, Christian Dawkins, provided the prosecution with a detailed window into the ongoing NCAA Corruption and Bribery scandal. The scandal, now case, involves Adidas executive Jim Gatto, Adidas contractor Merl Code, and sports…
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NFL Sued by Former Athletes over Pro Bowl Promotionals

World Sports Alumni Inc. (WSA), a sports marketing firm, is suing the NFL and a chapter of the National Football League Alumni Association (NFLAA) over the use of former athletes’ names and pictures in promotional advertisements without their permission. WSA alleges that the NFL and NFLAA depicted retired NBA player Nick Anderson, retired NFL player Brandon Meriweather, and retired heavyweight boxing champion Riddick Bowe to promote the Pro Bowl events without the former athletes’ knowledge or consent. The complaint states that, in December 2017, NFLAA…
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In Pursuit of Class Certification against EA, Retired NFL Players Cite Bette Midler

The retired NFL players suing Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) are citing an unexpected figure in their continued efforts to gain class certification: singer Bette Midler. The athletes’ action against EA began in 2010, over the company using their likeness in the video games, arguing that, while EA pays the NFL players union when featuring the names and likeness of current players, EA failed to compensate retired players in the same fashion. A federal judge recently ruled against the athletes, refusing to certify their case as…
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