Will It Soon Be Lights Out for the Black Out Rule?

Exciting news was announced for sports fans living in towns with fluctuating home game attendance this week.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced it is reviewing the need for the “blackout” rule.

The nearly 40 year old rule prevents satellite and cable companies from televising NFL Events in a team’s home market if the game does not sell out.  The blackout rule was developed when teams earned a significant portion of their revenue from ticket sales.  The idea was implemented in 1975 to encourage fans …

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Concerns Raised Over Attorney Compensation in NFL Concussion Litigation Settlement

Around four months ago it was announced that over 4,500 NFL player plaintiffs and the League reached a $765 million settlement resolving the ongoing multi-district concussion litigation in Pennsylvania District Court.  In brief, the plaintiffs alleged that the NFL intentionally concealed the long-term risks of head injuries and concussions and their role in later-life cognitive decline.

However, U.S. District Court Judge Anita Brody for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has yet to approve the settlement agreement, partly due to issues concerning attorney compensation.  It was …

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Fines Drop, but Study Finds Dangerous Hits Still Prevalent in NFL

A recent study by the AP analyzed the rate at which NFL players experience dangerous hits by reviewing 549 penalties called through the first 11 weeks of the 2013 football season.  It found that over the first 162 games of the year, 156 of the penalties studied involved contact with the head and neck.  Statistically, this means that nearly once per game, an NFL player receives a blow to the head or neck that could have serious health and/or career consequences.  The numbers also revealed …

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A New Potential Area of Liability Exposure to Equipment Manufacturers

Two more tragic deaths from brain injuries on the football field were reported in recent weeks. On November 11, Hopi (Arizona) High School football player Charles Youvella died from a traumatic brain injury suffered in a game the previous weekend. On November 14, Tipton (Missouri) High School football player Chad Stover died from a traumatic brain injury suffered in a game that took place two weeks earlier. The details of these two events, and any related legal issues, are unclear at this point. …

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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 …

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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 …

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Former Steelers Player Loses Appeal for Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Pennsylvania

On August 29, 2013, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania ruled against former Pittsburgh Steelers player Ainsley T. Battles in a claim for workers’ compensation benefits based on a ruling that Battles’ injury did not result in a compensable loss of earnings.

The Steelers signed Battles to a one-year contract in 2004-2005, however, his season unfortunately ended during Week One when claimant tore his left hamstring.  The team physician, Dr. James Bradley, performed surgery three days after the injury and Battles underwent a lengthy period of …

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NCAA, University Sued Following Football Player Death

The parents of a Frostburg State University football player, who allegedly died after repeated head injuries suffered on the field, have accused coaches at the Maryland school of organizing high-risk drills that caused players to suffer repeated blows to the head. In the wrongful death lawsuit, Derek Sheely is alleged to have been allowed to return to the playing field despite prior bleeding from his forehead during several consecutive practice sessions in August 2011. Sheely was allegedly never checked for a concussion. The lawsuit alleges …

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Score One for the Good Guys: NCAA Reverses Decision Banning Former Marine from the Field

The NCAA has reversed its previous decision that prevented former U.S. Marine Sergeant Steven Rhodes from playing football this season.  The original story can be read here.  But, thanks to a massive outpouring of support and publicity, the NCAA now says that Rhodes can play immediately.

The original decision caught some flak in all forms of media.  Major news organizations around the country picked up the story after it broke on Sunday, August 18, 2013.  In addition, the NCAA was crushed by internet activists.  Twitter …

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Do the NFL and Its Fans Care About Steroids?

In the wake of the notorious Alex Rodriguez/Biogenesis/performance enhancing drug (PED) scandal, fans have been questioning the lack of response from various other sporting organizations. The Biogenesis scandal has implicated more than just MLB players. Indeed, athletes from the NBA, MMA, tennis and NCAA have also been caught up in this scandal. Surprisingly, no players from the NFL have been implicated.

Since 2010, the NFL has adhered to its own steroid policies, which appears to be working.  Specifically, the NFL created the National Football League

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