Former Northwestern University Football Player Sues NCAA

On March 18, 2019, former Northwestern University football player, Jay Tant, filed a proposed concussion class action lawsuit against the NCAA. In the class action suit, Tant alleged that the NCAA failed to protect the school’s players from the dangers of concussion and head injuries despite knowing the risks. According to Tant, the NCAA knew, since 1933, of the dangers of concussions and the long-term risks they posed to student-athletes however, the NCAA only began to implement concussion protocols in 2010.

Tant, a standout tight …

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Northwestern Bricks its Shot for Motion to Strike in Johnnie Vassar Suit

On Friday, September 29, 2017, an Illinois federal judge denied the motion Northwestern University (NU) had filed at the end of January to strike portions of a former basketball player’s complaint that mentioned settlement negotiations. “Clearly, the purpose of this allegation is not to show liability by referencing a settlement agreement but rather to allege Northwestern’s bad act in making a misrepresentation to Vassar,” the judge’s order stated.  The complaint alleged that NU offered a “cash payment” to “make Johnnie go away and free-up …

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NLRB Opens its Doors to Protect College Football Players as Employees

On January 31, 2017, the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) released a memo which stated it believed football players at private colleges qualify as employees. The Board declined to answer this question in 2015 when they dismissed a unionization effort by players at Northwestern University, citing concerns of instability if such a decision was rendered that only pertained to private universities. However, a recent decision by the NLRB that found in favor of graduate teaching assistants challenging their status …

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National Labor Relations Board’s Counsel Finds Some Limits on Players Unlawful

On October 10, 2016, the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel declared that some Northwestern University football team rules were unlawful pursuant to an advice memorandum dated September 22, 2016. This ruling found that the players must be freely allowed to post on social media, discuss issues of their health and safety, and speak with the media.

While this ruling has no force of law on the other sixteen private schools, if a similar complaint is ever filed at one of those schools, this memorandum …

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Northwestern and CAPA File Opposing Reply Briefs With NLRB

In an attempt to have a regional director’s decision that Northwestern University football players are employees, the school filed a reply brief with the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) explaining that its relationship to the student athletes is not economic.

Previously, the regional director Peter Sung Ohr found that under the National Labor Relations Act, the athletes receiving scholarships were “employees” and could vote to unionize.  In response, Northwestern  argued that since the school is not “in the business of football,” no “economic relationship” is …

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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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