Division 1 Athletes Are Friends, Not Food: An In-Depth Analysis of the NCAA’s Fiscal Exploitation of Its Athletes

By: Reece Cooke. Apr. 19, 2017

Division I athletes are not amateurs.  Don’t be fooled by the NCAA’s designated appellation.  I believe strongly that the exploitation on the part of the NCAA of its players and the restraints that the NCAA has placed on their ability to truly brand themselves is a travesty.  NCAA athletes at the Division I (DI) level, primarily basketball and football, are a vortex of escalating and circulating revenue for the NCAA.  Meaning billions of dollars in revenue streams are produced by these players and the NCAA reaps far too many of the benefits from the athlete’s efforts.  The NCAA and its member institutions, for all intents and purposes, are a for-profit business amassing profits that are being produced by players, who, are being taken advantage of by—the NCAA.  I will argue that the NCAA restraints placed on its players are far too restrictive and further, players, including but not necessarily limited to, the big money sports of men’s basketball and football should be compensated above and beyond scholarship(s); or at the least be able to make profits from their name or likeness being used in the form of anything from video games to signing autographs to profiting from sales of their jerseys.

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The Rest of the Best?: How the NBA policy of resting star players may have legal implications.

By: Jason Kaner, Apr. 11, 2017

On Saturday evening, the NBA broadcast its third Saturday night nationally televised game in four weeks. Unlike the previous two, this one was not noticeably missing its star power, nor was it marred by fan complaints amid cries about player rest. The first instance of resting players dates back to 2012, when San Antonio Spurs Coach Greg Popovich chose to rest Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili & Danny Green against LeBron James and the Miami Heat. Popovich had the players sent home before the game, withholding this information from the league and fans up until shortly before game time. This led to a $250,000 fine from then commissioner David Stern, as well as a lawsuit from 16,000 fans in Florida who paid to attend the game. Popovich’s former player, and current Golden State Warriors Coach Steve Kerr stated then, “If the NBA Punishes the Spurs for sitting players, it opens up a huge can of worms, this is a serious legal challenge for the league.”

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“Our Dresses, Please, Our Dresses!”

By: AshLeigh Sebia, Apr. 10, 2017

The Supreme Court delivered an opinion on March 22nd that displayed an unexpected crossover between the worlds of fashion and sports law.  The 5-2 opinion declares that cheerleading uniforms may now be copyrighted.  The case, Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands, allowed the Court to consider the separation of unique and creative art, which is copyrightable, from objects that only have value due to their utility.

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Father of Timberwolves Star Center Considers Potential Negligence Claim Against Organization

By: AshLeigh Sebia, Mar. 20, 2017

Karl Towns Sr., the 54-year-old father of Minnesota Timberwolves star center Karl-Anthony Towns Jr., sustained a serious leg injury while attending the team’s home game on January 26th.[i]   Towns Sr. was supporting his son when, during a timeout, the Timberwolves’ mascot, Crunch, lost his balance during a sledding stunt.[ii]  The mascot crashed into an aisle seat, which in turn, hit Towns Sr.’s knee.[iii]  As a result, Towns Sr. is contemplating legal action including a potential negligence claim against his son’s team.[iv]

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Unnecessary Roughness?: The Washington Redskins May Find Themselves in a Legal Battle over the Dismissal of Their General Manager in Violation of the ADA

By: Jason Kaner, Mar. 20, 2017

Recently, the Redskins dismissed General Manager Scot McCloughan after reports surfaced he had been drinking on the job. These reports directly contradicted statements issued by his agent, Peter Schaffer, a day before, strongly denying such allegations. His agent stated he was “very healthy” and in contact with the team moving forward.[i] McCloughan, who had been hired by the Redskins two years ago, had previously been dismissed from his front office roles in San Francisco and Seattle for struggles with alcohol that were well-publicized in a 2014 ESPN the Magazine article. A month after its publication, the Redskins, well aware of his previous struggles, hired him.

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Louisville & The Gift that Keeps on Giving

By: Reece Cooke, Feb. 22, 2017

As the NCAA and Louisville prepare to be go head to head under our legal system to find justice in the case of the Louisville scandal that was brought to light in 2015, I look deeper into the gift that keeps on giving.  When do impermissible benefits become so outrageous and outlandish as to constitute a full blown lack of institutional control for a program?  Is there a line to be crossed or a general rule of thumb? Is there a grey area where things should and do get overlooked, or is there a zero tolerance policy that should be enforced with punishing outcomes for rule breakers?  Why is it that we continue to see the gift that keeps on giving in the form of “incentives” for players to do one thing or another?

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Linebacker Tanks Court Appearance, On the Hook for $4,000

By: AshLeigh Sebia, Feb. 22, 2017

In January, Buffalo Bills linebacker, Brandon Spikes, was scheduled to appear in court in an attempt to settle a second lawsuit in a two-year long dispute.  In 2014, Spikes hired “The Fish Guy,” a company owned by Joshua Wolfson, to transport his tropical fish and custom-made aquarium from Rhode Island to Buffalo when he was signed as a free agent by the Bills.  However, Spikes refused to pay the $4,000 service fee, resulting in Wolfson’s December 2014 lawsuit against the linebacker in an attempt to recover the unpaid amount.

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Baylor: The Next Penn State? Not So for the NCAA

By: Rohan Mohanty, Feb. 20, 2017

On February 8, 2017, the Big 12 Conference Board of Directors announced they had unanimously voted to, “withhold twenty-five percent of future revenue (about $7.5 million annually) distribution payments to Baylor University, pending the outcome of third-party verification review of required changes to Baylor’s athletics procedures and to institutional governance of its intercollegiate athletics programs, among other matters.” The withholding will be in effect indefinitely, until the Big 12 is satisfied that Baylor is in compliance with the Conference bylaws and regulations as well as all components of Title IX.

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Workers’ Comp. Bill May Threaten Illinois Professional Athletes

By: Katy Luchansky, Feb. 19, 2017

Workers’ compensation is crucial to people in all fields of work and due to sports glorification by the media, it is easy to overlook the severe injuries that professional athletes endure regularly. Workers’ compensation laws are designed to protect people who are injured in their field of work by providing them with wage replacement benefits if they are temporarily or permanently unable to work because of their injury. The Illinois state legislature is currently working on a bill (Illinois Senate Bill 12) that would decrease the benefits that professional athletes receive after these injuries.

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“The Cardinal Way” Called into Question

By: Jordan Garnick, Feb. 19, 2017

The so-called “Cardinal Way” was considered the method of premier success and class that had kept the St. Louis Cardinals organization relevant from the time of Branch Rickey’s reign over the organization’s front office, all the way into the new millennium. In the late 1920s to early 1930s, Rickey created “the Cardinal Way” through the creation and development of a new concept called “the farm system,” which provided the Major League club in St. Louis with a continual influx of young and talented prospects. Ever since its inception, the “Cardinal Way” of player development and organizational structure has been implemented throughout baseball, and has made the Cardinals the organization that all other baseball clubs strive to become.

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What’s Next for Vegas and the NFL 

By Rohan Mohanty, October 31, 2016

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed a bill Monday that sets into motion the potential relocation of the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas. The bill was passed through the Nevada state Senate by a 16-5 vote and through the state Assembly by a vote of 28-13, in favor of the new legislation. If all goes according to plan, the Raiders will become one of two professional sports franchise in Las Vegas, the other being the NHL’s Black Knights which is set to kick off its inaugural season in 2017.

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David Falk’s NBA Legacy will Greatly Affect the Next CBA

By Jason Kurtyka, March 31, 2016

Today, David Falk – a featured guest of the 2016 Jeffrey S. Moorad Sports Law Journal Symposium – manages a smaller client list than he did during the 1990’s when he was the NBA’s ultimate power broker, but he is no less influential. As CBA talks begin to heat up again, Falk’s influence on ‘90’s labor negotiations and the NBPA are apparent on both the player and owner side of the table. Continue reading –>


SELS Blog Reports on Penn Law Sports Symposium

By Jason Kurtyka and Meg Lane, March 4, 2016

Jason Kurtyka and Meg Lane attended the Penn Law Sports Law Symposium on February 19 in Philadelphia. They sum up the content of several dynamic panel discussions. Continue reading –>


Third Circuit Hears Arguments in N.J. Sports Gambling Case

By Meg Lane, February 18, 2016

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit heard oral arguments Wednesday on a controversial issue in New Jersey that has made headlines in recent months: the legalization of sports betting. The hearing was for an en banc appeal featuring 12 judges who heard arguments on New Jersey’s plan to legalize sports books and offer gambling in its casinos and racetracks à la Las Vegas sports betting system. Continue reading –>


Bargaining to Bargain: US Soccer Files Complaint to Determine if CBA is Currently Active

By Valerie Caras, February 8, 2016

On February 3, the United States Soccer Federation Inc., the official governing body of soccer in the United States that is more popularly known as “US Soccer,” filed a complaint in federal court for “anticipatory breach of contract and for declaratory relief” against the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Players Association. The issue in this case is whether or not a collective bargaining agreement exists between US Soccer and the Players Association. Continue reading –>

The Two Most Expensive Words You Will Ever Say? “Super Bowl”

By Cody Wilcoxson, February 7, 2016

You may have heard your local grocery store advertising sales for chicken wings and soda for the Big Game happening on Sunday. Maybe you were watching television this week and saw an advertisement for a Championship Game special at a restaurant or bar. Understandably, you might be wondering: Why don’t they just call it the Super Bowl?

The answer is simple: The National Football League owns the trademark to “Super Bowl,” “Super Sunday,” and seven other federally registered trademarks containing the word “Super,” and the League takes the protection of its trademarks seriously. Continue reading –>


Ryan Howard and Ryan Zimmerman File Defamation Lawsuits Following Al Jazeera PED Report

By Jason Kurtyka, January 9, 2016

Two weeks ago, Al Jazeera re-ignited the controversy surrounding performance-enhancing-drug use among professional athletes when it aired The Dark Side: Secrets of the Sports Dopers, in which Peyton Manning, other NFL stars, and MLB athletes Ryan Howard and Ryan Zimmerman were implicated in a doping ring.

The report, first promoted by the Huffington Post, was an hour-long documentary intended to expose doping in international sports and only briefly included the names of Manning and other US professional athletes during an interview with Charlie Sly, a former pharmaceutical intern at the clinic where the banned substances were sent from. Continue reading –>


“Concussion” Movie to Put Spotlight on NFL’s Legal Issues with Player Safety

By Meg Lane, November 18, 2015

Sony Pictures Entertainment’s upcoming film, Concussion, is a much-anticipated drama starring Will Smith that takes a look at the contentious issue of concussions in the realm of professional football. The movie is based on the true story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist who discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) upon conducting the autopsy of Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster and who subsequently fought against the NFL’s concerted efforts to suppress and discredit his research. The film, which will be released in December, has already made headlines because Sony reportedly made editorial changes at the request (and perhaps threat) of the NFL. Continue reading –>


Skill or Luck? Daily Fantasy Sports’ Legality Under Question

By Cody Wilcoxson, November 6, 2015

Anyone watching the National Football League this season is now familiar with an off-shoot of traditional season-long fantasy sports called daily fantasy sports, or DFS. According to iSpot.tv, a data company that measures national television ads, the two leaders in DFS, DraftKings.com and FanDuel.com, combined to spend more than $27 million on roughly 8,000 TV spots during the opening weekend of the season. In September and October, the two sites spent a combined $203 million. Continue reading –>

Post-O’Bannon, the Fight Between Student-Athletes and the NCAA Rages On

By Jason Kurtyka, October 31, 2015

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently handed down its opinion in O’Bannon v. Nat’l Collegiate Athletic Ass’n, one that narrowed the scope of District Court Judge Claudia Wilken’s initial ruling and allowed both sides to claim partial victory. As detailed by Associate Director of the Moorad Center Vince Nicastro, the limited ruling left amateurism in tact, but considerably battered, meaning challenges to the NCAA’s amateurism bylaws are far from finished.

But with one fight winding down, a bigger one is just warming up. Continue reading –>


Lamar Odom, Nevada Brothels, and Human Trafficking

By Valerie Caras, October 27, 2015

On October 13, Lamar Odom joined the ranks of many other well-known athletes who have solicited prostitutes. However, his actions are distinguishable from a majority of those cases because his four-day, $75,000 patronization of the “Love Ranch,” a licensed Nevada brothel, was legal. Continue reading –>

Chase Utley Slides into the MLB Rule Book

By Alex Ott, October 23, 2015

It was the fibula crack heard ‘round the world.

When Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Chase Utley violently collided with Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada on a takeout slide during Game 2 of the National League Division Series, the sports atmosphere nearly spontaneously combusted.  Opinions on the play’s legality and interpretations of MLB rules flooded Twitter feeds and dominated newspaper columns, leading to an unprecedented move by the league to suspend Utley for two games. Continue reading –>


What’s in a Name? The Case of the Washington R#%$k!ns

By Cody Wilcoxson, October 20, 2015

The Washington Redskins are in another epic battle. No, not as part of their storied rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys or a Monday Night matchup with the New York Giants. Instead, this battle is for their name. Continue reading –>

Friday Night Fights: Violence During a High School Football Game Raises Legal Questions

By Joseph Talarico, October 16, 2015

Football is a violent sport. Every single person who has ever played, coached, or watched a game knows this to be true. However, from sideline to sideline there is a line between acceptable violence seen on an average play and violence “caused by conduct not within the rules.” Unfortunately, on September 4, 2015, that line was crossed. Continue reading –>


Use Promo Code “INSIDER TRADING” to Enter: N.Y. Attorney General Investigates DraftKings/FanDuel Scandal

By Meg Lane, October 13, 2015

The Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) industry has recently come under fire for a scandal stemming from employee activity akin to insider trading.  The New York attorney general launched an official inquiry on October 6 into the lucrative DFS business, anchored by top companies DraftKings and FanDuel, after reports of employees winning major payouts by using internal data to develop their personal gaming strategy on opposing sites.  FanDuel employee Matthew Boccio accessed internal data and competed on DraftKings, and a midlevel content manager at DraftKings won $350,000 on FanDuel after DraftKings “inadvertently” released its data on ownership trends before the NFL’s Week 3 slate of games.  Continue reading –>


Sports: Agent for Change

By Marie Bussey, April 16, 2015

Most people, if asked to name the leading American civil rights organizations of the last century, would list the ACLU, NAACP, and Lambda Legal.  But what about the National Collegiate Athletic Association and its member institutions?  Although the NCAA does not immediately spring to mind in a typical discussion of civil rights activism, this organization has been effecting change and protecting civil liberties for decades. Continue reading –>

Signed, Sealed, Departed?

By Marie Bussey, April 1, 2015

Photo Credit: www.waow.com

Photo Credit: www.waow.com

With coaches leaving the storied football programs at Ohio State, UCLA, Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, LSU, and Notre Dame within days of each other earlier this month, one has to wonder, what’s with the trend?  The bitter buzz on Twitter in the immediate aftermath of National Signing Day suggests this mass exodus reflects a growing problem in college football that is leaving many college athletes feeling harmed and without recourse. Continue reading –>

And the Crowd Goes Wild: Georgia Residents Take Challenge of Financing for Braves’ New Stadium to State Supreme Court

By Matt Weiss, February 23, 2015

Photo Credit: Braves.com

Photo Credit: Braves.com

In 2013, the Atlanta Braves and Cobb County, Georgia jointly announced that the team would be moving to a new stadium in Cobb County called Sun Trust Park for the 2017 baseball season. This news came as a surprise to residents because Turner Field, the stadium in which the Braves currently play their home games, opened less than 20 years ago. Continue reading –>

Leave 12 Alone!: The Seattle Seahawks Claw at Trademark Rights for Everything

By Laura Napolitano, February 3, 2015

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Kurtz, www.flickr.com/photos/jefku

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Kurtz, www.flickr.com/photos/jefku

In what can only be described as a bizarre and possibly ingenious revenue generating strategy, the Seattle Seahawks are attempting to corner the market on “12.” That’s right, 12 – a number the Count of Sesame Street has taught children for ages.

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Money Can’t Buy Happiness: New TV Deal has Planted Seeds for Labor Unrest in NBA

By Matt Weiss, December 1, 2014

Photo Credit: www.theledgesports.com

Photo Credit: www.theledgesports.com

In early October, the New York Times reported that the National Basketball Association (NBA) had agreed with The Walt Disney Company and Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. on a new TV deal that would pay the league $24 billion over 9 years to keep the association’s games on ESPN, ABC, and TNT. The deal does not take effect until the 2016-17 season, but the increase in annual payments under this new deal as compared to the one currently in place (almost $2 billion per year) has sparked labor unrest.

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Get Paid or Play; Why Not Both? Student Athletes Seek Minimum Wage

By Marie Bussey, November 25, 2014

Photo Credit: www.facebook.com/HoustonCougarSoccer

Photo Credit: www.facebook.com/HoustonCougarSoccer

Student athletes often are thought to receive special treatment, as evidenced by the fact that many are idolized on campuses.  While recent media reports concerning certain star college football players seem to further such notions, a civil action filed last month in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana asserts that college students in work-study programs are afforded “different, and better, treatment” compared to student athletes.  The lawsuit has one goal: pay student athletes minimum wage as work-study participants.

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High Rollers, Beware: Top Sports Leagues Attempt to Block Sports Betting in New Jersey

By Matt Weiss, November 11, 2014

Sports betting is considered by many to be one of America’s greatest pastimes.  From fantasy sports leagues to March Madness bracket pools, betting on sports has long been a part of the sporting experience for many fans. However, this has not stopped the NFL, MLB, NBA, NCAA, and NHL from filing an injunction to block sports betting in New Jersey after the state legislature legalized sports betting last month. This battle is not merely a month old, though; it’s one that began more than 20 years ago.

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From Russia, Without Love: NHL follows NFL policy in handling domestic violence cases

By Timothy Nakajima, November 4, 2014

Photo Credit: Lisa Gansky, www.flickr.com/photos/gansky

Photo Credit: Lisa Gansky, www.flickr.com/photos/gansky

The National Hockey League (“NHL”), which has been dubbed “the fastest game on earth,” apparently decides how to handle player discipline in that very manner. The NHL became the latest professional sports league to encounter issues of domestic violence, when twenty-four year old Russian-born defenseman, Slava Voynov, was arrested last month for an incident involving his wife after neighbors complained of “hearing shouting and crying.”

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Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: Conference Exit Fees and Hostile Separations

By Laura Napolitano, October 27, 2014

Photo Credit: www.diamondbackonline.com

Photo Credit: www.diamondbackonline.com

The University of Maryland experienced a contentious divorce from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) when the University made the decision to join the ranks of Ohio State and Penn State in the Big Ten Conference. In the wake of Maryland’s announcement that it would withdraw from the ACC, the Conference filed a complaint seeking $52.3 million from the University as an exit fee. This complaint marked the beginning of a nearly two-year long legal battle, which was recently resolved through mediation. Continue reading –>

Grass Ceiling? Players Demand Grass for Women’s World Cup Canada 2015

By Marie Bussey, October 22, 2014

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ mastermaq

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/

For years, women in industry have fought the proverbial glass ceiling, but the world’s best female soccer players are now facing a grass ceiling as they engage in a literal turf war with the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). These elite players have but one demand from these associations: provide the Women’s World Cup with the same grass playing fields that they provide for the Men’s World Cup.

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