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NLRB’s Decision Roadblocks Union Effort – What’s Next for Student-Athletes?

After holding the potential “employee” status of Northwestern University’s grant-in-aid scholarship football players in abeyance for 16 months, the National Labor Relations Board’s decision not to assert jurisdiction left the parties still waiting for a “real” decision from the Board on the merits of whether college football players may someday be considered “employees” who can … Continue Reading

NLRB Declines to Exercise Jurisdiction Over Student-Athletes’ Attempt to Unionize – For Now

Concluding that its assertion of jurisdiction “would not serve to promote stability in labor relations,” the National Labor Relations Board has declined to exercise authority over the College Athletes Players Association’s (CAPA’s) petition to represent scholarship football players at Northwestern University. Northwestern University, 362 NLRB No. 167 (Aug. 17, 2015). Without deciding if the players … Continue Reading

Uniform Law Commission Approves Changes to Uniform Athlete Agents Act

The Uniform Law Commission (ULC) has approved significant changes to the Uniform Athlete Agents Act (UAA) at its recent annual meeting. The UAA, first adopted in 2000, has been enacted in 40 states, as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Laws similar to the UAA have been enacted by several … Continue Reading

NCAA Changes Course, Proposes Rule Allowing Players to Reject NBA and Return to School

The NCAA men’s basketball oversight committee has proposed a significant rule change that would allow undergraduate basketball players to return to school and resume their playing careers after initialing declaring their eligibility for the NBA draft. This proposed amendment is a drastic change from existing NCAA rules which prevent a student-athlete from returning to school … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association To Implement Background Checks For Officials

Closing one of the last gaps in ensuring the safety of students from school workers in Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) has approved an initiative requiring all high school referees to undergo criminal background checks by a unanimous vote of the board of the directors on February 25, 2015. The MIAA has indicated … Continue Reading

New Class Action Alleges NCAA and 11 Conferences Formed ‘“Monopsony’” Over College Athletes

Three former college athletes are the latest to file a class action lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), asserting the NCAA and its 11 conferences collectively share “monopsony” over college athletes. Kenyata Johnson, Barry Brunetti, and D.J. Stephens filed their class action complaint  in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of … Continue Reading

STRICTER HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT-ATHLETE TRANSFER RULES EXAMINED

While the NCAA appears to be loosening restrictions on student-athletes transferring between colleges, the governing body for New York public high school athletics is examining ways to make it more difficult for their student-athletes to transfer between high schools. This fall, the 22-member executive committee of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association … Continue Reading

Colleges and Universities Must Address Sexual Violence Against Students

The University of Connecticut (UConn) has agreed to pay nearly $1.3 million to settle a federal lawsuit filed by five current and former female undergraduates who claimed the university  mishandled their complaints of sexual assault. UConn was accused of mishandling rape cases and refusing to condemn or intervene following  reported harassment of female students, in … Continue Reading

NCAA Board Endorses More Autonomy For Five Largest Conferences

In an effort to restructure the Division I legislative system, the NCAA Board of Directors has endorsed a proposal that would give more power to schools in the five largest conferences in the NCAA. The endorsement was presented as Northwestern University’s 76 voting eligible scholarship members of the football team prepared to participate in a … Continue Reading

NLRB Grants Review in Northwestern Case; Election to Be Held and Ballots Impounded

As expected, the National Labor Relations Board has granted Northwestern University’s Request for Review of the Regional Director’s March 26, 2014 decision finding the scholarship football players at the University to be “employees” within the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act “as it raises substantial issues meriting review.” While, the election will take place … Continue Reading

Recommendations for Ensuring Academic Integrity in Athletic Programs

That academic misconduct often does not result in punitive action from the NCAA has always been a complicated matter for the NCAA enforcement staff and Committee on Infractions (COI).  This is in part due to legitimate claims of academic freedom and the NCAA membership’s view that member institutions should have autonomy and responsibility to determine … Continue Reading

If NCAA Scholarship Football Players Are Employees, What Are Coaches?…Supervisors?

The decision of the Regional Director of Region 13 of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) that scholarship football players at Northwestern University are “employees” under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) has created an interesting question for all colleges and universities: Are members of coaching staffs now considered to be supervisors under the NLRA? The answer … Continue Reading

NCAA Initiates Formal Changes to Student-Athlete Well-Being Rules

The NCAA Legislative Council has approved proposals for “student-athlete well-being rules.” One proposed rule change would provide Division I student-athletes (both scholarship athletes and walk-ons) with unlimited meals and snacks in conjunction with their athletics participation.  Under current NCAA rules, schools can provide three meals per day or a stipend for those meals to scholarship … Continue Reading

Put ‘Trust, But Verify’ To Work In Employment Relationships

Employers should ensure all job applicants are fully (and lawfully) vetted and job applicants should ensure their resumes are accurate. Recent events in college basketball underscore the importance of the “trust, but verify” course. Steve Masiello was an assistant coach at the University of Louisville under head coach and mentor Rick Pitino until he was … Continue Reading

Northwestern Scholarship Football Players Found To Be Employees Eligible for Union Representation

Peter Sung Ohr, the Regional Director for Region 13 of the National Labor Relations Board issued a Decision and Direction of Election pertaining to the effort of the Northwestern University football players to unionize. The Regional Director found that scholarship football players at Northwestern University are “employees” within the meaning of the National Labor Relations … Continue Reading

New Antitrust Suit Takes Aim at NCAA Model

The NCAA’s amateurism model is once again under fire — this time in an antitrust lawsuit filed by sports labor attorney Jeffrey Kessler. Kessler, on behalf of four named current men’s basketball and football players (Clemson football player Martin Jenkins, Rutgers basketball player Johnathan Moore, Texas El-Paso football player Kevin Perry, and University of California … Continue Reading

Concussion Injuries Controversy Not Restricted to Professional Athletics

The recent high-profile lawsuits by former players of the National Football League (NFL) and National Hockey League (NHL) have brought to the forefront the issue of long-term, concussion-related injuries in athletes, which is not limited to the world of high-contact professional sports. A report by the Institute of Medicine (“IOM”) and the National Research Council … Continue Reading

College Football Players Engage In Protest Seeking NCAA Reforms

In an unprecedented protest against NCAA protocols, football players from Georgia Tech, Georgia and Northwestern took to the gridiron with personally marked-up equipment to challenge the NCAA’s treatment of athletes on issues ranging from concussions to guaranteed scholarships. Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee wrote “APU”, an acronym for All Players United, a signature of the … Continue Reading

NCAA Issues Half-Game Penalty To Heisman Winner For Bylaw Violation

Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel has been suspended for the first half of Texas A&M’s season opening game for an “inadvertent” violation of NCAA rules. The NCAA and Texas A&M announced that Manziel would receive the minor penalty because there is no evidence that Manziel received money in exchange for signing autographs, based on currently … Continue Reading

Congress To Protect Athletes And Universities With Proposed National Collegiate Athletics Accountability Act

Representatives Charlie Dent (R-Pennsylvania) and Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) have introduced the National Collegiate Athletics Accountability Act (H.R. 2903) (http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th/house-bill/2903/text), in a rare bi-partisan proposal. The Act, which would halt federal funds for colleges and universities refusing to take specified measures to protect student athletes and their schools in sports and academic activities, has been proposed … Continue Reading

NCAA SUSPENDS UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI PROBE FOR APPARENT MISCONDUCT OF INVESTIGATORS, BEGINS EXAMINATION OF ENFORCEMENT METHODS

In a sudden turn of events, the NCAA has suspended its investigation into alleged improprieties of coaches and student-athletes tied to former University of Miami booster Nevin Shapiro, just days after announcing it was making significant progress. NCAA President Mark Emmert has also ordered an external investigation of the conduct of staff enforcement investigators following … Continue Reading

Jackson Lewis Sports Practice Attorney To Participate In Duke Law Symposium

Jackson Lewis attorney Jennifer Harper will participate in Duke Universty Law School’s Sports Law Symposium on January 25, 2012. Harper will be participating in the panel on “Handling Scandal”. The Duke Sports & Entertainment Law Society (SELS) presents its 3rd Annual Sports & Entertainment Law Symposium: The Changing Economics of the Sports and Entertainment Industries … Continue Reading

NEW NCAA RULES AIM AT HOLDING COACHES ACCOUNTABLE

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors has adopted a new rules enforcement structure that will hold coaches more accountable for violations within their programs.  The new rule also will impose longer postseason bans, of two to four years, and increased fines for schools that continue to violate NCAA rules and regulations. The new structure … Continue Reading
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