Archives: Collegiate Sports

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Moving Your Infractions Case Along and Avoiding the Next One

In the nine years I served on the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions (COI), we processed roughly 120 major infractions cases. Most were handled through in-person hearings, but a few were handled on paper, through the summary disposition process. To the extent university presidents and other institutional staff members felt bold enough to voice … Continue Reading

Court Dismisses NCAA from Lawsuit Related to UNC’s Academic Fraud Scandal

District Court Judge Loretta Biggs has dismissed the NCAA from the putative class action filed by former UNC-Chapel Hill women’s basketball player Rashanda McCants and former UNC football player Devon Ramsay alleging state law claims against the NCAA and UNC. McCants, et al. v. NCAA, et al., No. 1:15-cv-176 (M.D. N.C. Aug. 12, 2016). The … Continue Reading

University of Tennessee Settles Title IX Lawsuit For $2.48 Million

The University of Tennessee announced on July 5, 2016, that it had settled a Title IX lawsuit filed against it by eight female plaintiffs for $2.48 million. The women alleged that the University fostered a culture of indifference by ignoring sexual assaults committed by athletes, which, in turn, created a hostile environment for females on … Continue Reading

Brain Trauma Concerns Have Ivy League Football Coaches Eliminating In-Season Practice Contact. A New Trend?

Reacting to growing concerns about brain trauma, the eight Ivy League football coaches have added to the Ivy League’s restrictive rules limiting contact during spring and preseason practice by unanimously voting to eliminate all full contact drills from regular season practices. The formal adoption of the decision is anticipated during an upcoming vote of the … Continue Reading

USCIS Proposal Clarifies Criteria for Athletes

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has proposed new guidance for adjudicating O-1 visa petitions for athletes and other individuals of extraordinary ability in certain fields. If the proposal becomes effective, athletes will have greater flexibility in satisfying the O-1 visa criteria. Under current USCIS regulations, an athlete may qualify for an O-1 visa … Continue Reading

NCAA Changes Course: High School Baseball Draftees Allowed To Hire Agents

The NCAA has voted to modify its existing rules dramatically to permit high school baseball players drafted in the Major League Baseball (MLB) amateur draft to hire agents to negotiate contracts with the Major League teams that drafted the players, without sacrificing college eligibility should they fail to successfully negotiate a professional contract. The NCAA’s authorized use … Continue Reading

Former Player Brings Antitrust Lawsuit against NCAA Transfer Rules and Scholarship Limits

Former Weber State football player Devin Pugh has filed a class action lawsuit in Indianapolis federal court challenging the NCAA transfer rule restrictions and the limit on the number of scholarships that can be offered by NCAA member institutions. The lawsuit claims that current NCAA mandates, requiring football players to sit out a year before … Continue Reading

DECISION ALERT-Ninth Circuit Rules NCAA Violates Antitrust Law-Strikes Down Proposed Remedy

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in San Francisco, affirmed in part and reversed in part Judge Claudia Wilken’s August 2014 district court decision that NCAA rules restricting payment to athletes violate antitrust laws. The Ninth Circuit agreed with Judge Wilken’s conclusion that NCAA rules restricting payment to athletes violated antitrust laws and … Continue Reading

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

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

New York’s ‘Enough is Enough’ to Become Law

Legislation to curb sexual assault on college campuses in New York is set to become law. Governor Andrew Cuomo had introduced the bill in January 2015. The “Enough is Enough” bill encourages victims of sexual assault on campus to report the incident and bolsters support services for victims. Significantly, the legislation adopts a statewide affirmative … Continue Reading

The NCAA And Transgender Student-Athlete Participation

“Transgender” is an umbrella term for a person whose gender identity presentation is outside stereotypical gender norms and who may seek to change his or her physical characteristics through hormones, gender reassignment surgery, or other actions. Specifically, one’s internal psychological identification as a boy/man or girl/woman does not match the person’s sex at birth. For … Continue Reading

Is ‘Loss of Value’ Insurance Worth The Price For Student-Athletes, Universities??

Disability insurance policies are frequently secured by college football players, especially those who expect to be selected in the early rounds of the NFL draft. These policies are typically secured by the player in one or two forms. One option allows players to secure coverage to protect against “total permanent disability”. Such coverage would only … Continue Reading

Department of Education Issues New Guidance on Title IX Coordinators

The Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) has issued a Dear Colleague Letter (“DCL”) to superintendents, presidents, and other senior officials of educational institutions reminding them of their obligation to designate a Title IX coordinator and to support the coordinator fully in efforts to ensure the institution is in compliance with Title IX. … Continue Reading

UPDATE-Michigan Excludes Student-Athletes from Unions

Michigan has become the first state to exclude intercollegiate student-athletes at its public universities from the definition of a “public employee,” and therefore, the right to bargain collectively through a union. An amendment to Michigan’s Public Employee Relations Act signed by Governor Rick Snyder excludes from the definition of “public employee” : (1) “a student … 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

Michigan Bill Would Bar Student-Athlete Unionization

With a National Labor Relations Board decision on whether football players at Northwestern may proceed with their unionization efforts looming, Michigan is considering a bill that would prevent student-athletes from similarly attempting to unionize. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Al Pscholka, would prevent student-athletes at Michigan’s public universities from exercising collective bargaining rights based on … Continue Reading

Former Soccer Player Seeks Minimum Wage for Student-Athletes, Sues NCAA, 352 Division I Schools

A former collegiate soccer player has claimed in a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of herself and all student-athletes who have participated recently in Division I women’s and men’s sports that the NCAA and Division I colleges and universities are violating the minimum wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (the “FLSA”). Samantha … Continue Reading

California Bill Would Create New Sexual Assault Definition For College Campuses

Students on both public and private college campuses must get “affirmative consent” before engaging in sexual activity, according to a bill passed unanimously the California legislature. The bill awaits Governor Jerry Brown’s signature. California Senate Bill 967, also known as the “yes means yes” law, makes clear that all colleges taking student financial aid funding … Continue Reading

NCAA Division I Announces Landmark Changes To Governance Structure

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors has voted 16-2 to adopt landmark revisions to its governance structure.  The Board’s decision will provide limited autonomy for the 65 “Big 5” institutions in the Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big 10, Pac-12 and the Southeastern athletic conferences.   These conferences are expected to submit new rules by October … Continue Reading

Judge Rules Against NCAA In Antitrust Decision But Limits Potential Compensation To Athletes

United States District Court Judge Claudia Wilken has ruled that the NCAA is in violation of federal antitrust laws by prohibiting major college football and men’s basketball student-athletes from receiving compensation for the use of their names, images and likenesses in broadcasts and video games. Following a three week non-jury trial in June, Judge Wilken … Continue Reading

How Did This Happen? When Good Compliance Systems and People are not enough in College Athletics and Corporations

Several years ago, in my last term on the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions, I was listening to a university president try to explain how his athletic program landed in trouble, despite having pretty good compliance systems and people in place. It struck me that I had just read similar explanations while pouring through … Continue Reading

NCAA President Responds to Criticism of Enforcement Process

Responding to recent criticism of the effectiveness of the NCAA enforcement process, the Association’s President, Mark Emmert has defended the enforcement staff and its work. Emmert’s response came in a memorandum to the NCAA Division I Board of Directors and all 32 Division I Commissioners.   The memo appears to have been prompted by comments made … Continue Reading
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