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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

NCAA’s New Concussion Guidelines Concentrate on Athlete Contact Practices, Health Monitoring

In an effort to reduce head injuries in college football, the NCAA has released new concussion safety guidelines calling for limits on the number of contact practices and new measures for monitoring player health. The NCAA’s guidelines come after the adoption of PAC-12 and Ivy League legislation in 2013 establishing restrictions on the number of … Continue Reading

Indiana University May Start Trend with ‘Student-Athlete Bill of Rights’

Indiana University (IU) has created the first prominent “Student-Athlete Bill of Rights,” which formally identifies rights guaranteed by IU to its student-athletes during their time at the university and beyond. Indiana University’s Bill of Rights addresses concerns held by current student-athletes and encourages prospective student-athletes to attend IU by expanding its commitment in numerous phases of … 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
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