Sports Law Blog
All things legal relating
to the sports world...
Sunday, March 31, 2013
 
MLB v. Biogenesis

In recently suing a Miami clinic, Major League Baseball signaled a new legal strategy for combating steroids: sue those who allegedly sell to players on grounds the sellers are intentionally interfering with players' employment contracts. I wrote an article titled "Squeeze Play" in the April 1, 2013 issue of Sports Illustrated that examines this strategy.

Hope you can check it out on page 20 of the magazine.

Saturday, March 30, 2013
 
State Bill Challenges NCAA Amateurism Rules

The battle over the future of college athletics continues to evolve as more and more people view the NCAA's failure to compensate student-athletes from the revenue created by their labor as hypocritical.  Most challeneges have come from either public commentary--Taylor Branch, Joe Nocera, Jay Bilas, etc.--or the court system, i.e. O'Bannon v NCAA.  However, the state of California continues to advocate on behalf of the college student-athletes, not surprising given that it's also home to the National College Players Association (NCPA)--a nonprofit student-athlete advocacy group.

The latest effort by the California legislature is Assembly Bill 475.  This Bill would require all public universities and colleges in California that offer full athletic scholarships and receive media and licensing revenues in excess of $20 million to provide each athlete $3,600 stipends and guarantee full-ride athletic scholarships for five years, instead of the year-to-year guarantee.  As of now, the only schools that meet these thresholds are USC and UCalifornia, Berkeley.

Of import is that this Bill directly conflicts with current NCAA rules regarding amateurism.  Any stipend will be defined as an "extra benefit" violating the NCAA's self-defined amateurism rules.  The $3,600 stipend, not coincidentally, is close to the average amount that the NCPA determined is the cost of attendance shortfall for student-athletes receiving a "full grant-in-aid" scholarship.  For more on this research, please see their study, conducted by Ramogi Huma and Dr. Ellen Staurowsky, entitled "The $6 Billion Heist: Robbing College Athletes Under the Guise of Amateurism."

Finally, from a strict legal standpoint, we may be heading for a showdown--does a state have the right to impose laws that supercede the NCAA's regulations?  I'd say yes.  Will the NCAA challenge this rule?  I'd say yes again.  The result, perhaps an expedited judicial hearing, and ruling on the merits, on the claim that the NCAA's rules impose an unreasonable restraint of trade under the antitrust laws.  Stay tuned.

Friday, March 29, 2013
 
Can't make it Malibu for Pepperdine Law Review Sports Law Symposium on Fri Apr. 5? Live and Free Webcast = Next best thing

From the Pepperdine Law Review: 

The Pepperdine Law Review is pleased to announce that we will be hosting a free, live webcast of our Sports Law Symposium next Friday, April 5th.  If you cannot join us in sunny Malibu, CA, please consider tuning in online!  You may add the webcast to your calendar here: http://t.co/3gkgDlUmMh.  Sports law experts Michael McCannGabe FeldmanMatt Mitten and ESPN's Roger Cossack are among our 22 speakers.  A full list of panelists is below.

The New Normal in College Sports: Realigned and Reckoning
Friday, April 5th – 8:30am to 5:15pm PST // 11:30am to 8:15pm EST
Live from Pepperdine University School of Law, Malibu, CA

Live Webcast:  http://t.co/3gkgDlUmMh
Complete Schedule of Events: http://bit.ly/UvxZRr 
Line-up of Speakershttp://bit.ly/UvxZRr

Web viewers may tweet questions for the panelists to @PeppLawReview
Note: if you wish to attend in person, registration closes tonight at 11:59pm PST.  You may register here: http://bit.ly/10gmGdV.

The symposium will consist of four panel discussions and a keynote address with leading academics, university administrators, and practitioners in a variety of areas, including: a conversation with institutional leaders of major intercollegiate athletic programs; a consideration of the possibility of an antitrust exemption for the NCAA; the impact of conference realignment, digital media, broadcasting, and commercialization; and other emerging hot topics in college sports.

Schedule of events (all times PST):
8:30-8:45am                       Introductions and Welcome
8:45-10:45am                     Institutional Control: A View From the Top
11:00-12:30pm                   NCAA, Legal Exemptions, and Liability
12:30-1:30pm                     Lunch (Pause in Webcast)
1:30pm-2:00pm                 Address by Jeff Moorad, Founder, Moorad Sports Management
2:00pm-3:30pm                 NCAA: Enforcement, Sanctions, and Relationship with Universities
3:45-5:15pm                       The Money: Broadcasting, Digital Media & What Drives the Machine

Speakers include: 

Michael McCann, Professor of Law and Director of the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute, University of New Hampshire School of Law; Legal Analyst and Writer, Sports Illustrated
Gabe Feldman, Associate Professor, Tulane Law School; Director, Tulane Sports Law Program; and Associate Provost for NCAA Compliance 
Roger Cossack, ESPN Legal Analyst & Pepperdine University School of Law Distinguished Visiting Professor
Jeff Moorad, Founder, Moorad Sports Management; Former owner of the San Diego Padres
Judge Ken Starr, President, Baylor University
Katherine Sulentic, Assistant Director of Enforcement, NCAA
Britt Banowsky, Conference Commissioner, Conference USA
Steve Potts, Athletic Director, Pepperdine University
Dave Roberts, Vice President for Compliance, USC
Maureen Weston, Professor of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law
Daniel E. Lazaroff, Professor of Law and Director, Loyola Sports Law Institute at Loyola Law School
Jeffrey Standen, Professor, Willamette University 
Professor Ed Larson, Professor of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law
Matt Mitten, Professor of Law and Director, National Sports Law Institute, Marquette University Law School 
Rod Smith, Director of Sports Law & Professor of Law, Thomas Jefferson School of Law 
Brian Halloran, NCAA Perspective 
Andrew Brandt, NFL Business Analyst, ESPN; Columnist for ESPN.com; Director, Moorad Center for Sports Law at Villanova Law School; and Co-Founder, The National Football Post 
Brian Marler, Director, Houlihan Lokey 
Babette E. Boliek, Associate Professor of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law 
Mark Fainaru-Wada, Reporter, ESPN Investigations/Enterprise Unit 
Deanell Reece Tacha, Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean and Professor of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law 
Margot Parmenter, Editor-in-Chief, Pepperdine Law Review

Email Michael Wood at mcwood@pepperdine.edu or call Pepperdine Law at (310) 506-4653 if you have any questions.  For more information, please visit our website: law.pepperdine.edu/SportsLawSymposium

Pepperdine Law Review
A scholarly law journal published by second- and third year law students at the Pepperdine University School of Law, the Pepperdine Law Review was founded in 1972. In its 40 years of existence, the law review has been a resource for practitioners, law professors, and judges alike and has been cited several times by the U.S. Supreme Court. Written contributions to the symposium will be published in Volume 41. For more information about the Pepperdine Law Review, please visit our website: pepperdinelawreview.com

Thanks,

Michael Wood
Symposium Editor, Pepperdine Law Review
mcwood@pepperdine.edu

 
Consumers and NCAA-licensed products: new findings

New empirical findings by Anastasios Kaburakis and his research team on how consumers perceive NCAA licensed products in relation to athletes featured in them. Key finding: consumers associate video game representations with actual NCAA players & a good number of consumers mistakenly believe that players endorse (and are perhaps paid to be in) these games. These findings clearly connect to O'Bannon v. NCAA and more broadly to evolving conceptions of amateurism in college sports.

Friday, March 22, 2013
 
Legality of NFL teams asking College Players about their Sexual Orientation

Can NFL teams legally ask college players about their sexual orientation? They clearly shouldn't, but legally it's a complicated issue involving states' anti-discrimination laws and federal labor law, as I write about in this week's issue of Sports Illustrated (March 25, 2013 issue). My article is titled "Loaded Question" and it's on page 16. Special thanks to the smartest lawyer around, Alan Milstein, for his insights.

Here's a brief excerpt:

But in Washington, D.C., where the NFLPA is based, and in 21 states, including those that are home to 13 NFL teams, it is unlawful for private employers to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. When local laws are taken into account, as many as 25 teams could be barred from asking prospective employees about sexual orientation. 

The jurisdiction with one of the toughest laws against such bias is New York, where the NFL is headquartered. The CBA, which amends the standard NFL player contract, stipulates that New York state law applies when federal law does not. In other words, a prospect who sued the league for discrimination could make a reasonable case.

Hope you have a chance to read the rest in this week's issue.

Monday, March 18, 2013
 
From Tweeting to Meeting Lance Armstrong

I was a guest on NPR's All Things Considered this past weekend to talk about my interview with Lance Armstrong at his home in Austin, Texas.  I'll have more to write about it later this spring.

Thursday, March 14, 2013
 
Pepperdine Law Review Symposium: The New Normal in College Sports: Realigned and Reckoning Friday April 5


I can't wait to fly to Malibu for this (and great work by Pepperdine Law Professor Maureen Weston in putting this together and Pepperdine Law Review symposium editor Michael Wood for all of his excellent work)


Description:
The Pepperdine Law Review is pleased to invite you to a symposium discussing the status of big-time college sports and legal issues facing college athletics today. The symposium will consist of four panel discussions with leading academics, university leaders, and practitioners in a variety of areas, including: a conversation with institutional leaders of major intercollegiate athletic programs; a consideration of the possibility of an antitrust exemption for the NCAA; the impact of conference realignment, digital media, broadcasting, and commercialization; and other emerging hot topics in college sports.

This symposium has been approved for Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) credit by the State Bar of California. Pepperdine University School of Law certifies that this activity conforms to the standards for approved education activities prescribed by the rules and regulations of the State Bar of California governing minimum continuing legal education.If you have any questions, please contact us by phone at (310) 506-4653.

Register by Friday, March 29, 2013!

Symposium Speakers & Brochure / Mail RegistrationClick here to view all of the symposium speakers or to register by mail.
Online Registration: Click here to register online.
Additional Information: Click here for additional information.

Friday, April 5, 2013
7:45-8:30am Check-In & Continental Breakfast
8:30-8:45am
Introductions and Welcome:
Margot Parmenter, Editor-in-Chief, Law Review
Deanell Tacha, Dean, Pepperdine University School of Law
8:45-10:45am
Panel One: Institutional Control: A View From the Top

Moderator: Roger Cossack, ESPN Legal Analyst & Pepperdine University School of Law Distinguished Visiting Professor
 Panelists:
Ken Starr, President, Baylor University
Britt Banowsky, Commissioner, Conference USA
Steve Potts, Athletic Director, Pepperdine University
Dave Roberts, Vice President for Compliance, USC
 10:45-11:00am Morning Coffee Break
11:00-12:30pm
Panel Two: NCAA, Legal Exemptions, and Liability

 Moderator: Maureen Weston, Professor of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law
 Panelists:
Daniel E. Lazaroff, Professor of Law and Director, Loyola Sports Law Institute at Loyola Law School
Gabe Feldman, Associate Professor, Tulane Law School; Director, Tulane Sports Law Program; and Associate Provost for NCAA Compliance
Jeffrey Standen, Professor, Willamette University
Michael McCann, Professor of Law and Director of the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute, University of New Hampshire School of Law; Legal Analyst and Writer, Sports Illustrated
12:30-1:45pm

Luncheon in Cafeteria
Address by Jeff Moorad, Founder, Moorad Sports Management
1:45-3:15pm
Panel Three: NCAA: Enforcement, Sanctions, and Relationship with Universities

Moderator: Professor Ed Larson
 Panelists:
Matt Mitten, Professor of Law and Director, National Sports Law Institute, Marquette University Law School
Rod Smith, Director of Sports Law & Professor of Law, Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Brian Halloran, NCAA Perspective
Britt Banowsky, Commissioner, Conference USA
3:15-3:30pm Afternoon Coffee & Cookie Break
3:30-5:00pm
Panel Four: The Money: Broadcasting, Digital Media & What Drives the Machine

Moderator: Roger Cossack, ESPN Legal Analyst & Pepperdine University School of Law Distinguished Visiting Professor
 Panelists:
Andrew Brandt, NFL Business Analyst, ESPN; Columnist for ESPN.com; Director, Moorad Center for Sports Law at Villanova Law School; and Co-Founder, The National Football Post 
Brian Marler, Director, Houlihan Lokey
Babette E. Boliek, Associate Professor of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law
Mark Fainaru-Wada, Reporter, ESPN Investigations/Enterprise Unit
5:00pm Concluding Remarks
Maureen Weston & Margot Parmenter 

 
Loyola Los Angeles Law School Sports Law Sympsium Saturday April 6

Looks like an excellent event:

SYMPOSIUM: CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS IN PLAYER HEALTH AND SAFETY
LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL, LOS ANGELES
ROBINSON COURTROOM
SATURDAY, APRIL 6, 2013
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

MODERATOR: Daniel E. Lazaroff, Cohen Chair in Law and Economics and Director, Loyola Sports Law Institute

CHECK-IN – 8:30 – 9:00 AM

PANEL: DRUGS, DOPING AND DRUG TESTING – 9:00 – 11:00 AM
Adolpho A. Birch III, Senior Vice President of Law & Labor Policy, National Football League
Anthony Butch, Ph.D., Director, UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory and Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Matthew Fedoruk, Ph.D., Science Director, United States Anti-Doping Agency
Onye Ikwuakor, Legal Affairs Director, United States Anti-Doping Agency
Maidie E. Oliveau, Counsel, Arent Fox LLP and Arbitrator, Court of Arbitration for Sport

BREAK: 11:00 -11:15

PANEL: CONCUSSIONS AND HEAD TRAUMA – 11:15 – 1:15
Modesto (“Doc”) Diaz, Managing Partner, Leviton Diaz and Ginocchio, Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Thomas V. Girardi, Founding Partner, Girardi/Keese and Member, Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame
Joseph M. Miller, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Former Chair, Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board
Tony L. Strickland, M.S., Ph.D., FNAN, FACPN, Chairman & CEO, Sports Concussion Institute and Associate Clinical Professor of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

LUNCH: 1:30 – 3:00
Speaker: Ryan Nece, B.A., former UCLA and National Football League linebacker and Pac-12 Network analyst

Wednesday, March 13, 2013
 
Harvard Law School Sports Law Symposium on Thursday, March 28 2013


This event is open to the public and free.  To register, click here.


The Harvard Committee on Sports and Entertainment Law, in conjunction with Harvard's Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law and Harvard's Association for Law and Business, presents:
2013 HLS Sports Law Symposium:
The Evolution of the Fan
Thursday, March 28, 2013 at Harvard Law School, Milstein West in Wasserstein Hall

The 2013 Sports Symposium will focus on evolving consumer experiences in the sports marketplace.  Panels composed of executives from teams, leagues, and sports media outlets as well as law partners with prominent sports practices will address the business and legal challenges faced by the industry in each of three media contexts: the Stadium Experience, the Television Experience, and the Internet Experience. Ken Hershman, President of HBO Sports, will present a keynote address on cutting edge efforts to meet the demands of the modern sports fan.

Event Schedule
 11:45am - 12:00pm

Opening Remarks
&
Lunch
  • CSEL Board
  • Professor Peter Carfagna, Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School

12:00
The Stadium Experience
  • Marc Edelman:  Associate Professor of Law, Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law; Fordham Univeristy (Moderator)
  • Len Komoroski: CEO, Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Jim Holzman: Founder & CEO, Ace Ticket Worldwide, Inc.*
  • Jeff Miller: VP & Chief Security Officer, NFL
  • Jon Oram: Partner, Proskauer Rose LLP - Sports Law Group
1:15
The Television Experience
  • Michael McCann: Director of Sports and Entertainment Law Institute & Professor of Law, University of New Hampshire School of Law; Legal Analyst & Writer, Sports Illustrated & SI.com (Moderator)
  • Ed Durso: EVP of Administration, ESPN
  • Brett Goodman: Senior Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs for NBC Sports Group
  • Tom Ward: Partner, WilmerHale
  • Ed Weiss: GC, Fenway Sports Group; NESN
2:30
Keynote Address: Ken Hershman

Ken Hershman, President of HBO Sports, will present a keynote address on cutting edge efforts to meet the demands of the modern sports fan.

3:30

The Internet Experience
  • Patrick Rishe: Director, Sportsimpacts; Associate Professor of Economics, George Herbert Walker School of Business, Webster University; Contributor, Forbes Magazine (Moderator)*
  • Mary K. Braza: Partner, Foley & Lardner - Sports Industry Team
  • Anthony D'Imperio: EVP, IMG
  • Lauren Fisher: GC, Vox Media/SBNation
  • Lucia McKelvey: EVP, Top Rank, Inc.
  • Scott Doyne: VP, Turner/NBA Digital

5:00
Networking Reception

Drinks, hors d'oeuvres, and dessert will be served

*Awaiting Confirmation


CSEL would like to thank Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP (www.milbank.com) for providing generous funding for this symposium.
For more information, please email csel@law.harvard.edu

Tuesday, March 12, 2013
 
NINE Spring Training Conference

Later this week I'm off to Tempe for the 20th Annual NINE Spring Training Conference on the Historical and Sociological Impact of Baseball, sponsored by NINE: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture. I will be presenting The Economics of the Infield Fly Rule on a panel moderated by our own Ed Edmonds. And are some interesting-sounding papers covering economics, history, sociology, culture, and art as it relates to baseball.

I participated in this conference about eight years ago, when I first was writing about fan expression. It is always fun to engage with some non-legal academics (although this year there are at least a few other law-school types). Better still, there is a reason the conference is in Arizona--two afternoons are dedicated to "field research" at spring training games.

Monday, March 11, 2013
 
Seton Hall Law Panel: The Fight for Fair Treatment in Mixed Martial Arts

The Fight for Fair Treatment in Mixed Martial Arts

SPEAKERS:

Timothy D. Cedrone, Esq.
Paul Haberman, Esq.
David N. Weinraub, Esq.
Justin E. Klein, Esq.
Andy Main, Professional Fighter and Trainer

LOCATION: Seton Hall University School of Law Newark, NJ

DATE: Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 6:00 PM

MEMBER FEE: $15(Includes CLE Credits and Dinner)

No Fee Includes Dinner, & Program, No Cle Credits

LAW STUDENTS: No Fee Includes Dinner and Program No CLE credits

CLE Credits: NJ G: 1.2;  NY P T&N/T: 1.0; PA S: 1.0 ($4.00 check made payable to NJICLE)

DESCRIPTION: There are currently two areas of heated discussion in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts: the fair treatment of fighters and First Amendment protection for the exhibition of sporting events. The topic of fair treatment focuses on the relationship between labor law and how fighters are treated in their working environment. Another area of concern is First Amendment issues in regards to hosting Mixed Martial Arts contests, particularly in New York.

Saturday, March 09, 2013
 
Sports Law Blogger Mark Conrad Chosen to Direct New Sports Business Program at Fordham

Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business announced the creation of a new undergraduate program focusing on the sports business. Called the Sports Business Specialization, the program will provide students first-hand knowledge of the business of professional and amateur sports. As part of the business program, all students are required to take foundation courses in accounting, finance, marketing, management and communications before they are eligible to take the sports-specific business classes. Students will also be required to complete an independent studies component, which will include an internship.

I was honored to be chosen to direct that program by Donna Rapaccioli, the dean of the Gabelli School of Business. The program will also offer the opportunity for guest speakers to come to campus or to speak to students via Skype. Speakers from the NBA and Major League Baseball have addressed our students. The state-of-the-art facilities at the Gabelli School of Business will also allow out-of-town speakers to address students and faculty via Skype or other online video service. Symposia will also be planned.  If anyone is interested in coming to the Bronx campus to speak about legal issues involving social media in sports, please drop me a message at Conrad@fordham.edu.

For more information on the specialization, please visit:



Friday, March 08, 2013
 
Will Florida Atlantic Football Partner With the Immoral Private Prison Industry?

The GEO Group, one of two nationally prominent private prison corporations in America has just signed an agreement with Florida Atlantic University to "name" the football stadium at FAU.  Understandably, this has caused an uproar from many on the faculty and in the student body at Florida Atlantic.  "The GEO Group Stadium" at Florida Atlantic University immediately conjures up images of the now retired "Enron Stadium" where the Houston Astros used to take the field, except that The GEO Group is undoubtedly more sinister and harmful to United States citizens than Enron ever was (a fact absolutely lost on FAU President Mary Jane Saunders until student and faculty protests erupted).

The GEO Group is a private prison company.  As I have written about extensively, private prison corporations essentially collect taxpayer funds from federal and state governments (a "per diem" or per bed fee) in order to house prisoners on behalf of these governments and do so with an immoral profit maximization motivation. Private prison companies profit on human misery.  Shareholders of  GEO Group stock expect the board of directors and executives to return handsome profits from imprisoning United States citizens (and increasingly illegal aliens).  The perversity in this arrangement, of course, is that in order to increase profits for shareholders, private prison companies, including the Corrections Corporation of America (the other prominent U.S. private prison company), seek to aggressively imprison more Americans by lobbying legislatures to increase sentencing laws, divine new laws/ways to imprison individuals, and even engage in drafting model legislation like SB 1070 (Arizona's "show me your papers" law) and three-strikes laws.  In "All Eyez on Me: America's War on Drugs and the Prison Industrial Complex," I describe the perverse incentives that motivate the private prison industry by examining the immorality attendant in leadership of private prison companies debating successful ways to increase profit by incarcerating more United States' citizens.

Private prison companies have flourished in recent years based upon the increasingly dubious claim that they provide prison services for less cost than do governmental agencies.  While numerous studies dispute this assertion, the bottom line economic transfer is that taxpayer funds are being funneled to private prison companies (and its executives and shareholders) without those companies providing any genuine public good or manufacture of product.  Indeed, recent reports indicate that private prison companies engage in gross human rights and constitutional violations, more egregious than government run prisons.

And now, FAU has signed an agreement to partner with The GEO Group allowing GEO to prominently appear on the facade of its' football stadium and increase its corporate branding.  FAU's President appears to have not engaged in any due diligence when signing the naming right, relying singularly upon the fact that the GEO Group Chair is a proud alumnus of FAU.  This is particularly egregious in Florida, where private prisons have attempted to seize on opportunities to stealthily motivate state legislators to sanction massive expansion of the private prison industry.  Students recently orchestrated a "sit-in" where President Saunders was forced to speak to the group, though she claims the naming agreement is a "done deal."  Whether students protests will lead to a repudiation of the agreement remains to be seen.  Sans repudiation, Florida Atlantic University may go down as one of the first American Universities to openly celebrate the incredibly perverse and immoral private prison industry and lobby.


(hat tip to Dave Zirin at The Nation)
cross posted on the Corporate Justice Blog

Thursday, March 07, 2013
 
Idaho Rejects the "Baseball Rule"

In an under-the-radar opinion issued last month, the Idaho Supreme Court allowed a fan injured by a foul ball at a minor league baseball game to proceed with a negligence suit against the franchise.  Specifically, the court refused to adopt what it called the "Baseball Rule," in which most courts have held that baseball teams are generally not legally liable to fans for injuries caused by foul balls hit into the stands, so long as they have provided protective netting for the most dangerous seats in the stadium (i.e., those immediately behind and around home plate).  Click here for Sports Law Blog's prior coverage of this topic.

The court's opinion - available here - indicates that the plaintiff, Bud Rountree, was hit by a ball while standing in the Class-A Boise Hawks' "Executive Club," apparently the only area in the stadium that is not covered by protective netting (Rountree ended up losing an eye as a result of the injury).  In light of the area of the stadium in which the injury occurred, along with the fact that the team went to greater than normal lengths to protect most of the stadium from foul balls (pictured), Rountree's case may be stronger case than that of the typical fan hit by a foul ball in unprotected seating.  Indeed, his attorneys apparently argued to the Idaho Supreme Court that while the so-called "Baseball Rule" may be justified in normal bleacher settings, it was not appropriate for multi-purpose areas of the ballpark (such as in-stadium, sit-down restaurant seating). 

Whether the opinion will have a broader impact on baseball teams outside of Idaho remains to be seen, but given the number of jurisdictions that have adopted the majority rule it is unlikely that this latest decision will have a significant impact nationwide.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013
 
Lance Armstrong & Michael McCann (No, really)

Our own Michael McCann goes one-on-one with Lance Armstrong in Austin, Texas for CNNSI!  As Mike tells the story:

"A few weeks ago, I discovered I had a new Twitter follower: Lance Armstrong. I thought it was a little odd because I don't cover cycling and the times I've written about Armstrong's legal issues I've often sharply criticized him. Nonetheless, I was intrigued. Soon we began corresponding privately and last week Armstrong invited me to his house in Austin for an interview."

To read today's teaser from CNNSI you can go here.  For the entire, groundbreaking story, you'll need to go purchase this week's Sports Illustrated.  Have no fear, you can purchase a digital version here.

Congratulations Mike on a tremendous job--both in getting Lance's attention and becoming a relevant contributor to the development of this international strory.  While Mike won't display any braggadocio, allow me to do so.  Huzzah Mike!  [Now if he had interviewed Lance for The Sports Law Blog we might get a few more followers.....]

Monday, March 04, 2013
 
DePaul Sports Law Symposium: Fri. March 8


DEPAUL JOURNAL OF SPORTS LAW & CONTEMPORARY PROBLEMS 2013 SYMPOSIUM

HURDLES:
 
LEGAL ISSUES A MODERN ATHLETE MUST OVERCOME

Friday, March 8, 2012
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
DePaul University,
DePaul Center Room 8005, 1 E. Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60604

Panel I: Physical Issues Athletes Must Overcome
10:05 - 10:50 AM
Moderated by Professor Michael S. Jacobs (DePaul College of Law)
1. Darren Heitner, Professor of Sport Agency Management at Indiana University Bloomington
   * Discussing the helmet manufacturer component of NFL concussion litigation
2. Scott Andresen, Partner, Andresen & Associates, P.C.
  * Discussing brain injuries and psychological damages resulting from participation in contact sports

Panel II: Moral Issues that Athletes Must Overcome
10:55 – 11:40 AM
Moderated by Professor Michael S. Jacobs (DePaul College of Law)
3. Chris Deubert, Associate Attorney, Peter R. Ginsberg Law, LLC
*Discussing arbitration strategies used as counsel for Johnathan Vilma during Bountygate Scandal
4. Robert Raiola, CPA, Sports and Entertainment Group Manager
   *Discussing contractual payment provisions and responsible investing for athletes such as RGIII

Panel III: Bureaucratic Issues Athletes Must Overcome
12:00-1:00 PM
Moderated by Professor Wayne Lewis (DePaul College of Law)
5. Prof. Marc Edelman, Professor of Law, Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law
   * Discussing anti-trust issues and the NCAA, focusing on pay-for-play and age requirements
6. Cari A. Stern, Associate Attorney, Chapman & Cutler LLP
   * Discussing Title IX issues schools face with respect to participation, eligibility, and sexual harassment


DePaul Law Students: FREE
General Admission (including CLE credit for lawyers): $60
DePaul Law Alumni: $30
Other DePaul (non-law school) Students, Faculty, & Staff: $15
Other Law Students (non-DePaul): $20

 
Regulating MMA

This op-ed appeared on Fightland, a blog devoted to MMA; the author is the newly appointed commissioner/executive director of the fledgling state commission to regulate combat sports in Wyoming. One interesting point in the piece is how state regulation is necessary not so much for high-level competition (the author is not necessarily expecting UFC to come to Wyoming anytime soon), but for low-level amateur competitions among weekend athletes.

Saturday, March 02, 2013
 
An Open Letter to College Athletes

Dear College Athletes:

You are obviously well aware of NCAA rules that prohibit you from advertising, recommending, promoting or endorsing the sale of commercial products and services.

Five years ago when Tim Tebow won the Heisman Trophy, I wrote him a letter on Sports Law Blog suggesting that he might consider suing third parties who profit from the use of his identity in commercial products without his permission.   By filing a lawsuit an athlete is not accepting payment for advertising, recommending, promoting or endorsing the sale of a product; rather the athlete would be protecting the property right in his identity from theft, which he has every legal right to do.

You may have heard that Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel just recently filed a trademark lawsuit against someone for selling "Johnny Football" T-shirts without his permission.  As this is the first athlete with college eligibility to file a lawsuit asserting a trademark or right of publicity violation, the NCAA had no choice but to rule that Manziel can keep any money received from the litigation without it affecting his eligibility.

But the NCAA also clarified that any "loophole" created by Manziel's lawsuit is "closed" because they would consider it an NCAA violation if a lawsuit was an "orchestrated event" between the athlete and a booster to intentionally violate amateurism rules.

Putting aside the NCAA's conspiracy theory paranoia, here is the more likely scenario:

(1) Third party uses your identity in a product;

(2) Third party receives a cease and desist letter from your university which states that third party is violating NCAA amateurism rules and has no right to use your identity; and

(3) Third party throws the letter in the trash because (a) it is not bound by NCAA rules, (b) it is not using the university's intellectual property, (c) the university has no legal claim against it, and (d) it might even be willing to pay you a licensing fee absent your university's interference with its ability to obtain a license from you.

You see, Manziel's lawsuit exposes a dilemma that has always confronted the NCAA but which is no longer one of its best kept secrets.

The dilemma is that although the NCAA can prevent you from licensing (i.e. authorizing) the use of your identity to third parties for commercial purposes, it cannot and never could legally prevent you from receiving damages in a court of law through the enforcement of your legal rights against third parties who use your identity without your permission.  And you don't need to have a trademark because there are right of publicity laws in most states that protect you.

Manziel's lawsuit also exposes the fact that neither the NCAA nor your university has the legal right or authority to prevent, or interfere with, a non-member third party's use of your identity because that property right is yours and it is your property right that is being stolen.  Keep in mind that as your identity increasingly becomes more valuable for use in commercial products, third parties likewise become more willing to bear the cost of the licensing fee awarded to you in your lawsuit against them.

Manziel's lawsuit puts a spotlight on an NCAA rule that, unfortunately, not only interferes with a non-member's ability to enter a legal transaction with you but also burdens you with unnecessary and circuitous litigation that requires you to share one-third of the award with your lawyer.

Sincerely,

Rick Karcher
Sports Law Professor