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Friday, May 02, 2008
Judge Rules in Favor of NCAA in Alabama Football Booster's Defamation Lawsuit

In my post last November, "Alabama Jury Gets Revenge Against NCAA," I discussed a jury's $5 million award in favor of former Alabama football booster Ray Keller on his defamation claim against the NCAA alleging that the NCAA slandered and libeled him during the announcement of penalties against the Crimson Tide by referring to Keller and others as "rogue boosters," "parasites" and "pariahs." In November, I said: "This trial wasn't about defamation. It essentially amounted to a rehearing of the penalties imposed on the Alabama football program five years ago by the NCAA, but this time the case was heard by 12 Crimson Tide fans!"

This week, Circuit Judge William Gordon agreed, and threw out the verdict and granted the NCAA a new trial. According to Wednesday's press release:

Gordon said in a 13-page opinion that the multimillion-dollar verdict wasn't supported by evidence, and he ruled the award "is the result of passion or prejudice." He also sided with several other arguments by the NCAA, including a claim that jurors at the trial in Scottsboro heard improper instructions.

In my November post, I also discussed why I don't believe that the NCAA's alleged statement even rises to the level of defamation. Perhaps the fact that Judge Gordon sided with the NCAA on its argument that the jurors heard improper instructions indicates that he doesn't believe it either.


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