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Monday, August 03, 2009
Marist University v. Matt Brady: The Legality of Non-Recruit Clauses

Over on Sienna Saints Blog, Ryan Restivo has been closely covering a lawsuit recently brought by Marist University against its former men's basektball coach, Matt Brady. Marist claims that Brady violated a contractual obligation to refrain from recruiting Sienna recruits if he were to leave Marist (which he did -- he's now coaching at James Madison University). Gabe was recently interviewed about this dispute, and Ryan interviews me for my thoughts. Here's an excerpt:

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Sienna Saints Blog: So what claims can Marist bring against Brady?

Prof. McCann: At this point, the only legal claim Marist would have is the potential breach of contract claim against Matt Brady over the clause which allegedly prevented him from recruiting players. If litigated, the claim would be examined under New York contract law. Depending on how the clause is worded, however, it may be very difficult to enforce. For instance, how does the contract define “recruiting” — does that mean any communication or does that mean certain kinds of communication? Does it mean a formal offer to play at another school? Does it mean putting a potential recruit in touch with an admissions office? If the phrase is too vague, a court would be unlikely to enforce it, particularly if the court is unable to find any other case on-point (and I’m unaware of such a coaching clause being litigated before).

A court might also void the clause on grounds of public policy, particularly since it would seem to interfere with educational opportunities for student-athletes who, because of the clause, might not be recruited by Brady’s new employer, James Madison University.

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To read the rest, click here.


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