Two can play the lobby Congress game.

The NCAA is spending money in Washington, preparing for the day when it asks for an antitrust exemption.  The big argument you can expect it to make about why it needs the protection will be about the academic mission.

And that’s why this letter was written.

In a letter dated April 28 and released Thursday by attorney Michael Hausfeld’s office, two lawyers wrote that continued Congressional examination is needed due to “the apparent inconsistencies and divergences in positions taken by the NCAA” before the senate committee last July and in federal court. The letter from Hausfeld and attorney Bob Orr, who are suing North Carolina and the NCAA in relation to the academic scandal at North Carolina, was addressed to Sens. John Thume, Bill Nelson, Jerry Moran and Richard Blumenthal.

“In the course of the (July 2014 Senate) hearing, representatives of the NCAA, including its President, Dr. Mark Emmert, testified, in essence, that the mission and commitment of the NCAA was to provide and assure a meaningful education for these athletes,” Hausfeld and Orr wrote. “Subsequent events and information, however, have raised serious doubts about the accuracy of that representation.”

The letter released by Hausfeld, who is also the lead attorney in the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit, cited the NCAA’s recent court filing in the Rashanda McCants lawsuit that stated the association has no responsibility to ensure “the academic integrity of the courses offered” at schools. The Hausfeld letter also cited a legal statement by the NCAA that it has no role in “the quality of the education student-athletes received at member institutions or to protect student-athletes from the independent, voluntary acts of those institutions or their employees.”

The NCAA has a sincerity problem.  That’s the price you pay when you fight so many battles with conflicting priorities.

The exemption hearings should be a real hoot.



Filed under Academics? Academics., Political Wankery, The NCAA

17 responses to “Two can play the lobby Congress game.

  1. "Dog in DE

    You think the hearings will be a hoot?

    Political games-playing by Congress will be the real disaster.

    Politicians of all stripes will take advantage of the NCAA’s distress to cut deals favorable to their constituents.

    Boise State will get a guaranteed spot in the CFPs. The Utah Utes will get to join the Pac-12 (or, the Pac-25 by the time Congress gets through). Congressmen from Ohio and Michigan (with assistance of those from Oklahoma and West Virginia) will insist the SEC be broken up.

    Child welfare advocates will bar tackling-to-the-ground, women’s rights advocates extend Title IX to compel full and complete parity of universities’ women’s sports coaches’ salaries with that of the university’s head football coach, animal rights activists bar offensive team mascot names and logos, while the disabled insist the rules of football be made fully ADA-compliant.

    That’s how Congress will “rescue” the NCAA from its monopoly.


  2. Dog in Fla

    Emmert knows that now is the time for Oliver Luck to unleash the Student-Athlete™ offensive on the U.S. Senate


  3. Scorpio Jones, III

    It is really over, is it not, Bluto? All that’s left is to pick up whatever pieces are floating around and cling to them till we drown.

    Only in America could we fuck up something that has brought so much joy to so many for so long.

    Would it be churlish to suggest a mass grave for all the NCAA boneheads and their college administrator bosses? I can drive a dozer.


  4. Yes, I bet CRG can tell us a safe spot to bury them. 💰


  5. ASEF

    Since SACS is an appendage of the Department of Education, the letter essentially asks a bunch of Republican congressmen to fault the NCAA rather than a government entity that the Republicans have been aiming for since Reagan.

    Hausfeld is cunning and unscrupulous, but his strategic acumen seems lacking at times.


    • Hmm… is he unscrupulous on general on general principles because he’s a lawyer, or is there something specific you have in mind?


      • Mayor

        The mantra of America: “Every lawyer is an unscrupulous, bad guy except MY lawyer.” 🙂


      • ASEF

        I like lawyers. They get a bad rep from guys like Hausfeld and Cornwell. It’s a personal evaluation, not a professional generalization.


      • doofusdawg

        The same attorney that sued the ncaa for not paying student athletes is the same attorney that is suing unc because the free education his clients were given was bogus…perfect. Too many general principles to list… but the obvious one is that you can’t claim that scholarship athletes are employees in one file and then claim that those same employees were wronged in another action because they were not made to work while they were on the job… I am sure that Hausfeld is a huge democrat party donor and probably future ambassador to Iran.. It’s a shame he is doing this much damage to college football and it’s traditions… but we know that tradition is code name for something nefarious in today’s America. I still love your site and appreciate the articles and insights you offer… and I don’t hate lawyers… my daughter is one. I just wish that after yall make your money you could turn your intellect towards sustaining what you have profited from.


        • Too many general principles to list… but the obvious one is that you can’t claim that scholarship athletes are employees in one file and then claim that those same employees were wronged in another action because they were not made to work while they were on the job…

          What about the general principle that these kids are being exploited both as students and as athletes?

          I’d take your point about tradition more seriously had college football not let that horse out of the barn years ago.


          • doofusdawg

            I prefer to think that the kids are getting a tremendous opportunity rather than just being set up to be exploited. And surely things have changed over the years and mostly for the better… and yes there is still a ways to go as far as making things better… as with any organization. Some schools do it better than others and I think the one thing we can agree on is that UGA does it better than most.

            As far as the exploitation and methods of redress being employed today… mostly in the courts… we will never agree. Still think your site is the most interesting UGA and general college football site out there and I appreciate you letting me vent… I will try harder to keep it civil. Loved your story on Todd this morning… as well as when you throw in the occasional musical palate. One thing we do have in common is that I miss the music of the mid to late 70’s in and around Atlanta.


            • Don’t worry about your civility. You’re a lot nicer than some. 😉

              Here’s the thing I’m not sure some of you who are upset with me about this get: I respect your romanticism about CFB. I really used to share it. But the greed that has swallowed the sport over the last two decades has made that impossible for me today. And once you shed that, it’s hard to feel that the players are being treated fairly.


              • ASEF

                No, they’re not. But in our rush to topple an “unfair regime,” perspective has also been a real victim. Hausfeld is an example of that.

                The rhetoric of both sides of this legal battle can be truly absurd. But one side gets mocked and the other gets a free pass. We’re going to need that perspective when it comes times to put something in place of what we have now – and without it, I think we’re going to hate what comes next.

                I certainly have zero interest in trusting it to Hausfeld.


                • Hausfield is an attorney representing a client. I wouldn’t expect him to share a fan’s perspective.

                  As for your “both sides are absurd” argument, all I can go by is what was laid out in O’Bannon. And plenty of others besides me thought the scales of absurdity weighed far more heavily in the NCAA’s direction.

                  I don’t want to “trust” it to Hausfield, either. But when the NCAA abdicates the responsibility of negotiating in good faith to settle its differences, what exactly do you propose?


                • ASEF

                  Some discussion that doesn’t stay stuck in the either/or choice between Hausfeld and the NCAA? Blogs like yours could be highly influential in finding an alternative discourse.

                  Hausfeld isn’t representing a client. He is the client. O’Bannon and McCants are means to an end, and he is using them, no more and no less, than those two accuse UCLA and UNC of using them. It’s all perfectly legal, and the likeness issue was about as black and white as it gets. But, as you noted frequently, the likeness issue was a platform to shoot for a bigger prize.

                  Noble causes have been advanced by bad people. It happens. No big deal.

                  The “scholarship is worthless” thing really bothers me. As in, makes me furious. And then he tells McCants he can get him $300,000,000 if he just signs here and then follows a certain script in TV interviews. Seriously?

                  I understand that it’s a game from Hausfeld’s perspective, high stakes Monopoly. But I’m not going to like it just because his opponent turned into a Gollum with his Precious somewhere along the way.