Category Archives: See You In Court

First thing, let’s hire all the lawyers.

If you’re an attorney, the NCAA is kind of a dream client — awash with money, stubborn as hell, unwilling to compromise, etc.  The result?  Cha-ching!

In a separate response to questions from USA TODAY Sports, the NCAA said that its expenses for fiscal 2017 also included approximately $36 million for outside legal counsel. In 2016, according to the NCAA’s federal tax records, it had nearly $33.5 million in outside legal expenses.

From 2014 through 2017, the NCAA has totaled more than $108 million in outside legal fees. That amount does not include the $42.3 million in attorney’s fees and costs U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken awarded in March 2016 to lawyers representing the plaintiffs in the Ed O’Bannon antitrust case. The NCAA has appealed that decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard oral arguments on the matter three weeks ago.

$150 million… goodness.  That could fund a helluva lot of scholarships, methinks.

Of course that’s not how the NCAA thinks.  At least not with regard to how to spend savings.  But the savings themselves?  I’ve got to think even Emmert’s a little appalled about how much the organization is spending on legal assistance.  Maybe that would explain outsourcing enforcement work to a shop that doesn’t charge clients for its work.



Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

Mississippi (still) Burning

Shots fired.

Florida’s Dan Mullen and Scott Stricklin, both formerly of Mississippi State, NCAA investigator Mike Sheridan and the NCAA itself have been throw into the Rebel Rags legal saga.

Rebel Rags, the Oxford-based outlet store, filed a lawsuit against Mullen, Stricklin, Sheridan, the NCAA, Mississippi State’s Leo Lewis and Kobe Jones, and Lindsey Miller, Laremy Tunsil’s estranged stepfather, in Lafayette County Circuit Court on Tuesday.

Talk about your motley crew.

The complaint is centered on defamation, civil conspiracy and commercial disparagement. Those are the same allegations the original case, which was filed last June against Lewis, Jones and Miller, are based on. That stems from statements those three provided to the NCAA during its investigation into Ole Miss’ football program.

Rebel Rags alleges that Mullen, Stricklin, Sheridan and the NCAA were a part of an overarching conspiracy, which impacted the outlet store when it was named in the Notice of Allegations.

Well, it’s a theory.

As I like to say, America is a great country — anybody can sue anybody over anything.  Making it stick is a horse of an entirely different color, though.  Still… hey, can you pass that bag of popcorn over this way?


Filed under Freeze!, See You In Court

King Midas in reverse

Could there be any development somehow both more appropriate and more ironic to the federal criminal investigation of college basketball recruiting than this?

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday morning that an FBI agent involved in the case in an undercover capacity is under criminal investigation for misappropriating money for drinking, gambling and eating. Ultimately, the Journal reported, it could compromise the FBI agent’s ability to serve as a witness for the prosecution.

And the “No shit, Sherlock” Award today goes to this genius.

“This is a bad development for the prosecution,” said a person with direct knowledge of the case. “The general public and sports fans were promised a bill of goods by the prosecutors. It’s pretty clear early on in this case, they’re not the white knights they said they were.”

‘Ya think?

This is what happens when you try to give criminal enforcement cover for a corrupt organization.  It rubs off.  And since we’re talking about the NCAA here, surely there’s more to come.


Filed under Crime and Punishment, See You In Court, The NCAA

The football gods’ way of telling you that you have too much money.

The University of Texas has already spent more than half a million dollars defending a lawsuit that has “SETTLE!” written all over it in flaming red letters.

In my next life, I’d like to come back as a competent athletic director of a rich department.  The world would be my oyster.


Filed under See You In Court, Texas Is Just Better Than You Are.

But they meant well.

Wouldn’t this be one mother of a hoisted petard?

But the Redmond letter could complicate the NCAA’s investigatory efforts. For starters, Nassar’s victims who are already suing Michigan State and USA Gymnastics might seek to add the NCAA as a co-defendant. The victims could cite article 2.2 of the NCAA’s constitution—the same article that the NCAA has warned Michigan State about. The article makes clear that “intercollegiate athletics programs shall be conducted in a manner designed to protect and enhance the physical and educational well-being of student-athletes.” It would seem this language ought to bind the NCAA as much as it binds the schools the NCAA oversees. It certainly wouldn’t be a stretch for lawyers representing the victims to raise this type of argument.

If the NCAA becomes a co-defendant, it would be awkward, at a minimum, for the NCAA to investigate a fellow co-defendant, whose interests are not all aligned with the NCAA. Michigan State and the NCAA could seek to blame the other, along with USA Gymnastics, for any institutional liability for Nassar’s crimes. Under these circumstances, it’s hard to imagine how the NCAA could credibly conduct an investigation into Michigan State. A court might be asked to review such a topic.

Given the NCAA’s litigation track record, it would be an act of malpractice for anyone retained as plaintiff’s counsel not to consider in a serious way bringing the organization in as a defendant.  The Mark Emmert deposition alone would be worth it.


Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

They fought the law, and the law won.

So, there’s this.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards believes that multimillion- dollar college football coaching salaries are “obscene” and a cap to limit them should be in place.

Edwards, during a meeting with The Advocate editorial board last week, expressed his concern over escalating staff salaries that have “gotten out of control.” Louisiana’s flagship college football program, LSU, is one of the country’s leaders in football staff spending.

In addition to the 2017’s staff price tag of $9.4 million, the university is paying four staff members who are no longer employed at the school, including a remaining buyout of about $7 million to former coach Les Miles.

The money is generated by the athletic department through private funds, rather than state funds.

“I am concerned. I’m not as concerned as I would be if those were tax dollars being spent,” Edwards said. “I do think that there has to be some look nationally at some sort of salary caps for the organizations. This is an arms race, and it’s gotten out of control. Some of the salaries and buyouts are obscene, and they can create all sorts of problems.

It’s a notion that’s cited approvingly in this SB Nation piece.  There’s only one problem:  a salary cap imposed on coaches by the NCAA is an antitrust violation.  That’s not speculation on my part, either.  The NCAA has already lost once on that front.

A Federal jury in Kansas awarded more than $66 million yesterday to 1,900 assistant college coaches whose salaries were found to have been illegally restricted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The penalty, which included more than $22 million in back wages, penalties and legal fees that were tripled under Federal antitrust law, was by far the largest court assessment against the association, which regulates and administers major intercollegiate sports.

The verdict came after five years of often tortuous legal wrangling, in which the coaches contended that a blanket rule imposed by the N.C.A.A. in 1992 to restrict the salaries of certain assistant coaches to $12,000 for an academic year had stifled competition and deprived them of fair market wages.

Whether an individual conference could impose such a restraint legally is a different question, I suppose, given that conferences compete with each other.  Maybe Governor Edwards could push Greg Sankey into taking the lead on that.  I’m sure it’ll take off quickly.

Let’s face it, folks.  The reason coaching salaries continue to rocket skyward isn’t because of Jimmy Sexton.  It’s because we’re nuts about college football.  All of us.  Collectively.


Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness, See You In Court

Rose Bowl justice

I was emailed the court’s order in response to last week’s motion for a continuance.  If anything, for sheer enjoyment, the order surpasses it.


The judge isn’t a Georgia Tech fan, but let’s just say he’s handed plaintiff’s counsel extra motivation to root for a Georgia win.  (That second footnote is a killer.)


Filed under Georgia Football, See You In Court