Category Archives: See You In Court

Thursday morning buffet

Around the horn in college football:

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Filed under College Football, Georgia Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, Recruiting, SEC Football, See You In Court, Strategery And Mechanics, The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA

The NCAA goes all in.

Given its track record in antitrust legislation, you’d think the NCAA might go a little slow on its Alston appeal, but, nah.

The NCAA on Monday said it will ask the Supreme Court to take up a case in which a district judge and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals have ruled that the NCAA cannot have association-wide limits on education-related benefits that college athletes can receive.

The NCAA, along with its 11 major-conference co-defendants, made the disclosure in a filing that asks the 9th Circuit to stay an injunction issued in March 2019 by U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken. Wilken’s injunction is set to take effect soon after the 9th Circuit formally mandates that it go forward, a step that is scheduled Wednesday.

While Monday’s filing is not the NCAA’s formal petition to the high court — that will not be due until Oct. 15 — it provides the contours of the association’s arguments for why the justices should hear the case and overturn the decisions made so far. The NCAA contends that the 9th Circuit’s decision conflicts with decisions of the Supreme Court and other federal appellate courts and deals with “an important question of law.”

My favorite part of the reasoning advanced for the decision is this:

With regard to conflicts with prior Supreme Court rulings, the NCAA mainly points to the high court’s decision in NCAA v. Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma, a case relating to control of football television rights that the high court decided in 1984.  The NCAA lost that case, but…

“The NCAA lost that case, but…” will make the perfect epitaph for the Mark Emmert era.

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Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

“They could call it a pledge, they could call it a waiver, they could call it a release, they could call it a cantaloupe.”

The first lawsuit where a school raises one of these cantaloupes as a bar to a damages claim arising out of COVID-19 is gonna be interesting.

And, yes, I probably misspelled “ugly” at the end of that sentence.

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Filed under College Football, See You In Court

Working from the Jeff Long playbook

I don’t understand why, given how badly the Beaty buyout kerfuffle turned out, but South Florida’s athletic brain trust seems bound and determined to give the same approach a whirl.

South Florida is interviewing former assistant coaches to see if former Bulls head coach Charlie Strong knowingly permitted any analysts or quality control personnel to conduct impermissible hands-on coaching, multiple sources told FootballScoop.

Sources said NCAA representatives joined USF compliance staffers in the interviews with former Bulls coaches.

The sources felt South Florida is engaging in an after-the-fact attempt to get out from under Strong’s contractually-obligated buyout in order to help with a coronavirus-induced budget crunch.

Strong was fired without cause in December after posting a 4-8 record in the 2019 season. He has since taken a defensive analyst position at Alabama.

The sources said South Florida has spoken with former assistants on both sides of the ball in an attempt to acquire damning testimony against the Bulls’ former head coach…

As with all coaching contracts, the terms of Strong’s deal gave USF the ability to terminate his contract “for cause” in the event of any NCAA violations…

Opening yourself up to an NCAA investigation to get rid of a buyout seems like a really stupid self-own, but, hey, an AD’s gotta do what an AD’s gotta do.

Oh, yeah.  There’s a punchline — with these guys, there’s always a punchline.

What is peculiar is that multiple sources said South Florida AD Michael Kelly and USF compliance staffers regularly attended multiple practices per week, meaning any possible violations would have been clearly visible to all at the time.

That’s gonna be an awfully narrow needle hole to thread, my dudes.  Knock yourselves out.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, See You In Court, The NCAA

They just keep coming.

Another day, another antitrust suit against the NCAA.

Attorneys acting on behalf of two current college athletes on Monday filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA and the Power Five conferences that could substantially increase the tension — and financial stakes — connected to athletes’ ability to make money off their name, image and likeness.

The suit, which seeks to be a class action, not only asks that the NCAA be prevented from having association-wide rules that “restrict the amount of name, image, and likeness compensation available” to athletes but also seeks unspecified damages based on the share of television-rights money and the social media earnings it claims athletes would have received if the NCAA’s current limits on NIL compensation had not existed.

This has the potential to put, conservatively, hundreds of millions of dollars at stake. As allowed under federal antitrust law, the suit seeks to cover athletes who played in any of the past four years and carry forward through the date of a final judgment. In addition, if a jury decides to award damages to an antitrust plaintiff, the amount is tripled.

Specifically, the suit claims that football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball players at schools in the Power Five conferences are entitled to damages related to the use of their NIL’s during telecasts of games and that athletes in any sport at a Power Five school are entitled to damages related to social media earnings.

It’s filed by Steve Berman, who’s filed other such cases, and it’s filed in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California’s Oakland Division.  If that venue rings a bell, it’s only because it should.

This is the same venue through which several other antitrust suits against the NCAA related to college-athlete compensation have proceeded over the past 10-plus years. In the two cases that have gone to trial there before Judge Claudia Wilken, the NCAA has been found in violation of antitrust law.

Looking forward to a quick resolution of this… eh, who am I kidding?  This should generate months of denial, embarrassing disclosures during discovery and even more strained pleas for Congress to give the NCAA that antitrust exemption it’s jonesing for.  The NCAA’s greatest hits, in other words.

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Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

In today’s episode, Bret Bielema is represented by Tom Mars.

Jeff Long’s current employer:  Hey, let’s get into a futile legal fight over a $3 million buyout with a football coach we canned that wound up costing us more money than just paying the buyout would have and forced us to show our ass in discovery.  Nobody else is that stupid!

Jeff Long’s former employer:  Hold our beer.

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Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Bert... uh... Bret Bielema, See You In Court

America’s sharpest athletic director

A little over a year ago, I wrote this about Jeff Long’s struggle to weasel out of a $3 million buyout of David Beaty’s contract after Long sacked him:

You can stop chuckling now.  What’s impressive here, as you may have noticed, is that Beaty’s suit has caused the school to admit to possible NCAA violations, which should make for a lot of fun in discovery.  Not that this is going to get anywhere near the point of Jeff Long sitting for questions under oath.  Either the NCAA comes up with something relatively quickly, or Kansas settles, probably for an amount north of the buy out.  (Beaty’s lawyers aren’t gonna pay themselves, after all.)

And here we are.

Former Kansas football coach David Beaty and KU Athletics have reached a settlement for $2.55 million that effectively ends Beaty’s lawsuit against the athletic department, KU announced in a release on Friday.

The agreement comes 15 months after Beaty first filed his lawsuit, where he alleged that KU Athletics sought to concoct a reason to fire him for cause to avoid a $3 million payout…

Though KU settled for less than Beaty’s original $3 million buyout in his contract, the department likely did not come out ahead financially. In a Jan. 31 memo that was later unsealed, KU blamed Beaty for violations that “resulted in several hundred thousand in legal fees for Kansas Athletics.” This accusation came four months before the case settled Friday, meaning KU’s lawyer fees were likely to have exceeded the half-million mark on Beaty’s lawsuit alone…

Big picture, though, this appears to be a sound move for KU Athletics in regards to risk management. Beaty’s legal team was still going through discovery, and had already sent out a subpoena to former Adidas representative T.J. Gassnola. That could have been disastrous for KU’s looming NCAA case, as anything said in Gassnola’s deposition could have been used against KU, with that new information also coming out late in the process.

A Kansas judge also had approved an order for Beaty’s lawyers to receive practice footage from Les Miles’ first year as coach, along with un-aired footage from KU’s “Miles to Go” documentary that was broadcast on ESPN+ each week.

So, to recap:  Long, in trashing Beaty, opens his athletic department up to NCAA inquiry, and, in the end, pays out more than was owed his fired coach when you include legal expenses and hands it over in one lump sum instead of the six installments originally agreed to in Beaty’s contract.

I know the bar is fairly low at Kansas — I mean, this is the place that gave Charlie Weis another big contract after everyone else in the country had figured out he was a fraud as a head coach — but Long is working hard not to clear it.  The surprise, though, isn’t how this turned out, or even that Long won’t face any consequences for this botch job.  It’s that there are people in the industry who still think he’s credible.

It’s good to be an AD.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, General Idiocy, See You In Court

Getting clucked

Hey, wait… there’s no reason to prosecute these guys because nobody’s making us buy chicken!

Did I do that right, amateurism romantics?

(h/t)

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Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

‘This really doesn’t make sense to me.’

Shorter North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham:  The NCAA has spent millions futilely fighting college athletes’ antitrust litigation, so the smart move now is to spend even more money suing states over NIL legislation.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, See You In Court, The NCAA

“You don’t expect a coward to come out and take responsibility.”

So, what’s the NCAA up to today?

Olympic high jumper Erin Aldrich was not surprised when she read the NCAA’s latest response to the lawsuit she and two other track and field athletes filed against the organization.

Frustrated, yes, but not surprised.

The NCAA, facing a potential landmark class action lawsuit, said it has no legal obligation to protect student athletes against sexual abuse and harassment, according to a filing in U.S. District Court Northern District of California.

I mean, say what you want about the tenets of amateurism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.

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Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA