Category Archives: See You In Court

Proof that amateurism makes people stupid

How can the people who run our nation’s universities sound this clueless?

His football program is installing new football lockers that cost an eye-popping $10,500 each, but Texas President Gregory L. Fenves “cannot comprehend” paying UT athletes.

That’s the main takeaway from an interview Fenves gave for a class-action antitrust lawsuit filed against the NCAA. The lawsuit seeks to challenge what schools can give to athletes playing football and men’s and women’s basketball.

The notes from the interview, first discovered by USA Today, were taken during an interview on Feb. 22 and attached to a legal filing. Fenves was one of five current or former university administrators interviewed by Kenneth Elzinga, an expert for the defense.

Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart and former Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke were also interviewed. A UT spokesman declined to comment on Wednesday.

Fenves told Elzinga that he “cannot comprehend how athletics could be a part of university life” if athletes were paid like professionals. The UT president related an anecdote of going to a men’s basketball game this season and watching freshman Jarrett Allen, although his name is mentioned specifically.

Allen, described in general terms, was a “a very good basketball player, but he also makes mistakes ‘like a freshman,’” according to Elzinga’s notes. If Allen was paid like a professional, fans may watch him make “stupid turnovers” and may choose not to come watch him play.

So, over the top lockers, lavish training facilities and all the other bells and whistles players receive that regular students never get a whiff of don’t cause any dismay in the general student population, but Johnny Football getting a check for his work or his likeness/endorsement — something any of them can do now, but the players can’t — is somehow a bridge too far?

Tough call between stupidity and outright denial right there.  Should make for a fun deposition, though.

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

You come at the king, you best not miss.

Omar might have told University of Florida vice president, general counsel and university secretary Jamie Keith it probably wasn’t the best idea to cultivate Huntley Johnson as an enemy.  At least not if you couldn’t finish the job.

The Gainesville Sun speculates that the battle between the two high-powered attorneys may have started over a complaint filed against Johnson’s client, UF football player Antonio Callaway.

According to an ESPN report, a woman who alleged that Callaway sexually assaulted her opted to file a complaint with the university rather than a police report about the incident.

Callaway was cleared last August after the alleged victim boycotted her Title IX hearing because a UF booster and student-athlete-turned-lawyer was overseeing the proceeding.

In January, the UF legal department hired Tallahassee attorney Mark Herron to investigate Johnson’s professional conduct. That same month, Johnson began requesting dozens of public records related to Keith, including her personnel file and emails.

Johnson filed a suit in February against the school and Keith.  He did this, too.

Johnson submitted a statement to the school’s board of trustees saying that an investigation into Keith’s competence and ethics is needed and “respectfully suggest[ing] that she is not the right person to be the general counsel of the University of Florida.”

It appears he’s winning.

University of Florida General Counsel Jamie Keith, under investigation following a complaint alleging misconduct, has been placed on administrative leave.

UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes said it would be inappropriate to discuss the reason for the move while the investigation is underway. Keith continues to be paid her $389,500 annual salary, Sikes said.

Keith had agreed to take annual leave once the investigation by UF’s Office of Internal Audit was launched.

By the way, don’t miss reading the rest of that Gainesville Sun piece.  You know when a story starts off with “… she so inflamed former UF Athletics Director Jeremy Foley that he wrote in an email to her four days before he retired on Oct. 1, 2016, that he was thankful he would no longer be working with her”, it’s gonna be a good one.

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., See You In Court

They got everything they need, almost…

Generally when you hear that the NCAA is trying to block a request to depose school officials, it’s likely it’s from a fear that amusement will ensue, and that appears to be the case with the Alston litigation that Berman and Kessler are directing.

Friday’s filing pertains to a dispute over the plaintiffs’ request to depose five university officials, including Burke, who were interviewed by a defense expert as part the expert’s compilation of a report in the case. The NCAA and the conferences maintain that the plaintiffs are entitled to notes of the expert’s interviews with the five officials and a deposition of the expert, but they should not be allowed to depose the officials.

The expert, Kenneth Elzinga, covered a wide range of topics with Burke, according to the seven pages of notes from that interview, which say it was conducted Feb. 22 at Purdue in the presence of two attorneys from the law firm representing the Big Ten Conference in the case and an attorney from Purdue’s office of legal counsel.

Among them:

“ … MB said that one can already see what the effect of changing the current model of student-athletics would be on this group. If the model were changed to a more professionalized version, the members of the John Purdue Club [the athletics department’s fundraising arm] would cut back in their giving and their level of interest in intercollegiate sports. ‘They see how much we’re getting from our media contracts and that the university is taking a cut,’ MB said. They ask him, ‘why are you asking us? You’ve got money.’

“Member [sic] of the John Purdue Club would not like the money going into athletes’ pockets beyond the cost of their attendance at Purdue. Some donors already are concerned about the level of services Purdue provides its student-athletes. MB and his colleagues have to explain why the services are appropriate. He believes that if he didn’t have those conversations, donors might act unilaterally and reduce the amount of money they give.”

This is, to put a word on it, hilarious.  Fat cat donors who are already reluctant to give to the athletic department because it’s pulling in lots of Big Ten Network money are grumbling about what the school is currently shelling out to make student-athletes consider enrolling there and the school’s athletic director thinks that if those resources are redirected in the form of direct payments to the kids as opposed to the current direction of spending on staffing and infrastructure, it’s going to lead to a donor revolt.

I mean, let’s face it — when has a booster ever wanted to put money directly in a kid’s pocket?  That’s unheard of.

He should be a real blast under oath.

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

“You’re here to win games. And in the meantime, if you want to go to class, you can.”

Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin basketball player, finds one ray of sunshine in student-athlete amateurism.

Pay the players, Hayes says. Lots of coaches agree. They just don’t say so out loud, for the same reason many professional athletes don’t sound off about social issues. Dollars and sponsorships. Too much to lose.

Fortunately for Hayes, he doesn’t have that problem. “In my case, as an NCAA athlete, you can’t fine me,” he says, flashing another small smile. “You can’t take my money.”

Freedom!

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Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

The NCAA wins a court case.

This one’s on the transfer rule.

A federal judge in Indiana on Tuesday dealt a significant blow to a lawsuit that has been seeking to challenge the NCAA’s rules that prevent some Division I football players from transferring to other schools without losing a season of athletics eligibility.

The case is being pursued primarily by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP on behalf of Peter Deppe, a punter who had planned to transfer from Northern Illinois to Iowa in 2015. The suit alleges that Iowa accepted Deppe academically but that Iowa’s athletics department declined to pursue a waiver that would have allowed Deppe to become eligible immediately and the NCAA would not consider a waiver request from Deppe. The suit alleges that Iowa then turned its attention toward another punter who would be eligible immediately without a waiver.

It wasn’t a broad ruling in favor of the NCAA, but it was a win.

However, at issue in Tuesday’s ruling was the NCAA’s bid for dismissal of the part of Deppe’s case pertaining to the so-called “year-in-residence” rule, which generally requires football players who transfer to sit out a year and their new school.

The lawyers for Deppe argued that this constitutes “an unreasonable restraint on trade,” and this violates antitrust laws.

As she did in Pugh’s case, U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt sided with the NCAA. Citing a prior ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and other precedents, Pratt ruled that since the NCAA transfer rule is an eligibility rule connected to education — as opposed to a restraint on trade — it does not violate antitrust law.

Interesting reasoning, since a player going from FBS to FCS doesn’t have to deal with the “year-in-residence” rule.  Does that mean every FBS school is a tougher academic environment than any FCS school?  Eh, who knows.

In the meantime, enjoy Donald Remy taking a victory lap.

The NCAA’s chief legal officer, Donald Remy, said in a statement: “It is unfortunate that plaintiffs’ lawyers continue to file meritless lawsuits while ignoring multiple court decisions that uphold NCAA transfer rule.”

Except for all those cases those lawyers keep winning, Donald is exactly right.

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Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

“Baylor University is encouraged by today’s ruling.”

I have no idea why.

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Filed under Baylor Is Sensitive To Women's Issues, See You In Court

This time it’s for real.

I love the way the court system keeps pretending Harvey Updyke gives a shit about repaying his almost $800,000 in restitution fees.  It’s so cute!

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, See You In Court, Whoa, oh, Alabama