Category Archives: See You In Court

“These young athletes are looking forward to receiving a check.”

Assuming that a certain attorney who’s been holding things up gets her head out of her derriere, the other shoe from Alston is about to drop.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday came closer to clearing the way for more than 50,000 current and former college athletes to finally receive their shares of a $208.7 million legal settlement with the NCAA and 11 major conferences concerning the association’s current compensation limits…

The plaintiffs’ lawyers have developed a list of roughly 53,000 football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball players who are set to get some share of the settlement money, according to Wednesday’s ruling. Those who played their sport for four years will get an average of about $6,000 apiece, the ruling said.

The reason the players are about to receive settlement relief:  “The damages settlement covers scholarship athletes in Division I men’s basketball, Division I women’s basketball or Bowl Subdivision football whose award was limited by NCAA rules to basically tuition, room, board, books and fees.”  In other words, the NCAA directed schools to collude and limit the labor market in violation of federal antitrust law.

And, remember, kids, this is a settlement, so you won’t hear Donald Remy crowing about how this is some sort of vindication for the NCAA.

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Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

“We don’t like the notion that we’re in violation of antitrust laws.”

No shit, Mark.  Seems like there’s a way to change that.

Emmert added that the association does not believe the courts should decide what qualifies as a benefit tethered to education.

“We just find that an unworkable proposal that anytime you want to have a discussion over whether or not something is or isn’t tethered [to] education, we have to go back to a judge and have that debate and discussion. That just seems inherently inappropriate and not an appropriate role for the judiciary, but one that does fit the role of the NCAA,” Emmert said.

Eh, forget I mentioned it.

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A rock in Waco has just been turned over.

Who knows what’s going to crawl out?

A federal judge in Texas ruled Thursday that a law firm must turn over thousands of records that lawyers believe will give a fuller accounting of how Baylor University responded to sexual assault allegations made by students.

Judge Robert Pitman said in his order that Philadelphia-based Pepper Hamilton must produce all materials related to its internal review that resulted in a 2016 summary report finding an “institutional failure at every level.”

The firm “must produce all materials” in its control that Baylor either has not produced or doesn’t possess, Pitman determined. He swept aside several objections that Pepper Hamilton had lodged, including that the federal court in Waco, home to the university, did not have jurisdiction in the matter. He ordered that the materials be provided by April 11.

I have no idea myself, but hope it puts Ken Starr in the worst possible light.

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

Wednesday morning buffet

A few nibbles here, a few nibbles there, and pretty soon you’ve got a full buffet.

  • Missouri has decided to celebrate its appeal of NCAA sanctions in a unique way.
  • Plaintiffs’ lawyers in Alston want to get paid.
  • Class is in with Mike Leach.
  • Lane Kiffin“You go to the national championship in what was it, the second year, and could have won the game a million times.”
  • Cocktail Party alert“On Tuesday night, the Jacksonville City Council voted 15-1 on Tuesday to approve an $18-million deal that sets the stage for the city to demolish the Landing…”
  • David Hale looks at how punters and kickers pass the time.
  • The secret to Georgia’s offensive line’s success?  Size and Sam Pittman.
  • Mose of the players who will appear in this game are two to four years old today.
  • Yeah, that Jeff Long is a fine athletic director.

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Filed under College Football, Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin, Georgia Football, Mike Leach. Yar!, See You In Court, Strategery And Mechanics, Stylin', The NCAA

Alston appeal: Donald Remy strenuously objects

To what should be nobody’s surprise, the NCAA is appealing Judge Wilken’s ruling and doing so with its usual class.

The NCAA and a group of major conferences on Friday night asked the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals to overturn a recent ruling that the association’s limits on athlete compensation violate antitrust laws and that the association cannot limit benefits related to education for athletes playing Division I men’s or women’s basketball or Bowl Subdivision football.

In a brief notice of appeal, the NCAA and the conferences wrote that they are seeking review of U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken’s injunction, her findings of fact and law, her earlier summary judgment ruling “and all other orders, rulings, and decisions in this litigation.”

… On Friday night, the NCAA’s Remy issued a statement that read, in part: “While the District Court upheld the distinction between full-time students who play college sports and professional athletes, it erred by giving itself authority to micromanage decisions about education-related support. We believe, and the Supreme Court has recognized, that NCAA member schools and conferences are best positioned to strengthen and revise their rules to better support student-athletes, rather than forcing these issues into continuous litigation.”

Yeah, how dare a judge rule on an issue she’s already ruled on in a similar way, a ruling that was upheld on appeal?

The thing here is that the NCAA got a win from her on the most important thing to it, and yet, it’s not enough.  The NCAA’s gonna NCAA.  Always.

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Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

“… and they don’t want to be told what to do.”

One recurring question in the wake of Jordan McNair’s death has been to ask why the NCAA hasn’t taken the lead in regulating player safety issues.  You only get one guess.

The NCAA could end up becoming more liable to lawsuits if proposed measures aimed at protecting student-athletes pass, just one of the barriers to the organization taking a more active role in player health and safety issues.

As the NCAA introduces regulatory policies like guidelines to prevent non-traumatic deaths and improved accreditation standards for strength and conditioning coaches, it might expand its legal duty to provide care, thus making it more vulnerable to civil negligence claims, according to attorney Bob Wallace, who represents athletes and sports teams for national law firm Thompson Coburn. Two Oregon football players hospitalized in a January 2017 workout have filed such cases against the NCAA and the University of Oregon.

“When organizations or companies or industries are regulating conduct,” Wallace said, “there’s always a balancing act of how far can you go, should you go before you shift a bunch of the responsibility onto your organization.”

NCAA spokesman Christopher Radford, however, told Sporting News in a statement that “NCAA health and safety efforts are not calculated by whether there is increased legal liability but on what is in the best interests of our student-athletes.”

Fear of liability is one of several explanations offered by legal analysts, medical experts and college sports officials as to why the NCAA has not substantially addressed the issue of student-athlete fatalities.

Hey, money trumping doing it for the kids, whodathunkit?  And we have Mark Emmert to thank for it, according to Jay Bilas.

If the NCAA was worried about how regulation might impact its legal liability before 2013, the events of that year seemingly added to its level of concern, according to ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas and several legal experts.

Penn State took the NCAA to court after the latter imposed heavy sanctions on the Nittany Lions following former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky’s years of sexual abuse of children (sometimes on Penn State property). At first, the NCAA imposed a $60 million fine, four-year postseason bowl ban, scholarship reduction and vacation of all Penn State wins after 1998. It was forced to rescind many of those penalties, however, as part of a settlement with the school.

“They basically overreacted and they imposed an enormous amount of sanctions that then they had to pull back from,” said a source who has worked with the NCAA as a legal consultant. “Now they’re just hesitant to do anything.”

But he meant well at the time.  Of course, there is the one exception that proves the rule.

Scandals that have involved competitive advantages or threats to amateurism, such as an FBI probe into college basketball programs paying athletes through shoe companies, have been met with more forceful responses.

“These allegations, if true, point to systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now if we want college sports in America,” NCAA president Mark Emmert wrote of the FBI probe. “Simply put, people who engage in this kind of behavior have no place in college sports. They are an affront to all those who play by the rules.”

Yeah, I feel affronted, alright.  Thanks, Mark, for keeping your eye on the prize.

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Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

Looking for “a dead hooker … in [Coach Beaty’s] closet.”

One of life’s small mysteries for me is why people continue to think Kansas AD Jeff Long is one of the leading lights of his profession.  Throwing money at Bobby Petrino isn’t some act of genius, and that seems to be the high water mark of his career.

Now he’s gotten his school in a pissing match with the football coach he just fired, and it’s not likely to end well.

When Kansas fired head football coach David Beaty in November, the school said it would fulfill the terms of his contract, which called for a $3 million buyout if Beaty was fired without cause.

On Tuesday afternoon, Beaty filed a lawsuit alleging KU has not paid any of that buyout, even after the former coach agreed to meet with NCAA investigators after Kansas informed Beaty of a “potential” violation the school identified during his time as head coach.

The suit also says Kansas athletic director Jeff Long and “at least one other senior Kansas Athletics official” openly discussed needing to “find something” to void Beaty’s buyout, such as, in the suit’s words, “a dead hooker … in [Coach Beaty’s] closet.”

The lawsuit, filed by Beaty’s representatives in federal district court in Kansas, alleges KU first contacted Beaty in December to formally deny previously agreed-upon monthly payments of $500,000 over six months. According to the suit, the school told Beaty the reason for paying his $3 million buyout was “a self-initiated NCAA investigation being conducted — not by the NCAA — but by Kansas Athletics’ corporate counsel looking into impropriety involving a former assistant coach.”

Well, that’s one way to try to weasel out of a $3 million check.

The timeline’s kind of fun to follow here.  First, Beaty is terminated on November 24.  Less than a week later, he received a memo from Long confirming that he was “terminated without cause effective November 24, 2018. All liquidated damages payments owed to you will be paid out consistent with Section 12 of your current amended Employment Agreement and Section 7 (D) of your current amended Professional Services Agreement.”

Then comes December 14, and Beaty receives a letter from Kansas’ general counsel, notifying him that the school was conducting an internal investigation about possible NCAA rules violations conducted by a member of his staff.  And while Kansas didn’t respond to numerous requests from Beaty about the specifics, that hasn’t stopped the school from notifying the conference and the NCAA about the allegation.

According to Beaty’s lawyers, Kansas has gone scorched earth.

The suit states that Kansas has been “more than willing to notify prospective employers that Coach Beaty is the subject of a NCAA investigation.”

That’s awfully nice of Kansas.  So is this official statement.

The University of Kansas is aware of a court filing submitted by attorneys of former Head Football Coach David Beaty. While the university typically does not comment on pending litigation, the nature of the current matter warrants further context.

The filing is full of false claims and factual misstatements, including that KU’s Director of Athletics made salacious comments about seeking reasons to withhold payment from Beaty. Simply, that did not happen.

Here are the facts. Beaty was informed he would not be retained by KU on November 4, 2018, but would be able to coach the remaining games. Immediately following the end of the season, Kansas Athletics staff conducted standard exit interviews of all football coaches and staff, and through that process we learned of possible NCAA violations allegedly committed by Beaty. KU contacted the NCAA and the Big 12 Conference and began an investigation into the matter. Beaty refused to cooperate with the KU review and, ultimately, the NCAA took the lead in the still-ongoing investigation.

Due to the nature of the allegations, which, if true, would be in violation of the terms of Beaty’s contract, the university has withheld payment of money owed to Beaty pending the outcome of the NCAA investigation. In a show of good faith, the university has placed the full amount owed in escrow.

While disappointed in the court filing, the university is committed to seeking the truth and upholding our high standards of ethical conduct.

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.)

Yeah, that Jeff Long is brilliant.

Of course, no story about an NCAA investigation would be complete without this:

An NCAA spokesperson, Stacey Osburn, said in a statement to SB Nation: “We cannot comment on current, pending or potential investigations.”

Should Kansas part ways with Jeff Long some day — hey, parting is what Kansas does — they could do a lot worse than hiring Stacey.  At least she knows when to keep her mouth shut.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, See You In Court, The NCAA