Daily Compliance Item- 9/27/13- Current Event

EA drops football in ’14, settles cases as NCAA fights

USATODAY.com

 

On a day when legal wrangling over the use of college athletes’ names and likenesses prompted video game manufacturer Electronic Arts to announce it will not publish a college football game for at least one year and settle a series of related lawsuits, the NCAA vowed to keep fighting on the issue for as long as necessary.

 

EA announced Thursday afternoon it will not produce a college football game in 2014 and is “evaluating our plan for the future of the franchise.” Within hours, a court filing and lawyers representing former and current college football and men’s basketball players said an agreement had been reached to settle claims against EA in three presumptive federal class-action lawsuits.

 

Terms of the deal remained confidential pending their presentation to various courts, but it is likely to result in the landmark distribution of tens of millions of dollars to thousands of college athletes — including current athletes — whose names or avatars have been in EA games since the early 2000s.

 

The settlement also covered claims against the nation’s leading collegiate trademark licensing firm, Collegiate Licensing Co. That leaves the NCAA as the lone defendant in a case whose named plaintiffs include former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon, former Arizona State and Nebraska football player Sam Keller and five current football players.

 

Earlier Thursday, the NCAA’s chief legal officer told USA TODAY Sports the association is gearing up for that case with even greater resources and resolve than it has before.

 

Donald Remy said the association has retained one new law firm for the purpose of trial and another, featuring a former U.S. solicitor general, to handle appeals.

 

“We’re prepared to take this all the way to the Supreme Court if we have to,” Remy said. “We are not prepared to compromise on the case.”

 

Asked whether the likely cost of such additions to the NCAA’s legal team had been approved by association governing panels involved with oversight of the NCAA’s finances, Remy said: “This strategy has been discussed by all appropriate bodies and endorsed. The membership supports this handling of the case.”

 

The NCAA’s resolve seemed almost welcomed by lawyers representing the plaintiffs, who said they are looking forward to being able to concentrate their efforts on one case and one target.

“Fantastic,” Robert Carey said. “We’ll see them in court.”

 

Said Michael Hausfeld, another lead attorney for the plaintiffs: “The NCAA now stands alone in its hypocrisy. When you hire a new firm to deal with a trial and a firm to deal with an appeal, it doesn’t say a lot about your confidence in your position.”

 

Warren Zola, who teaches sports law at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management, said Thursday’s settlement leaves the NCAA in a difficult position.

 

“You are the last defendant standing in a case where everyone else felt that settling was the best solution,” he said.

 

EA’s decision to settle came days after its lawyers filed papers asking the Supreme Court to review adverse rulings it had received in a portion of the Keller-O’Bannon case and in a suit filed by former Rutgers football player Ryan Hart. Former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston more recently had filed yet another suit against EA.

 

NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn had no comment on the settlement because the association hadn’t seen the terms.

 

Zola pointed out that it is unclear whether active college athletes would be allowed under NCAA rules to immediately accept money from the settlement or whether the funds may have to be set aside until their college playing careers end.

 

As for EA, it is putting the brakes on a product that sells about 2 million units per year, according to stock analyst Michael Pachter. The FIFA soccer video game and Madden NFL game sell 12 million and 5.5 million units, respectively, CLC spokesman Andrew Giangola told USA TODAY Sports in July.

 

In July, the NCAA announced it would not renew its contract with EA after next year, citing business reasons and litigation costs. However, more than 150 colleges, conferences and bowl games approved a three-year contract extension with EA. The only impact at the time was the game would no longer be called “NCAA Football” but rather “College Football,” with each school or league continuing to decide whether to opt in or out through CLC.

 

“This is as profoundly disappointing to the people who make this game as I expect it will be for the millions who enjoy playing it each year,” Cam Weber, the general manager of American football for EA Sports, wrote in statement posted on the company’s website.

 

The statement went on to say: “We have been stuck in the middle of a dispute between the NCAA and student-athletes who seek compensation for playing college football. … The ongoing legal issues combined with increased questions surrounding schools and conferences have left us in a difficult position – one that challenges our ability to deliver an authentic sports experience, which is the very foundation of EA Sports games.”

 

This article was selected for educational purposes only.

Daily Compliance Item- 5/23/13- 14.5.5.2.10- Football Transfers

Boot Leg is a football student-athlete enrolled at an FBS institution. Boot wants to transfer, so he can be closer to his family.  The institution he has selected is currently going through the reclassification process to change from FCS to FBS.  Is Boot eligible to utilize the one-time transfer exception?

 

No.   NCAA Educational Column- 5/23/13- One-Time Transfer Exception — Application During Reclassification from FCS to FBS (I) – states that  NCAA Division I institutions should note that while an institution is reclassifying from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the reclassifying institution is required to meet all applicable FBS requirements (with the exception of scheduling requirements during the first year of reclassification). However, the institution is not an active FBS member until it has completed the reclassification process and been elected to FBS status by the NCAA Division I Board of Directors; therefore, any football student-athletes attending the reclassifying institution who transfer to another FCS institution are FCS to FCS transfers. Consequently, unless the student-athlete is transferring to an FCS institution that does not offer athletically related financial aid in the sport of football, the individual cannot meet the conditions of the one-time transfer exception [see NCAA Bylaw 14.5.5.2.10-(a)].

 

Further, an institution in the process of reclassifying its football program from FCS to FBS must certify all incoming transfers under FBS regulations. Therefore, a football student-athlete who transfers from an FBS institution to the reclassifying institution is also unable to meet the conditions of the one-time transfer exception [see Bylaw 14.5.5.2.10-(a)]. Finally, a football student-athlete who enrolls midyear at an FCS institution that will begin the reclassification process from FCS to FBS the next academic year must be re-certified in the fall using the transfer regulations that apply to FBS programs.

[References: Bylaws 14.5.5.1 (general rule), 14.5.5.2.10 (one time transfer exception) and 20.4.2 (football subdivision reclassification options)]

Notice about Educational Columns: Educational columns and hot topics are intended to assist the membership with the correct application of legislation and/or interpretations by providing clarifications, reminders and examples. They are based on legislation and official and staff interpretations applicable at the time of publication. Therefore, educational columns and hot topics are binding to the extent that the legislation and interpretations on which they are based remain applicable. Educational columns are posted on a regular basis to address a variety of issues and hot topics are posted as necessary in order to address timely issues.

Daily Compliance Item- 1/3/13- Bylaw 12- Amateurism Reminders

REMINDERS REGARDING THE NFL DRAFT, AGENTS AND TRYOUTS:

Key Dates:

College Advisory Committee evaluation request final deadline (with no guarantee that an evaluation wil be completed)- January 4, 2013

Early-entry deadline for underclassmen- January 15, 2013

Early-entry withdrawal deadline for underclassmen- 72  hours after early-entry deadline (midnight January 18, 2013)

 

Student-Athletes will lose their eligibility IF:

1. They agree orally or in writing to be represented by an agent or any individual acting on behalf of the agent [e.g., runner].

2. They accept any benefits from an agent, a prospective agent or any individual acting on behalf of the agent [e.g., runner].

3. If they participate in a tryout with a professional team that lasts longer than 48 hours, which they have not personally financed.

4. If they tryout with a professional team during the academic year and miss class.

5. If they enter the draft AND do not take the appropriate steps to withdraw and declare their intention to resume intercollegiate participation.

 

This information was taken from the November 30, 2012 letter sent to football student-athletes from the NCAA.

Daily Compliance Item- 12/3/12- 13.1.5.9- Reviewing Film with a Prospect

Wish Bone is a senior in high school and has been recruited by Ocean State University (OSU) to play football next year.  Wish lives in the locale of the campus and would like to attend a few of OSU’s practices next week as they begin preparations for its upcoming bowl game.  Wish is eager to learn OSU’s offensive system, so he contacted one of the coaches and asked if he could review film with him after one of the practices.

Is it permissible for the coach to review film with Wish?

No.  NCAA Bylaw 13.1.5.9 states that a coaching staff member shall not engage in any practice activities (e.g., review of playbook, chalk talk, film review) with a prospective student-athlete.  A prospective student-athlete who has signed a National Letter of Intent or a written offer of admission or financial aid, or has submitted a financial deposit to the institution in response to the institution’s offer of admission shall not observe an institution’s off-field or off-court practice session (e.g., meeting, film review) that is closed to the general public.  A prospective student-athlete may observe an institution’s on-field or on-court practice session (including a session that is closed to the general public), regardless of whether he or she has signed a National Letter of Intent or a written offer of admission or financial aid, or has submitted a financial deposit to the institution in response to the institution’s offer of admission.

Daily Compliance Item- 11/28/12- 16.8.2.5- Mid-Year Enrollee Going to Bowl Game

Forward Progress is going to graduate from high school in December and will enroll at Ocean State University (OSU) during the 2013 spring semester.  OSU is playing in a bowl game that that will occur after the spring semester begins.  Can OSU provide expenses for Forward to attend the bowl game?

No.  NCAA Bylaw 16.8.2.5 states that in bowl subdivision football, an institution may not provide expenses (e.g., travel, room and board, entertainment, incidental expenses, etc.) to a student-athlete who is a midyear enrollee (freshman or transfer) for participation in a postseason bowl game that occurs before or during the student-athlete’s initial term of full-time enrollment at the institution.

Daily Compliance Item- 11/21/12- Current Event

Ohio State adjusts Urban Meyer’s bonus due to NCAA sanctions

USAToday.com

  • Ohio State was hit with a postseason ban after Urban Meyer was hired
  • The Buckeyes won the Leaders Division, but are ineligible for the Big Ten title game
  • The school is working with Meyer on details of his bonus

When is an incentive bonus not an incentive bonus that becomes an incentive bonus again?

When Ohio State coach Urban Meyer’s representatives and university officials work out a way to fix a contract provision that rescued a potential bonus that was headed toward a dead end even as the Buckeyes built an 11-0 record heading into their season finale Saturday at home against Michigan.

It was a dead end that potentially would have cost Meyer $150,000 or $250,000 – a significant amount of money, even for a coach whose base annual compensation is $4 million.

Meyer’s contract includes the prospect of:

— A $50,000 bonus if the team wins the Big Ten Conference’s Leaders Division.

— An automatic one-year extension onto his current contract and a $100,000 bonus if the Buckeyes win the conference championship game.

— $150,000 for playing in a Bowl Championship Series non-title game or $250,000 for playing in the BCS title game.

Because Meyer was hired in November 2011 as Ohio State faced NCAA sanctions that include a ban on postseason play this year, his contract includes specific language addressing the bonuses for this season or any other season in which Ohio State is ineligible for its division championship or the postseason because of rules violations that occurred before Meyer’s arrival.

Regarding the $50,000 division bonus, the contract says Meyer will be paid if “Ohio State has the most wins in the Leaders Division at the conclusion of the last regular season game.” This goal has been achieved, as the Buckeyes have clinched the division’s top record.

There was no work-around for the Big Ten title game.

Regarding the $150,000 BCS bonus, however, it would be paid only “if Ohio State is ranked in the top #3 – #10 in the BCS final rankings”. And the $250,000 bonus would be paid instead “if Ohio State is ranked in the top 2 in the BCS final ranking.”

That created a problem.

A major component of the BCS rankings is the USA TODAY Coaches’ Poll, but teams under NCAA sanctions are ineligible to receive votes in the poll. Initially, Ohio State Senior Associate Athletics Director Julie Vannatta said in an e-mail that Ohio State’s position was “what’s in the written contract is correct.”

In other words – no BCS ranking, no bonus.

Last Friday, however, Vannatta said in an e-mail and an interview that Ohio State officials had discussed the matter with Meyer’s representatives and the parties have agreed that the contract will be amended to make Ohio State’s standing in the final Associated Press media poll the determinant of the BCS bonus. Teams on probation are eligible for votes in the AP poll.

Meyer is represented by CAA Sports, which, through spokeswoman Beth McClinton, has declined to comment at any point in the process.

“We both agree that this change is necessary in order to achieve the original intended purpose of the employment agreement between Ohio State and Coach Meyer,” Vannatta said in an e-mail.

With the Buckeyes moving up to No. 4 in this week’s AP poll, a victory Saturday over their archrivals will virtually assure a top-10 finish. Given the way the season has been going recently for highly ranked teams, they could end up in the top two.

And Meyer could end up with the bonus that almost was not.

PLEASE NOTE:  This article was selected for educational purposes.

Daily Compliance Item- 11/19/12- 14.4.3.1.6- Football Eligibility Requirement

Blown Coverage is a football student-athlete at Ocean State University. What is the minimum number of credit hours Blown must successfully complete during this fall term in order to be eligible for competition at the start of the 2013 season?

A.  6 hours

B.  9 hours

C.  18 hours

D.  No credit hour requirements

 

The answer is BNCAA Bylaw 14.4.3.1.6 state that in football, a student-athlete who is a member of the institution’s football team and who does not successfully complete at least nine-semester hours or eight-quarter hours of academic credit during the fall term and earn the Academic Progress Rate eligibility point for the fall term shall not be eligible to compete in the first four contests against outside competition in the following playing season.  (Adopted:  4/28/11 effective 8/1/11)

 

This is Division I Legislation.