Today will be the last day for the “daily” compliance items. I will continue to send out “hot topic emails” throughout the summer and will resume regular delivery in August. I hope you all get some much needed time away from the office during the next couple of months!
Believe it or not, washing a car with university water can be an NCAA violation
At a time when college athletics is overrun with rogue agents, unscrupulous coaches and handlers who exploit athletes for money, it’s reassuring to know not every unrepentant rule-breaker goes unpunished.
Hearty congratulations to the NCAA for penalizing a student-athlete from a West Coast Conference school for the unspeakable crime of washing her car with the university’s water and hose.
Portland basketball coach Eric Reveno tweeted about the violation Wednesday after he learned of it during conference meetings, punctuating his message with the hashtag #stopinsanity. A spokesman for the WCC did not know any further details, but a source familiar with the circumstances revealed what happened.
A WCC school self-reported an extra benefits violation when university officials caught one of their women’s golfers washing her car on campus, according to the source. A secondary violation was ruled to have occurred because the water and hose were not available to regular students and requested the golfer pay back $20, which was deemed to be the value of the water and use of the hose.
NCAA spokeswoman Dana Thomas emailed Thursday that her organization did not participate in the decision and does not consider the car wash to have been an extra benefits violation. Asked why the golfer was penalized, Thomas said “it seems there was a miscommunication at some level” and the WCC is working with the school to clarify.
A WCC spokesman did not immediately return an email seeking further explanation of what happened.
That school administrators actually reported the violation and a penalty was initially assessed is equal parts hilarious and exasperating. What’s next? Charging athletes by the sip at drinking fountains? Or by the gallon after locker room showers?
Too many petty rules like this one or the one governing the use of bagel spreads continue to choke the system and prevent administrators at the school, conference and NCAA levels from focusing on what’s important. Reform is needed throughout college athletics, yet its leaders are too busy calculating the value of a couple buckets of soapy water to attack the real issues.
This article was selected for educational purposes only.
Appeals court revives case against video game maker
A federal appeals court panel on Tuesday overturned a district court ruling that had dismissed a former Rutgers football player’s lawsuit against video game manufacturer Electronic Arts for illegally using his likeness and biographical information in its college football games.
By a 2-1 vote, judges in the 3rd Circuit returned the case to U.S. District Court in New Jersey for further proceedings consistent with its opinion.
Michael Rubin, a lawyer who argued for the plaintiff before the Circuit Court panel, said Wednesday that when the case resumes at the district court level, his side will file a motion seeking to have the case certified as a class action.
EA spokesman John Reseburg said the company intends to “seek further court review.” Asked Wednesday whether that would mean asking for a review of the case by all judges of the 3rd Circuit or trying to take the case to the Supreme Court, Reseburg said: “It’s too soon to tell.”
Tuesday’s opinion, written by Circuit Judge Joseph A. Greenaway Jr., (and a dissent by Judge Thomas L. Ambro) includes observations about some of the same issues being contested in two other federal cases. There is a wider-ranging anti-trust lawsuit before a federal district court in California against EA, the NCAA and Collegiate Licensing Co., the nation’s leading collegiate trademark licensing and marketing firm, and a case parallel to that one currently under consideration by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The anti-trust suit, whose named plaintiffs include former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon, concerns the use of college football and men’s basketball players’ names and likenesses and is heading toward a hearing June 20 on whether it will certified as a class action. If the O’Bannon case is certified as a class action, it likely would bring thousands of current and former college athletes into the case and potentially place billions of dollars in damages at stake.
Meanwhile, three judges from the 9th Circuit are still considering an appeal from EA in a case related to the O’Bannon proceeding that involves former Arizona State and Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller and EA’s use of his likeness in video games.The three judges heard arguments on that matter in July 2012. In a footnote to his Tuesday ruling, Judge Greenaway wrote that the Keller case “is simply our own case incarnated in California.”
A transcript of the oral arguments before Greenaway and the 3rd Circuit panel were entered into the record of the Keller case last October.
Also potentially noteworthy about Tuesday’s ruling: it came after the case had been argued before a panel of judges that included one temporarily assigned to the 3rd Circuit, which has jurisdiction over New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania, from the 9th Circuit, which has jurisdiction over several western states including California. (This judge, A. Wallace Tashima, was not among the judges handling the appeal in the Keller case.)
A ruling in EA’s favor in the Keller case could set the stage for a Supreme Court review because two federal circuit courts would be in opposition on the same legal issue.
The New Jersey case involves Ryan Hart, a Rutgers quarterback for the 2002 through the 2005 seasons. He filed a presumptive class-action suit in November 2009. U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson dismissed the case in September 2011, saying that EA’s use of Hart’s likeness was protected by the First Amendment, which offers a shield to video games as expressive speech.
However, Greenaway wrote: “As with other types of expressive conduct, the protection afforded to games can be limited in situations where the right of free expression necessarily conflicts with other protected rights. The instant case presents one such situation.”
He noted that EA college football video game’s “success owes to its focus on realism and detail” and that “in NCAA Football 2006, Rutgers’ quarterback, player number 13, is 6’2″ tall, weighs 197 pounds and resembles Hart.”
Greenaway, in another part of the opinion, writes: “… the digital avatar does closely resemble the genuine article. Not only does the digital avatar match Appellant in terms of hair color, hair style and skin tone, but the avatar’s accessories mimic those worn by (Hart) during his time as a Rutgers player. The information, as has already been noted, also accurately tracks (Hart’s) vital and biographical details. . . .
“The digital Ryan Hart does what the actual Ryan Hart did while at Rutgers: he plays college football, in digital recreations of college football stadiums, filled with all the trappings of a college football game.”
On a more general basis, Greenaway wrote that EA “seeks to create a realistic depiction of college football for the users. Part of this realism involves generating realistic representations of the various college teams — which includes the realistic representations of the players.”
How this could affect the O’Bannon case remains to be seen.
For example, a filing made public on Monday includes portions of a deposition from one of the other named plaintiffs in the case, former Connecticut basketball player Tate George, in which George said that the avatars in several versions of a video game that are supposed to represent him do not resemble him. George also said the face of his avatar also appears on other players representing other teams.
This article was selected for educational purposes only.
Big Ten, Horizon League commissioners will be deposed
An attorney helping to represent former and current college football and men’s basketball players in an anti-trust lawsuit told USA TODAY Sports a U.S. magistrate judge is allowing their legal team to take depositions from a college president and two conference commissioners who had made statements in the case saying that some schools and conferences might exit Division I or the Football Bowl Subdivision because of the financial and legal burden that would result from needing to share revenue with football and men’s basketball players.
Speaking after a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins on Wednesday in San Francisco, plaintiffs’ attorney Renae Steiner said Cousins allowed depositions of Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, Horizon League commissioner Jon LeCrone and Fresno State president John Welty.
Cousins also allowed the plaintiffs to take a deposition from NCAA executive vice president for championships and alliances Mark Lewis about various aspects of how the college sports governing body approaches its broadcast rights contracts for NCAA championships, Steiner said.
Steiner said the plaintiffs will not be allowed to depose Texas athletics director DeLoss Dodds, Missouri Valley Conference commissioner Doug Elgin, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby and NCAA managing director of research Todd Petr. The plaintiffs’ lawyers agreed before Wednesday’s hearing to drop their request to depose Pacific-12 Conference commissioner Larry Scott, after discussions with counsel for the Pac-12, Steiner said.
All of this is part of maneuvering in advance of a hearing June 20 before U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken on whether the case should be certified as a class action.
The suit, initially filed in May 2009, is against the NCAA; video-game maker Electronic Arts and the nation’s leading collegiate trademark licensing and marketing firm, Collegiate Licensing Co. Its named plaintiffs include former basketball stars Ed O’Bannon, Oscar Robertson and Bill Russell.
The plaintiffs allege that the defendants violated anti-trust law by conspiring to fix at zero the amount of compensation athletes can receive for the use of their names, images and likenesses in products or media while they are in school and by requiring athletes to sign forms under which they relinquish in perpetuity all rights pertaining to the use of the names, images and likenesses in ways including TV contracts, rebroadcasts of games, and video game, jersey and other apparel sales
In seeking certification of their suit as a class action, the plaintiffs’ lawyers said that while they are seeking monetary damages on behalf of former athletes, they “do not seek compensation to be paid to current student-athletes while they maintain their eligibility” but rather “a less restrictive, namely that monies generated by the licensing and sale of class members’ names, images and likenesses can be temporarily held in trust” until their end of their college playing careers.
If the case is certified as a class action, It almost certainly would bring thousands of current and former college athletes into the matter and potentially place billions of dollars in damages at stake.
Roger Noll, an economics professor emeritus at Stanford and an expert for the plaintiffs has proposed that athletes receive a 50-50 split of money for telecasts and a one-third split for video games.
Those projections prompted the statements from Delany, LeCrone and Welty.
“We are pleased that, despite the opposition of NCAA’s counsel, and counsel for the Big Ten, the court recognized our right to explore with Commissioner Delany, Commissioner LeCrone and Fresno State President Welty their views on the effects on Division I athletics if Plaintiffs were to prevail here,” Steiner said via e-mail. “We are also pleased that we are allowed to examine Mr. Lewis on his views of how the NCAA rules apply to the use of student athletes’ name, image and likeness rights.”
The NCAA was happy with Cousins’ decision to prevent some of the depositions the plaintiffs had wanted, and to allow what it termed “very limited additional discovery.”
“We are pleased with the court’s ruling and the admissions the plaintiffs’ lawyers made today highlighting the weaknesses in their theories,” the NCAA’s chief legal officer, Donald Remy said in a statement. “We look forward to the additional discovery shining a light on the reasons why this case is not a proper class action.”
This article was selected for educational purposes only.
NCAA finds no violations in Duke, Lance Thomas case
The NCAA will not punish Duke or former player Lance Thomas after investigating a very expensive jewelry purchase made during the 2009-10 national championship season, the school said Tuesday.
“The NCAA has found no evidence of a rules violation in this situation based on the information available, and both the NCAA and Duke consider the matter closed,” Duke officials said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. The news was first reported by The News & Observer.
Thomas’s jewelry purchase, which totaled nearly $100,000 in cost, occurred in December 2009. He paid $30,000 in cash for five pieces of diamond jewelry, but was sued for not paying the balance of $67,800, according to details that emerged when the lawsuit came to light last September. Thomas and the jewelry company reached a settlement that included a confidentiality agreement, leaving questions surrounding Thomas’s access to such a large sum of money unanswered.
Because Duke won a national championship at the end of that season — which would potentially be vacated if Thomas violated the NCAA’s amateurism guidelines — the school self-reported the situation to the NCAA.
Both the jeweler and Thomas refused to speak with the NCAA during the investigation, and neither was forced to do so by the power of subpoena. It’s clear from the short statement released by Duke on Tuesday that the NCAA not finding a violation in this case is directly related to the lack of information given by Thomas and the jeweler. Thomas told reporters in October that he “didn’t think” he committed a violation.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in October that Duke planned on fully cooperating with the NCAA in its investigation. This was the only time all season Krzyzewski addressed the topic.
“Before anything was made public, they started working together to go through a process of seeing what happened,” Krzyzewski said in October. “I have complete trust and confidence in all the parties involved and am very proud of our compliance record over the 33 years that we’ve been here.”
This article was selected for educational purposes only.
DI Legislative Council sets date and time for initial men’s basketball practice
|The Division I Legislative Council adopted legislation that puts the start date for men’s basketball practice at 42 days before a school’s first regular-season game. The measure also limits teams to 30 days of practice in that 42-day period.
The Council adopted a separate proposal that eliminated the requirement that the first men’s basketball practice begin no earlier than 5 p.m. on the first allowable day, preferring to allow schools to exercise their own best judgment when considering appropriate start times for basketball practice. Both proposals will go into effect for the 2013 season.
The proposals had been tabled since April 2012, when the Legislative Council tabled the bulk of the proposals in that year’s cycle to allow the Rules Working Group to fulfill its charge of making the Division I rulebook more meaningful, enforceable and supportive of student-athlete success.
The Rules Working Group and thought leaders from the membership and the National Association of Men’s Basketball Coaches recommended adoption of the proposal. It creates a flexible preseason practice schedule that allows practice days and off days instead of the current schedule that leads to practice occurring every possible day. The more flexible approach provides coaches with the ability to determine how to use practice opportunities.
The original proposal allowed practice to start 40 days before the first game, but the Council members adjusted the rule to accommodate for celebratory events often planned around the first men’s basketball practice. Because a significant number of teams start playing games on the first day the rules allow it (the second Friday in November), the first day for practice would fall on a Sunday, which is not conducive to celebratory events on campus. Expanding the time period to 42 days allows the first practice to be held on a Friday. The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association expressed preference to maintain its current 40-day period as an expansion posed potential conflicts with a weekend when recruiting can occur.
In other business, the Council recommended the Board suspend Prop. No. RWG 13-3, which eliminated the rule banning certain modes of communication (including text messaging) and eliminated numerical limits on phone calls. More than 75 schools requested an override of the rule, requiring the Board to reconsider its earlier action. The Council believes the proposal should be suspended and considered as a group with three other recruiting-related proposals that were either suspended by the Board or referred for further discussion before adoption.
The other proposals would:
The Board will consider the recommendation at its May 2 meeting in Indianapolis. Proposals adopted by the Council are considered final at the close of the Board meeting.