Pitino sues University of Louisville Athletic Association

12487027-mmmainQuite frankly, I don’t understand how Rick Pitino can summon the gall to sue an institution that has supported him throughout all of his controversy at Louisville.  Although there is only one record of NCAA misconduct prior to his stint at with the Cardinals, it served as a foreshadow of the infamy to come.

In the 70’s, he served as both an assistant and interim head coach for the University of Hawaii.  While there, the program was hit by NCAA sanctions, with Pitino implicated in eight of the 64 violations.  The violations involving Pitino included giving plane tickets to a player, arranging for athletes to get used cars and giving out coupons for free food at McDonald’s.

Ironically, he would take the reigns of a troubled program at the University of Kentucky, which was facing NCAA sanctions prior to his arrival.

“This program is as rich in tradition as there is in all of basketball, but you’ve been brought to your knees with a tremendous scandal.” – Rick Pitino. 

He left Kentucky with a national championship, would go on to coach in the NBA, and then return to the college ranks at Louisville, where his third, and latest strike cost him his job and maybe his legacy.

Strike one: In 2009, he confessed that he had an affair with the wife of the team’s equipment manager and paid for her to have an abortion.  The woman, Karen Sypher, was later convicted of trying to extort Pitino for millions of dollars.  C’mon man.

Strike two: In 2015, Andre McGee, a former director of basketball operations was found to have provided strippers and prostitutes to players and recruits in a campus dormitory over several years.  The school declared itself ineligible for postseason play in 2016, and the NCAA suspended Pitino for the first five games of the coming season.

The scandal was heavily reported by ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” and YahooSports.  The allegations are detailed in a book entitled “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” co-written by Katina Powell, who told ESPN she provided women for Louisville recruits in exchange for a total of $10,000 in payments.

Powell essentially served as a madam and in her book detailed about 21 recruiting “parties” with strippers and sex from 2010-2014 inside Billy Minardi Hall, an on-campus Louisville dorm for athletes and other students named for the late brother-in-law of Louisville coach Rick Pitino.  Powell gives an extensive interview with ESPN for its story and supplied information such as text messages and phone records.  One former Louisville recruit who is attending another school told ESPN:

I knew they weren’t college girls. It was crazy. It was like I was in a strip club.

Another player told ESPN that McGee…

would give us the money, just the recruits. A bunch of us were sitting there while they danced. Then the players left, and the recruits chose which one (of the dancers) they wanted.”

His lawyer, Scott Tompsett, planned an appeal of Pitino’s suspension because he said the ruling did not “identify a single specific thing that Coach Pitino should have done that he wasn’t already doing that would have either prevented or detected the illicit activities.”  Pitino has denied knowledge of the matter, to which Powell told ESPN, “How could he not know?”

Strike three: The latest scandal serves as the straw that broke the camel’s back.  In a federal complaint that I’ve previously posted, Louisville is alleged to have paid $100,000 to star recruit Brian Bowen.  That money was funneled from Adidas through Louisville in order to lure his commitment.  At the time he was recruited, Pitino told News Radio 840: “We got lucky on this one.  I had an A.A.U. director call me and ask me if I’d be interested in a player.  I said, ‘Yeah, I’d be really interested.’  In my 40 years of coaching, this is the luckiest I’ve been.”  Now, Bowen’s collegiate career, and Pitino’s coaching career are left in limbo.

Rick Pitino should use his absence from the basketball to re-evaluate his values, his purported lack of awareness, and what it means to be a leader.  He has been quick to point the finger of blame at everyone but himself.  In my opinion, even if he didn’t take part in either of the last two scandals, I attribute the consequences to blatant negligence.  How could this type of conduct continue under his nose?  Either he turned a blind eye to any instances of wrongdoing, or he elected to allow HIS team to be run behind closed doors by THEIR own devices, and not his.  That is not leadership.

ESPN reported the details of Pitino’s suit against his former employer, which made him the highest-paid coach in basketball at more than $7 million a year.

NBA personnel types mixed on what future holds for Michael Porter, Jr.

Microdiscectomy surgery may affect career path for Missouri’s talented forward

By: David Aldridge TNT Analyst | Nov 27, 2017 10:49 AM ET

 

Michael Porter, Jr. played just two minutes for Missouri before his season was shut down.  How is Michael Porter, Jr.’s Draft status impacted by his impending back surgery?

The Missouri freshman forward, a one-and-done lock, has generally been considered one of the top two incoming players in college basketball this season (along with Duke’s Marvin Bagley III). Both are at the top of most NBA teams’ current Draft boards.

But Porter played just two minutes for the Tigers this season before being shut down for good, with the team announcing last week that the 6-foot-10 forward would have a microdiscectomy — removing some of the bone over the nerve root and disc material under the nerve root, to alleviate pain — and miss the rest of the season. As this is almost certainly his only season in college, NBA teams will have to rely solely on what they saw of Porter in high school and the AAU circuit to make Draft evaluations, assuming Porter, as expected, declares for the 2018 Draft.

NBA front-office types still view Michael Porter, Jr. as a top-flight prospect.

Backs scare NBA types. They tend to linger throughout a player’s career; once Larry Bird’s back got jacked up, it didn’t get better, no matter what treatment he tried. The same with Tracy McGrady and others who played despite the pain, year after year. The microdiscectomy, of course, is supposed to alleviate some of that pain.

The uncertainty of how much Porter has been in, how much he’ll be in and how much he’ll be able to tolerate once he’s banging in the paint or getting knocked down on drives, taking charges, etc., is what NBA scouts and executives can only guess at right now.

I asked a dozen personnel people how concerned they were with Porter, Jr.’s surgery and if it will impact where he’s picked. The responses were mixed.

“If it’s a standard microdiscectomy, it shouldn’t be much of an issue (lots of those procedures on NBA players),” one general manager said Sunday via text. “If it’s more than that, the result could be of greater impact. If he can do a few draft workouts, he should be just fine. It may play out like the (Joel) Embiid draft where Joel was affected by a couple picks (because of the foot), but not much beyond that.”

But another executive had a different view.

“No doubt it hurts him,” the exec said. “Obviously the medical evaluation will be more important and often times as we know, the agents with players at this level withhold information from most of the teams so it will be an interesting decision as to how they handle. Backs are like knees and serious foot/ankle injuries. Tough ones.”

All will be watching to see how Porter, Jr.’s rehab program is structured for clues about how soon he’ll be back.

“It depends obviously on the outcome of the procedure and level of rehab success,” another GM said. “But it would take a real problematic situation to cause a big draft slip. He should stay well inside the Top 5.”

The top of the 2018 Draft looks potentially loaded, with Bagley, Arizona big man DeAndre Ayton and European wing Luka Doncic all expected to be taken high when and if they enter the Draft. No one I spoke with believes Porter, Jr, will fall out of the top five, though his position within the top five could slide a little.

“Every team in the top 5 in the lottery will do their medical due diligence and see the potential long-term impact,” another GM texted Sunday. “They will also compare his talent upside to the other top players in the draft. His lack of body of work could either hurt or help him based on how well Doncic, Bagley, and Ayton play throughout the year.”

If there are no complications and he makes a complete recovery, the surgery will not have any bearing on his draft position for me. But, I believe it will change how other people and ownership look at it.”

ANONYMOUS NBA PERSONNEL MAN, ON MICHAEL PORTER, JR.

Said another longtime personnel man: “he will still be a top five pick but might not go number 1 now. Almost like Embiid. If he were healthy, he would have been number 1 but with injury went 3. It depends where the gap is from top tier to next tier. If teams see 5 guys at the top he goes 5. If they see 3 guys he goes 3.”

And another: “it’ll be hard to take him #1, but unlikely he drops out of top 5 IMO.”

Another pro personnel man pointed out the injury will only make the input of higher-ups on a team even more acute.

“If there are no complications and he makes a complete recovery, the surgery will not have any bearing on his draft position for me,” the pro personnel man said. “But, I believe it will change how other people and ownership look at it.”

Porter posted a picture of an empty room on his Instagram feed Sunday, with a caption: “Just letting y’all know whoever said it was gonna take 3-4 months to recover lied” with two smiley faces afterward. (Porter neglected to inform that the original prognosis was delineated by Missouri, in its original Tweet about his impending surgery.)

Statement from :

Michael Porter, Jr. will undergo surgery on Tuesday, Nov. 21, in Dallas, Texas. The procedure, a microdiscectomy of the L3-L4 spinal discs, has a projected recovery time of three-four months and will likely cause him to miss the remainder of the season.

The immediate, fact-free speculation online Sunday night was that Porter was hinting at a possible return before the end of Missouri’s season. But no one knows for sure. That’s going to be a recurring theme when it comes to Porter and the NBA during the next seven months, before Draft night 2018.

“This will be like any other injury,” an assistant GM said. “You have to get as much information as possible and then determine if it is worth risk. However, back issues are generally more concerning than most. It’s gonna come down to information, information, & more information.”

http://www.nba.com/article/2017/11/27/morning-tip-future-missouri-michael-porter-jr-nba-executives-thoughts?collection=blogtable#/

 

Will a DraftExpress Lawsuit Change the World of Video Highlights?

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You might not be familiar with DeAndre Daniels. The Toronto Raptors selected him with the No. 37 pick in the 2014 NBA draft. Now 25 years old, the 6’9″ forward has yet to appear in an NBA regular–season game. He has played professionally in Australia and Italy and most recently played stateside for the G League Erie BayHawks.

The odds of you knowing about Daniels are certainly higher if you are a Raptors fan or a UConn fan—he played a key role in the Huskies winning a national title in 2014. And if you follow high school basketball and college recruiting, Daniels’s name is likely to ring a bell. He was a five-star recruit out of Taft High School in Woodlands, California, and also played post-graduate ball at the IMG Academy.

There’s another group of basketball fans who when they hear the name “DeAndre Daniels” think, “I remember that guy.”

That group would be NBA draft fanatics.

Back in 2014, those who love to consume all things NBA draft likely came across scouting reports and video analysis of Daniels. In doing so they probably encountered a DraftExpress.com profile centered on Daniels. The profile, which is accessible for free and doesn’t require any kind of registration, includes an 875-word scouting report co-authored by Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz. The profile assesses how well Daniels projects to play in the NBA. It also includes a 12-minute, 24-second video that blends a series of short highlights of Daniels playing at UConn with graphics discussing Daniels’s strengths and weaknesses.

The DraftExpress profile on Daniels is now the subject of a federal lawsuit. And it is a lawsuit that could impact how websites show video clips of athletes.

Getty Images Sport

 

Wazee Digital, a technology company that licenses video footage for the NCAA, has sued DraftExpress and its founder and owner, Givony, for copyright infringement. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York back in April, highlights the DraftExpress profile on Daniels to assert that DraftExpress has knowingly—and without Wazee’s consent—used video content that Wazee had registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Wazee stresses that it derives “a substantial revenue stream from licensing game footage to various entities and media outlets, who create game highlights or other video montages and rebroadcast those videos on television and on the Internet.” DraftExpress, Wazee reasons, ought to pay for this content as well.

Benefiting Wazee is that courts have held that copyright law protects sports broadcasts. This dynamic ensures that the NCAA, as well as professional sports leagues, can earn substantial revenue from licensing rights to broadcast games.

Yet copyright protection in a broadcast does not, by itself, prevent DraftExpress from legally using portions of the content. To that end, DraftExpress asserts that its use of copyrighted broadcasts is through “fair use.” Generally speaking, the legal doctrine of fair use permits copying of protected material for certain uses. When fair use applies, the copying party need not obtain permission or submit payment to the party in possession of the copyright.

Although fair use analysis is somewhat subjective, federal law and the U.S Supreme Court have identified five basic factors. None of these five factors are necessarily more influential than the other and they are usually balanced against each another.

The first factor is the purpose of the copying. When the intent is for news reporting and sharing of information, fair use is more likely to apply. However, copying motivated by pursuit of money is less likely to gain protection. On one hand, DraftExpress can convincingly argue that its content is newsworthy and informative. Profiles of draft-eligible players educate NBA draft fans, journalists and others about those players. Accompanying video analysis only further informs readers. DraftExpress can also stress that its website offers such content for free. On the other hand, DraftExpress, like most sports websites, profits from advertisements, including pre-roll advertisements that run before videos. DraftExpress has seemingly secured a sizable audience to watch those advertisements given that ESPN recently paid for the right to publish future DraftExpress content.

The second factor is the nature of the original work. In this instance, the original work consists of videos copyrighted by Wazee. The more creative the original work, the more protection it tends to gain. In contrast, the more factual the original work, the less protection applies. The underlying logic is that creative content ought to receive significant protection in order to properly incentivize inventiveness—if creative individuals knew that their work could be easily copied, they might become less likely to invest their time, energy and money into developing those works. Conversely, works derived from facts and events are less original and less deserving of protection. Video of a basketball game requires some degree of creativity since it reflects broadcast design choices as well as studio direction. At the same time, video of a basketball game is factual in nature: it depicts a live sporting event that is controlled by the athletes, coaches and referees—not the broadcasters.

The third factor is the extent and substantiality of copying. A person who engages in unauthorized copying is more likely to gain protection under fair use if the amount of copying is relatively minimal. DraftExpress stresses that its video of Daniels consists of only 66 seconds of copyrighted video from game broadcasts that are several hours long. The substantiality aspect of the copying refers whether the material copied is critical to the original work. It seems unlikely that short clips of Daniels performing various moves on the court would be considered the “heart” of any original broadcast.

Fourth is how the relevant copying impacts the marketplace. Wazee contends that DraftExpress has caused the company to lose licensing fees that it believes DraftExpress owes. If DraftExpress can use such video without paying, DraftExpress is arguably diluting the value of Wazee’s broadcast licenses. After all, such a practice could encourage other websites to copy Wazee’s broadcasts without permission or pay. On the other hand, DraftExpress can assert that the relatively small amount of copying of Daniels and other players does not impact Wazee’s ability to license broadcasts of the entire games. Stated differently, DraftExpress featuring video highlights arguably doesn’t implicate the marketplace of selling entire game broadcasts.

Finally, the fifth factor is whether the “derivative work” (i.e., DraftExpress scouting videos) is sufficiently transformative from the original work. The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized so-called “transformative use.” The basic idea is that the derivative work uses the original work in such a distinct way that it becomes “transformed” into a different kind of work. DraftExpress’ legal filings suggest the company is confident it will prevail based on the transformative factor. In one filing, attorneys from DraftExpress’ law firm, Miller Barondess, detail how DraftExpress’ video of Daniels incorporates DraftExpress’s own original analysis and graphics:

[O]riginal graphics are followed by roughly 30-second-long clips, each illustrating one of Daniels’ strengths in actual gameplay situations. After assessing Daniels’ strengths, the Video Breakdown follows the same format to dissect and analyze his weaknesses (strengths begin at 28 seconds); (weaknesses begin at 6:01).

DraftExpress’ analysis of Daniels’ “Physical Tools” is illustrative. The “Physical Tools” segment begins 43 seconds into the video. An introductory graphic provides an overview of Daniels’ “Physical Tools,” which include “[e]xcellent size and length.”

Expect attorneys for Wazee, who have retained Adam Hirsch of Kutak Rock, to counter these points by insisting that graphic overlays and similar adjustments do not alter the underlying — and copyrighted — video of Daniels playing at UConn.

Like any lawsuit, Wazee v. DraftExpress could settle at any time. But if it proceeds toward a trial, its outcome would be important to anyone who posts highlight videos online and earns money by doing so. This is true for those who have monetized their YouTube accounts.

By: Michael McCann, November 27, 2017 | https://www.si.com/nba/2017/11/27/draftexpress-video-deandre-daniels-lawsuit-wazee-nba-draftLink to video conversation regarding the legal aspects at play here.

 

McCann, SI’s legal analyst, provides legal and business analysis for The Crossover. He is also the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of New Hampshire School of Law and co-author with Ed O’Bannon of the forthcoming book Court Justice: The Inside Story of My Battle Against the NCAA.

Louisville not reinstating freshman Brian Bowen at center of FBI investigation

Bowen will remain on scholarship and is free to transfer, the school announced.

Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

Brian Bowen will not play for Louisville basketball this season, the school has announced. Bowen is the five-star freshman widely believed to be involved in the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball.

The FBI alleged that Louisville agreed to pay “Player-10” $100,000 through Adidas for his commitment to the school. Bowen was suspended indefinitely following details of the report, and has since been cleared by the FBI. Louisville reportedly chose not to reinstate him.

While Bowen will not play for Louisville this season, the school announced he will remain on scholarship and is free to transfer.

Here’s the official statement from the school:

Brian Bowen will not play at the University of Louisville. He may remain on scholarship but will not be allowed to practice or compete

There has been major fallout at Louisville since the FBI investigation became public. Head coach Rick Pitino was fired, as was AD Tom Jurich.  Bowen’s commitment to Louisville in early June came as a major surprise throughout college basketball. The McDonald’s All-American was thought to be choosing between Michigan State and Texas before his camp reportedly reached out to Louisville at the last minute to set up an official visit.

Here’s what Pitino said after Bowen pledged:

“We got lucky on this one,” Pitino told Terry Meiners of News Radio 840. “I had an AAU director call me and ask me if I’d be interested in a player (Bowen). I saw him against another great player from Indiana. I said ‘Yeah, I’d be really interested.’ They had to come in unofficially, pay for their hotel, pay for their meals. We spent zero dollars recruiting a five-star athlete who I loved when I saw him play. In my 40 years of coaching this is the luckiest I’ve been.”

Former assistant David Padgett was named interim coach, and has guided the Cardinals to 4-0 start. Louisville has games coming up against ranked teams in Purdue and Seton Hall later this month.

“Brian has been a responsible young man for the institution since he enrolled,” interim Louisville athletics director Vince Tyra said in a statement. “He has endeared himself to his teammates and the men’s basketball staff with a positive attitude during a very difficult period.”

Federal Appeals Court Upholds Ruling NCAA Violates Antitrust Laws

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld a lower court ruling that NCAA rules limiting what athletes can receive while playing sports violate antitrust laws, but the three­ judge panel also threw out a plan that would have allowed schools to provide deferred athletes compensation of as much as $5,000 per year.

“The NCAA is not above the antitrust laws, and courts cannot and must not shy away from requiring the NCAA to play by the Sherman Act’s rules,” the panel wrote. “In this case, the NCAA’s rules have been more restrictive than necessary to maintain its tradition of amateurism in support of the college sports market. The Rule of Reason requires that the NCAA permit its schools to provide up to the cost of attendance to their student athletes. It does not require more.”

The three ­judge appellate panel of Sidney R. Thomas, Jay S. Bybee and Gordon J. Quist was unanimous in its finding that the NCAA’s rules violate antitrust laws.

Thomas added in a partial concurrence and partial dissent that he would have concurred with U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken “in all respects,” including allowing the $5,000 per year above the cost of attendance.

MORE: Read the entire ruling by the appeal panel (http://www.gannett­cdn.com/experiments/usatoday/Sports/2015­09­30­ncaa­federal­appeal­rulingobannon.pdf)

While the NCAA emerges victorious in avoiding the prospect of schools being able to offer additional money to athletes, the appellate panel’s finding relative to the antitrust laws pleased lawyers for the plaintiffs. It sets the stage for the association to attempt to seek a re­hearing of the case from a wider panel of 9th Circuit judges or to try to take the case to the Supreme Court.

Ed O’Bannon – The former UCLA basketball star sued the NCAA after he realized his likeness was used in a video game.

During a conference call Monday, the NCAA’s chief legal officer Donald Remy said it was too soon for the association to determine whether it will pursue either of those options, which also are available to the plaintiffs.

“We will make those judgments in short order,” Remy said. The sides basically have 14 days to pursue 9th Circuit rehearing and 90 days to seek review from the Supreme Court. Sathya Gosselin, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told USA TODAY Sports his side is reviewing its options about further action.

In addition to the NCAA facing other legal challenges ­­ including one that returns to court Thursday ­­ the appellate panel ruled that language from a 1984 Supreme Court ruling that the NCAA has relied upon to preserve its amateurism system is “dicta” ­­ essentially related commentary, but not part of the case’s value as precedent.

That case, NCAA v. Board of Regents, was about control of college football TV rights but the Supreme Court’s opinion included the statement that “in order to preserve the character and quality of the (NCAA’s) ‘product,’ athletes must not be paid, must be required to attend class and the like.”

The NCAA has relied upon this – and other ­­ language from the Board of Regents ruling in successfully defending its amateurism system in many prior legal cases.

But the appellate panel wrote, in part “even if the language in Board of Regents addressing amateurism were not dicta, it would not support the tremendous weight that the NCAA seeks to place upon it.”

Gosselin said the importance of that portion of the opinion “cannot be overstated. For decades, the NCAA has brandished the Board of Regents decision and claimed limitless antitrust immunity as to its amateurism rules.”

The NCAA is facing further legal challenges about its athlete­ compensation rules, and Wednesday’s ruling comes one day before Wilken is scheduled to hold a hearing on whether to grant class ­action status to a pair of lawsuits seeking to basically prevent the association from having any limit on what schools can offer athletes in football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball.

The appellate panel appeared to take that case into consideration on a number of levels.

The opinion, written by Bybee, states, in part, “we have little doubt that plaintiffs will continue to challenge the arbitrary limit imposed by the district court until they have captured the full value of their” names, images and likenesses.

Bybee’s opinion also says: “The difference between offering student ­athletes education­ related compensation and offering them cash sums untethered to educational expenses is not minor; it is a quantum leap. Once that line is crossed, we see no basis for returning to a rule of amateurism and no defined stopping point. … At that point the NCAA will have surrendered its amateurism principles entirely and transitioned from its ‘particular brand of football’ to minor league status.”

But Bybee’s opinion also stated in its conclusion that “we wish to emphasize the limited scope of the decision we have reached” – that Wilken’s intended plan to require the NCAA to allow schools to pay athletes pay up to $5,000 is invalid.

During a conference call Monday afternoon NCAA President Mark Emmert said: “I think the ruling does provide greater clarity on a number of fronts … The fundamental notion of pay for play, as it’s often referred to, is at odds with the notion of amateurism and at odds with the fundamental underpinnings of collegiate athletics. The ruling has those statements in there in pretty direct language. I hope that will, in some ways limit some of the legal arguments that are being made.”

The case began in the summer of 2009 with a suit filed on behalf of Ed O’Bannon, a former UCLA basketball player. It eventually boiled down to the plaintiffs seeking an injunction that would heavily overhaul the NCAA’s limits on what Bowl Subdivision football and Division I men’s basketball players can receive for playing sports and for the use of the names, images and likenesses in in live television broadcasts, rebroadcasts of games and video games.

A trial was held in June 2014 and Wilken ruled in August. She found that the NCAA’s rules at the time – which basically limited athletes to tuition, room, board, books and fees ­­ “unreasonably restrain trade” in violation of antitrust laws.

In her ruling, injunction and a subsequent interpretation of the injunction, she said the NCAA would be able to cap the amount of new compensation that the football and men’s basketball players can receive while they are in school, but that cap would not be allowed to be an amount that is less than the athletes’ cost of attending school.

In addition, Wilken decided to let schools and conferences deposit money in trust for football and men’s basketball players that will become payable when they leave school or their eligibility expires. Under this setup, the NCAA would be allowed to set a cap on the amount of money that may be held in trust, but that cap cannot be less than $5,000 in 2014 dollars ­­ now about $5,040 ­­ for every year the athletes remain academically eligible.

The new benefits were set to be put in place for both incoming and returning athletes, beginning with the 2016­17 school year.

In January 2015 ­­ taking advantage of a new NCAA governance setup that allows them greater autonomy in rules making ­­ schools and athlete representatives from the NCAA’s five wealthiest conferences voted to let athletes in any sport receive scholarships that cover the cost of attendance. The rules change means any Division I school can make such awards, beginning with the upcoming fall semester, but none are required to do so.

Steve Berkowitz, USA TODAY Sports, September 30, 2015

2015 National Sports Law Institute of Marquette University Law School Conference

WHAT: Maintaining Fairness, Integrity and Safety in Sports Conference hosted by the National Sports Law Institute of Marquette University Law School

The conference will feature panels discussing fairness and integrity in sports, concussions and safety issues in sports, SafeSport, and sexual harassment issues in sport. Registration cost ranges from Free – $150 Conference Registration .

WHEN: October 16, 2015

WHERE: Marquette University Law School, Eckstein Hall

WHO: The conference luncheon will feature a Keynote Speech from Allan H. (Bud) Selig, Commissioner Emeritus, Major League Baseball, Distinguished Lecturer in Sports Law and Policy, Marquette University Law School, and member, NSLI Board of Advisors.

Panelists will include: Paul M. Anderson, Mary K. Braza, Michael Lenard, Barbara Osborne, and many more professionals within the sports industry.

For more information visit: Conference Website

National Labor Relations Board Rejects Northwestern Football Players’ Union Bid

The National Labor Relations Board on Monday dismissed a petition by Northwestern football players who were seeking to unionize, effectively denying their claim that they are university employees and should be allowed to collectively bargain. In a unanimous decision that was a clear victory for the college sports establishment, the five-member board declined to exert its jurisdiction in the case and preserved, for now, one of the N.C.A.A.’s core principles: that college athletes are primarily students.

The board did not rule directly on the central question in the case — whether the players, who spend long hours on football and help generate millions of dollars for Northwestern, are university employees. Instead, it found that the novelty of the petition and its potentially wide-ranging impacts on college sports would not have promoted “stability in labor relations.” Citing competitive balance and the potential impact on N.C.A.A. rules, the board made it clear that it harbored many reservations about the ramifications of granting college athletes, much less a single team, collective bargaining rights.

“The board has never before been asked to assert jurisdiction in a case involving college football players, or college athletes of any kind,” the seven-page decision read, adding, “Even if scholarship players were regarded as analogous to players for professional sports teams who are considered employees for purposes of collective bargaining, such bargaining has never involved a bargaining unit consisting of a single team’s players.”

Northwestern University, which strongly urged its players to vote down the union ahead of last year’s secret ballot election, released a statement from Alan Cubbage, a spokesman. “We believe strongly that unionization and collective bargaining are not the appropriate methods to address the concerns raised by student-athletes,” it read. “We are pleased that the N.L.R.B. has agreed with the university’s position.”

Across college sports, many others praised the ruling. The commissioners of 31 of the largest conferences issued a statement calling the N.L.R.B. decision “the right call,” and Donald Remy, the N.C.A.A.’s chief legal officer, said it would allow the association “to continue to make progress for the college athlete without risking the instability to college sports that the N.L.R.B. recognized might occur under the labor petition.”

The decision is a blow to the union movement in college sports, which was led by the former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter and backed by the College Athletes Players Association, a United Steelworkers-supported group that sought to represent the players. The group could sue to force the N.L.R.B. to exert jurisdiction in the case, but the little-used option would be akin to a Hail Mary pass.

Ramogi Huma, president of the College Athletes Players Association, said he was disappointed by the decision but would not rule out future unionization attempts at other colleges.

“It’s notable they didn’t rule that players aren’t employees,” he said. “The door is still open.”

The board wrote that its decision applied only to the Northwestern case — there was no precedent established for graduate teaching assistants or student janitors — and left open the possibility it could re-examine the issue if college athletes brought a similar case in the future.

“This decision is politically smart,” said Joe Ambash, a lawyer who represented Brown University in front of the N.L.R.B. when its graduate teaching students sought to unionize. “The board would have faced a firestorm of protest if they made college football players employees.”

In announcing the union push last year, Colter had hoped to reset the balance of power between players, their universities and the N.C.A.A. He argued that with all the time demands on players and the ever-increasing money flowing through college sports, players deserved a greater say in issues like safety and long-term health care.

Peter Ohr, a regional director of the N.L.R.B. in Chicago, ruled last year that players on scholarship were employees based on the hours they spent each week on football, the strict rules set by coaches and the financial aid they received as compensation. Northwestern players — 76 were eligible — voted whether to certify the union last April, but the votes were impounded pending a ruling by the full N.L.R.B. Now that the board has ruled in favor of Northwestern, the ballots will not be counted.

“There may have been some sympathy for the players’ argument,” said Wilma Liebman, a former chairwoman of the N.L.R.B. “But siding with the players may have seemed like too great a leap, so this is a compromise.”

Chief among the board’s reasons for declining to consider the case were the complexities of an N.C.A.A. in which one team might be unionized while others were not, and whether a union would negotiate terms that conflicted with the association’s rules. The N.L.R.B., which has jurisdiction only over the private sector, was also reluctant to wade into territory that could have raised implications for public universities. A vast majority of top-level college football programs are at public colleges, and Northwestern is the only private institution in the 14-member Big Ten Conference.

In the aftermath of Ohr’s ruling, two states — Michigan and Ohio — pushed laws that banned college athletes from unionizing.

Still, much has changed in college sports since Colter and Huma announced the union petition. The N.C.A.A. changed its governance structure to allow its wealthiest conferences to make some of their own rules, and those leagues, in turn, increased the value of a scholarship by a few thousand dollars and now guarantee them for four years. A number of conferences and individual colleges have pledged to offer more comprehensive health care. And last summer a federal judge found that the N.C.A.A. had violated antitrust laws by not allowing players to profit from their names (the ruling was stayed last month by an appellate court).

“The Northwestern players’ courage has done a lot to change the game,” Huma said. “They showed how much power the players have when they assert their rights under the law.”

August 17, 2015

Ohio State PG D’Angelo Russell Picks CAA’s Austin Brown And Aaron Mitz

Jonathan Givony of Draft Express announced via Twitter that Ohio State standout freshman D’Angelo Russell has signed a representation agreement with CAA’s Austin Brown and Aaron Mitz.

According to Chad Ford’s Big Board, the Louisville, Kentucky native is a projected top three pick in the upcoming 2015 NBA Draft behind Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns and Duke’s Jahlil Okafor. The recent activity on Russell’s Instagram account indicates that he seems to like the idea of being drafted either second or third in the upcoming draft; liking pictures of himself in both Lakers and 76ers jerseys . The 6’5″, 180 lb, 19 year old averaged 19.3 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 5.0 APG in his one year with the Buckeyes while leading Ohio State to a 24-11 record and NCAA Tournament appearance.

It was clear during Russell’s short stint in Columbus that he was leader on and off of the court. He is highly regarded by his coaches and teammates as a tireless worker, and as just a freshman, Russell was the Buckeyes go to player. It was clear early on that Thad Matta had put the team in the young freshman’s hands. Russell is highly touted for his superb court vision drawing comparisons to the all-time great passers. Russell has clear superstar potential in the NBA, it is only fitting that he has signed with one of the premier player agencies, joining players such as Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, and Paul George who are also represented by CAA’s Basketball Division.

By Steven Swick | Sports Agent Blog

http://sportsagentblog.com/2015/05/21/ohio-state-pg-dangelo-russell-picks-caas-austin-brown-and-aaron-mitz/

2015 NFL Draft Players/Agents & Analysis

Highlights

  • SportStars had 20 clients drafted, the most of any agency. Three of those 20 were 1st rounders
  • Relativity Sports had arguably the best draft of any agency. They had 17 clients selected with 6 going in the 1st round, including 3 of the first 7 and 5 of the top 20.
  • Lagardere Unlimited had 11 players drafted, with 3 going in the 1st round
  • Athletes First had 10 players drafted overall and 4 1st round picks
  • Rep 1 Sports had 7 clients selected, including #2 overall pick Marcus Mariota
  • Element Sports Group had 7 clients selected
  • Impact Sports had 6 clients selected
  • BC Sports had 6 clients selected
  • Rosenhaus Sports had 6 clients selected
  • Select Sports Group had 6 clients get drafted
  • Priority Sports had 6 players get drafted
  • JL Sports had 6 clients selected
  • CAA Sports had 5 clients drafted
  • Eastern Athletic Services had 5 clients drafted
  • Elite Athletes had 5 clients selected
  • PlayersRep had 5 clients drafted
  • Kelley Drye had 4 players drafted
  • National Sports Agency had 4 clients selected
  • Octagon had 4 players selected
  • Authentic Athletix had 3 players drafted
  • Enter-Sports had 3 clients drafted
  • Exclusive Sports Group had 3 clients selected
  • Five-Star Athlete Management had 3 players drafted, 2 of which were 1st rounders
  • NC Sports had 3 clients drafted
  • Perennial Sports had 3 players drafted
  • Pro Football Syndicate had 3 players selected
  • Reign Sports had 3 clients drafted
  • Jameis Winston, the #1 overall pick, is the only NFL client for The Legacy Agency

Sports Agent Blog’s 2015 NFL Draft Database

Entire Database of Draft Picks/Agents can be found here:
http://sportsagentblog.com/2015/05/10/2015-nfl-draft-playersagents-and-analysis/

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