course on Amateur Sports Law - Thorton

By Hazel Daniels,2014-11-14 18:52
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course on Amateur Sports Law - Thorton

    Amateur Sports Law Outline Spring 2004

    I. Legal Relationships in Sports

    ; NCAA Structure

    o Within the NCAA, there are separate divisions for members

    ; Three Divisions: Division I, Division II, and Division III o Division I is composed of the major athletic powers in the country, as well

    as many other institutions that choose to compete at the major college


    ; Division I is divided into Division I-A and Division I-AA for

    purposes of regulating football

    o The members govern the organization through the establishment of rules

    designed to further its purposes and goals

    o The operating structure is that of three federations:

    ; Day to day operation of the organization is overseen by the 20

    member Executive Committee

    ; Composed of institutional CEOs charged with ensuring that

    each division operates with the purpose, policies and

    principles of the association

    ; NCAA also has a permanent professional staff, with individual

    departments for administration, business, championships,

    communications, communications, compliance service programs,

    legislative services and publishing

    ; Jurisdiction and Responsibilities of the NCAA

    o Duties include athlete eligibility, recruiting, championships, rules of

    competition, and enforcement

    o The professional staff administers the rules and regulations of the


    o Membership Services oversees the bulk of the administration o The enforcement department handles the investigation and prosecution of

    violation of the rules

    o Two concepts of the NCAA:

    ; (1) Those relating to amateurism

    ; All NCAA student athletes are to be amateurs and the

    association’s regulations set out explicit definitions of

    amateurism and specific prohibitions on the acceptance of

    extra benefits

    ; Getting ―paid‖ involves more than just the obvious salary

    or stipend

    o It is a violation of the rules for benefits to be

    provided to parents or close relatives of student


    ; Amateur status is forfeited when an athlete retains an agent

    or declares himself eligible for a professional sports draft

    (Note: NBA Draft)


    ; There are also restrictions on promotional activities that

    benefit athletes because of their athletic abilities

    ; There are restrictions on employment for athletes on full


    ; (2) The importance of education

    ; The associations establishes standards for initial eligibility

    of athletes entering the institutions, including specific

    thresholds for standardized tests and satisfactory

    completion of a minimum number of core courses in high


    ; NCAA also sets forth specific requirements for

    ―satisfactory progress towards a degree‖ that athletes must


    o Student athletes typically have four years of

    eligibility, and must complete them in five years o NCAA Rules limit recruiting

    ; Number of visits by coaches, the number of visits to campuses by

    athletes, number and types of contacts made by coaches, the times

    of year that contacts may be made

    ; Restrict the participation of alumni in recruiting o NCAA restrictions once athlete enrolled at institution

    ; Number of hours for practice, times of year for competition,

    number of contests

    ; NCAA bylaws require that each members control its program in a manner

    consistent with the rules and regulations of the association (The CEO of the

    institution has this ultimate responsibility)

    o The most serious violation the university can commit is ―failure to

    maintain institutional control‖

    ; Athletes Rights

    o Rights Arising from the Athletic Scholarship

    ; NCAA regulates the number of scholarships available and the

    terms of the scholarship

    ; Taylor v. Wake Forest University

    ; Facts: Taylor went to play football at Wake. He received

    terrible grades, and told his coach he would miss practice

    so he could study. His scholarship was terminated. Taylor

    sued for recovery of education expenses after his

    scholarship was terminated.

    ; Rules/App:

    o Taylor knew his scholarship was awarded for

    academic and athletic achievement

    o In consideration of this scholarship, Taylor agreed

    to maintain his athletic eligibility, and this meant

    both physically and scholastically


    o As long as his grades equaled or exceeded the

    requirements, he was maintaining his scholastic


    o Participation in and attendance at practice were

    required to maintain his physical eligibility

    o When Taylor refused to practice in the absence of

    any injury or excuse other than to devote more time

    to studies, he was not complying with his

    contractual obligations

    ; Held: For Wake Forest

    ; Ross v. Creighton University

    ; Facts: Ross, a poor high school student took a basketball scholarship to Creighton. The school promised he would receive a ―meaningful education.‖ Ross had a D average at the school, while taking many meaningless courses. He alleges the Athletic department advised him to take these courses, and his work was done for him. Ross asserts that the school failed to provide him with sufficient and competent tutoring, as it had promised. When he graduated he had skills equivalent to a child. He is suing the school for negligence and breach of contract in failing to educate him.

    ; Ross’ Theories:

    o (1) Educational Malpractice

    ; Courts defer to the schools’ decisions

    regarding academic qualifications of the


    ; The court bars any attempt to repackage an

    educational malpractice claim as a contract


    o (2) Creighton negligently inflicted emotional

    distress on him for employment after college

    o (3) Negligent Admission

    ; Rejected by court because there are no

    adequate standards against which to measure

    such a claim

    o (4) Breach of Contract in failing to educate him

    ; The basic relation between a student and a

    university is contractual in nature

    ; To assert this claim, he must point to an

    identifiable contractual promise that the

    school failed to honor

    ; The appeals court disagreed with the trial court, and held the allegations of the complaint are sufficient to warrant further proceedings


    o The court recognized that courts should not take on

    the job of supervising the relationships between

    colleges and student athletes

    o Further, the court noted that a formal university

    contract is rarely employed, and the terms of the

    agreement are usually implied from university

    publications, custom and usage

    o But the court believed Ross’ specific and narrow

    claims that he was barred from any participation in

    and benefit from the University’s academic program

    could be decided by the district court without

    second-guessing the professional judgment of the


    ; Jackson v. Drake University

    ; Facts: Drake hired Tom Abatemarco as their head basketball coach, without being aware of an SI article alleging his reputation as a recruiter. Abatemarco recruited Jackson, and emphasized he would receive an education, including a tutor provided to Jackson. The coach scheduled practices during Jackson’s study time and tutoring successions. The coach made Jackson go to practice, with threats his scholarship would be taken away. The coach offered people to do Jackson’s work and for him to take easy classes, which he declined. During practices the coach singled out Jackson, and Jackson quit the team. His scholarship was then taken away

    ; Breach of Contract

    o The court concluded that the financial agreement do

    not implicitly contain a right to ―play‖ basketball

    ; Negligence (Educational Malpractice)

    o Reasons for not recognizing this claim (from Moore


    ; 1. A lack of a satisfactory standard of care

    by which to measure the defendant’s


    ; 2. To recognize this claim would result in

    enormous litigation

    ; 3. To recognize this claim would force the

    courts blatantly to interfere with the internal

    working of a school

    ; 4. It has been recognized that academic

    freedom thrives on the autonomous

    decision-making of the academy itself

    o Jackson’s claim asks the court to pass judgment on

    the manner in which Drake runs its basketball


    program, which does have an academic


    o The court does not recognize this Jackson’s

    negligence claim

    ; Notes:

    ; NCAA defines an amateur student athlete as one who

    engages in a particular sport for the education, physical,

    mental and social benefits derived therefrom and to whom

    participation in that sport is an avocation.

    o Workers’ Compensation

    ; Injured employees give up their rights to pursue common law tort

    claims in exchange for a more certain, recovery under the workers’

    compensation act

    ; A WC claim makes the employer strictly liable for an injury to an

    employee that occurs in the course of employment ; An employee is defined as a person in the service of another under

    a contract of hire, written or implied

    ; Test: Whether particular worker is an employee or an independent


    ; Two Categories:

    o 1. Nature of the work test Court focuses on

    whether the worker’s efforts are inextricably linked

    to a significant aspect of the employer’s business

    o 2. Right to control test The focus is upon the

    employer’s ability to manipulate the efforts of the


    ; Whether personal injury arose out of or was in the court of


    o Courts look for a causal connection between the

    injury and the employment

    o The test is met if it is the employment which brings

    the worker into the orbit of the risk that in fact

    resulted in injury

    ; Recovery: Medical expenses and lost earnings

    ; Waldrep v. Texas Employers Insurance Association

    ; Facts: Waldrep played football for TCU where he severed

    an injury that paralyzed him. He filed a WC claim for his


    ; Discussion:

    o Is a student athlete on scholarship and employee of

    the school?

    ; The letter of intent and financial aid

    agreements are contracts, but they only

    partially set forth the relationship between

    the student and the school


    ; One may receive a benefit from another in

    return for services and not be an employee

    ; An employee is a person in the service of

    another under a contract of hire, express or

    implied, oral or written, whereby the

    employer has the right to direct the means or

    details of the work and not merely the result

    to be accomplished

    o Was there a contract for hire?

    ; The NCAA does not consider the acceptance

    of financial aid from the school to be ―taking


    ; Waldrep was not on the payroll, he was

    intended to participate at TCU as a student,

    not an employee

    ; He could not be fired as an employee o Right to Direct the means of Waldrep’s work

    ; To determine whether there is a right to

    control the court looks to the terms of the

    employment contract

    ; Where there is no express contract, the

    exercise of control may be the best evidence

    available to show the actual terms of the


    ; TCU did not have the right to direct or

    control all of Waldrep’s activities during his

    tenure at the school

    o Held: Waldrep was not an employee of TCU, and

    cannot get WC

    ; Note: Schools are typically insured for claims against the

    university, which covers players who are injured during play

    o Coaching and Institutional Contracts

    ; Coaching Contracts

    ; Rodgers v. Georgia Tech Athletic Association

    o Facts: Rogers was head football coach at Georgia

    Tech. His contract provided him with certain

    prerequisites, which are incidental profits attaching

    to the position beyond a salary. Rogers was

    relieved of his head coaching position, but remained

    an employee of the school. He sues to recover these


    o Issue: Whether Rogers is entitled to recover the

    value of certain prerequisites or fringe benefits of

    his position as head football coach under the terms

    of his contract.

    o Discussion:


    ; First, look to the intention of the parties as to

    the scope of the prerequisites to which

    Rogers was entitled under the contract.

    ; Court held the parties’ intentions

    were that Rogers would receive the

    perquisites as head football coach,

    not merely as an employee.

    ; Rogers was not entitled after his removal to

    the services of a secretary, administrative

    assistant, and the cost of trips for football

    ventures these were specifically granted to

    him as the head coach

    ; As a rule, a party is entitled to recover

    profits that would have resulted from a

    beach of contract into which he has entered,

    where the breach is the result of the other

    parties’ fault

    ; Monson v. Oregon

    o Facts: Monson was the head basketball coach at Idaho. He earned additional income as coach from outside activities from sponsors and radio and television shows. The school wanted to remove Monson and told him he could remain as golf coach, which Monson declined. Monson sued for breach of contract.

    o Discussion:

    ; The court held that with respect to

    nontenured faculty members (as Monson),

    the school has the authority to reassign

    individuals based on its assessments of its

    overall staffing needs.

    ; The school may determine that a

    staff member is no longer the most

    effective and someone would be

    better served in that position.

    ; Monson failed to identify any evidence that

    his reassignment from his head basketball

    coach position was not in accordance with

    the applicable administrative rules.

    ; Campanelli v. Bockrath

    o Campanelli was fired as basketball coach at Cal. A newspaper reported the reason for his termination was the use of profane and abusive language to his players in a postgame speech which was released by school administrators. Campanelli sued, alleging a due process violation whereby a state may not


    deprive a person of his liberty interest ―to engage in

    any of the common occupations of life‖ without due

    process of law.

    o Discussion:

    ; Campanelli must first prove the statements

    rose to the level of stigmatizing him

    ; There was a question of fact on this


    ; Campanelli must also allege defendants

    made their statements in the course of his


    ; May be met when defamatory

    statements are so closely related to

    the discharge from employment that

    the discharge itself may be

    stigmatizing in the eyes of the public

    ; There must be a temporal nexus

    between the employer’s statements

    and the termination

    o This was satisfied by


    ; Campanelli must also allege that the

    defendants’ statements were false

    ; The issue of whether his statements

    arose to the level of abuse and

    psychological damage to his players

    is a question of fact that should not

    be determined during the pleadings

    stage, but on the basis of evidence

    ; NOTE: Rick Neuheisal contract talked about in class

    II. Amateur Sports Associations

    - From Nutshell

    o Amateur sports can be divided into 2 basic forms:

    ; Restricted competition includes high school and college. It means

    competition is restricted to essentially the same groups at different levels.

    Competition is controlled and organized by athletic conferences or

    associations or leagues, which establish rules and organize schedules. ; Unrestricted competition open to all athletes. EX: Olympic

    competition allows competition among all types of people and groups

    and is not restricted by age or college or other restrictive criterion

    o Definition of an amateur athlete may change from one organization to another

    o Voluntary associations may adopt reasonable laws, rules and regulations which will be valid and binding on their members unless their rules violate law or public policy



    - If state action is not involved, the law says the private association can make it’s own

    rules as long as they are not arbitrary or unreasonable

    - A person who alleges a denial of constitutionally protected rights must at the outset

    demonstrate that it is indeed the action of the government that is being challenged

    o The merits of the claim will Not be reached unless it can be shown that,

    somehow, the government has acted

    o These are easily shown where an individual challenges the constitutionality of

    a state statute

    - Purely private disputes ordinarily do not raise constitutional issues no matter how

    egregious the private act

    - The difficulty arises in cases where state action is not apparent but where the state is

    nonetheless somehow involved

    - Although many amateur athletic organizations are private in the sense that they are

    not formal creatures of the state,

    o they arguable perform state like functions and the state itself is inevitably

    somehow involved with their operations (directly or indirectly)

    ; by providing money, services, facilities, permission or encouragement - if the putatively private actor is really performing a public function, then perhaps it

    ought to be treated as though it were the state

    o or if the level of state involvement is significant, then perhaps the action of

    the organization ought to be treated as state action

DeFrantz v. United States Olympic Committee:

    - Facts:

    o Dealing with the 1980 boycott of the Olympics

    o Moving for an injunction against the Olympic Committee in doing resolution

    ; That they were not going to send a U.S. team to the summer Olympics

    in Moscow

    o Denied 25 people the right to compete in the Olympics

    ; B/c that was when Russia invaded Afghanistan

    o The Committee:

    ; Are the sole authorities responsible for the representation of the

    respective countries at the Olympic Games

    o Plaintiff claims:

    ; Alleges that defendant’s action constituted ―governmental action‖ which

    abridged plaintiff’s rights of liberty, self expression, etc..

    - Holding:

    o Under International Olympic Committee rules and the Amateur Sports Act of

    1978, the Committee not only had authority to decide not to send an

    American team to the summer Olympics but also could do so for a reason not

    directly related to sports considerations

    o Amateur Sports Act of 1978 did not confer an enforceable right on amateur

    athletes to compete in Olympic competition, where the United States Olympic

    Committee House of Delegates had decided not to accept an invitation to

    enter an American team in the competition


    ; Even if amateur athletes had a right to compete in Olympic games under

    Amateur Sports Act of 1978, despite United States Olympic Committee's

    determination not to enter a team, they did not have an implied private

    cause of action to enforce such right.

    o Since this is a private industry

    ; They must show that this was a regulated state or government action o Must show that the government had some control of the decision making of

    the private industry

    o This was no such control here:

    ; b/c they could not establish a nexis b/w the two

    ; the committee is an independent body, and nothing in its chartering

    statute gives the federal government the right to control that body or its


    ; and the facts here do not indicate that the federal governments was able

    to exercise any type of control over the Committee

    o The federal government may have had the power to prevent the athletes from

    participating in the Olympics even if the USOC had voted to allow them to


    ; But it did not have the power to make them vote in a certain way

    ; All it had was the power of persuasion

    o They accordingly found that the decision of the Committee not to send an

    American team to the summer Olympics was not a state action,

    ; and therefore, does not give rise to an actionable claim for the

    infringements of the constitutional rights alleged

    NCAA v. Tarkanian

    - Facts:

    o NCAA put UNLV under investigation for violating recruiting rules. o U After a lengthy investigation of allegedly improper recruiting practices by

    the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), a state university, the

    Committee found 38 violations, including 10 by respondent Tarkanian,

    UNLV's basketball coach.

    ; The Committee imposed a number of sanctions upon UNLV, and

    requested it to show cause why additional penalties should not be

    imposed if it failed to suspend Tarkanian from its athletic program

    during a probation period.

    o UNLV had 3 choices put before them: (1) Reject the sanctions and keep Tark,

    and run the risk of heavier sanctions; (2) Recognize the NCAA’s authority

    and reassign Tark; or (3) Pull out of the NCAA.

    ; They chose (2).

    o He sued NCAA and school, and got an injunction against school. o In suit against NCAA, he claims that NCAA is a state actor and deprived him

    of due process.

    o Won at trial ct., but Ct. of App. reversed (NCAA is private org., has no govt.

    powers, and UNLV made the ultimate decision).

    o Tark claims UNLV had no choice.


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