O’Bannon’s End: Supreme Court Rejects Appellate Review


Seth Traub

The lawsuit against the NCAA over whether Division I men’s basketball and football players can be compensated for the commercial use of their names, images and likenesses came to an abrupt end on Monday as the U.S. Supreme Court denied petitions by both O’Bannon and the NCAA to review the case.

The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear O’Bannon (made without comment or explanation) leaves in place the September 2015 ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that (1) NCAA regulations are subject to antitrust scrutiny, and rules that prohibited student-athletes from receiving more than the value of a full grant-in-aid scholarship (tuition, fees, room, board and books) violated antitrust laws; and (2) while antitrust law requires that schools be allowed to provide student-athletes full cost of attendance scholarships, it does not require payments “untethered to educational expenses.” While the O’Bannon case ran its course through the appellate courts, the NCAA voluntarily increased the value of an athletic scholarship to include full costs of attendance beginning in the Fall of 2015, but the NCAA was adamant that compensation for student-athletes beyond education expenses threatened its amateurism system. Continue Reading »

SB356: Senator Coley Proposes Daily Fantasy Sports Contest Legislation

Kevin Braig

Kevin Braig

On September 26, 2016, Senator Bill Coley (R-West Chester) introduced S.B. 356, which if enacted would amend Ohio gambling law to expressly define daily fantasy sports (“DFS”) and e-sports contests that charge a commission known as a “rake” as a “scheme of chance.”

During his press conference introducing S.B. 356, Senator Coley made it clear that it is his view S.B. 356 will not change existing Ohio law.  Senator Coley stated that the inclusion of a “pool conducted for profit” in the existing definition of “scheme of chance” in section 2915.01(C) of the Ohio Revised Code already covers DFS contests that charge a rake, such as contests offered by companies like FanDuel and DraftKings.  He stated that DFS contests that charge a rake are “illegal under existing Ohio law.” Continue Reading »

Athletics Leadership and LGBTQ: Suggested Best Practices and Guiding Principles

Neema Bell

Neema Bell

Until recently, all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (“LGBTQ”) student-athletes, collegiate coaches, and administrators were expected to keep their sexual orientation or non-conforming gender identity hidden. Social views of LGBTQ individuals are slowly becoming more tolerant and positive and it is becoming less acceptable, even illegal, to harass or discriminate against LGBTQ student-athletes, coaches and administrators which can include making anti-LGBTQ comments or slurs. Although transgender issues have recently received significant attention, associated LGBTQ issues have rarely been adequately addressed by intercollegiate athletic programs. Educational institutions and athletic programs must respond to these realities. They must meet this emerging equal opportunity vacuity head on and address the existence and needs of LBGTQ student-athletes seriously. Continue Reading »

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Scandals, Investigations, and Media Scrutiny – The Need for Proactive Policies and Procedures in Athletics Departments


Dana Drew Shaw

With the college football season set to kick off, most attention will turn to wins and losses rather than the off-field issues that place universities and athletic departments in the media spotlight. However, with the increase of internal investigations stemming from Title IX issues of abuse and harassment, matters of student-athlete welfare, and discrimination allegations in today’s litigious society, it is prudent for institutions and their athletics administrators to review their current policies and procedures in order to assure that these problem areas in the collegiate athletic arena are effectively addressed. Continue Reading »

O’Bannon Update: NCAA and O’Bannon seek Supreme Court review


Seth Traub

The fight over pay-for-play rules steamed ahead this month as the NCAA joined the O’Bannon plaintiffs’ request that the United States Supreme Court reconsider the ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, albeit for different reasons.

In March, O’Bannon sought review of the part of the Ninth Circuit’s ruling that found the NCAA did not have to pay student-athletes deferred compensation for the use of their name, image, and likeness.  On May 13, the NCAA asked the Supreme Court to reconsider the Ninth Circuit’s ruling that found it violated antitrust law, stating that the Ninth Circuit failed to follow decisions of the Supreme Court and other federal appeals courts “under which rules that define the character of NCAA athletics, and are thus essential for the NCAA’s distinct product to exist, are upheld,” including the 1984 Supreme Court ruling in NCAA v. Board of Regents, where the Supreme Court ruled 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.” Continue Reading »

Hedging Coaching Staff Bonuses


Kevin Braig

As universities invest more and more money in college sports, it makes sense that their athletic departments explore creative ways to hedge these investments.  But in doing so, athletic departments should remember that a hedge is only as valuable as the risk it covers.

Simply stated, a hedge is any investment that insures another investment.  For example, a football coach that has already recruited a 5-star quarterback would be prudent to also sign a 3-star or 4-star quarterback to hedge against an injury to the investment in the 5-star.  Likewise, an athletic department that sponsors a golf outing fundraiser that includes a new car as a prize for whoever can make a hole in one on a par 3 should buy an insurance policy on the contest that will pay for the vehicle in case somebody actually makes a hole in one. Continue Reading »

Sports Law Attorney Joins Shumaker’s Toledo Office


Marissa Pollick

Sports law attorney and Title IX consultant Marissa W. Pollick has joined the Toledo, Ohio, office of the full-service business law firm Shumaker, Loop and Kendrick, LLP, as Of Counsel. She is a graduate, with high distinction, of the University of Michigan and the University of Michigan Law School.

Pollick, who has more than 30 years of experience practicing law and 12 years of experience on the faculty at the University of Michigan, brings to the firm her knowledge in labor and employment law, civil rights litigation and Title IX investigations and compliance. She will serve as Shumaker’s chair, Title IX investigations, compliance and litigation.

As a student-athlete at the University of Michigan, Pollick was a four-year varsity letter winner in tennis and two-time team captain. As a professor, Pollick teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in sports law; race and gender discrimination in sport; and sport and public policy.

“I broke many gender barriers in athletics in both high school and college and have worked as an attorney and advocate to remedy inequities for girls and women, such as limited participation opportunities and the lack of scholarships and resources at the intercollegiate level,” Pollick said. “Title IX issues are my personal and professional passion. It is a primary focus of my academic research as well as an important part of my law practice.”

Pollick will provide strategic advice and counsel to Shumaker clients on Title IX matters. She will also conduct audits, policy reviews and investigations and provide diversity training to coaches and administrators on athletic compliance.

“Title IX is a big concern right now since many schools across the country are being investigated by the Office for Civil Rights,” Pollick said. “There are hundreds of investigations pending related to sexual assault and harassment that fall under the purview of Title IX as well as investigations related to non-compliance in athletics. It’s also an issue of enormous concern at the K-12 level.”

Prior to joining the Shumaker team, Pollick was a shareholder with the Detroit, Mich., law firm Butzel Long, P.C., and most recently was in private practice as a sole practitioner and consultant.