SBJ/June 23-29, 2014/In Depth

What's on the docket?

The model for college sports is being attacked on four fronts: Antitrust law, concussions, right of publicity, and efforts to unionize student athletes. Here are some of the key cases and the attorneys representing the parties involved.




Jenkins v. NCAA

Plaintiff attorney: Jeffrey Kessler, Winston & Strawn
Defendant attorney: Jeffrey Mishkin, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
Court: U.S. District Court in Oakland
Case file: Antitrust attorney Jeffrey Kessler filed a class action lawsuit against the NCAA and the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC conferences to eliminate the restrictions that limit athletes from being compensated. The
Shawne Alston
Photo by: Getty Images
lawsuit contends that NCAA member universities are acting as a cartel by fixing the prices paid to athletes.

Alston v. NCAA
Plaintiff attorney: Jon King, Hagens Berman
Defendant attorney: Jeffrey Mishkin, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
Court: U.S. District Court in Oakland
Case file: Former West Virginia University football player Shawne Alston is suing the NCAA and the five largest conferences claiming they cap the value of scholarships to less than the actual cost of attending college. The class action lawsuit represents all scholarship football players from 2010 to the present.






Arrington v. NCAA
Adrian Arrington discusses the concussion lawsuit as attorney Joe Siprut looks on.
Photo by: Getty Images

Plaintiff attorney: Joe Siprut, Siprut PC
Defendant attorney: Sean Berkowitz, Latham & Watkins
Court: U.S. District Court in Chicago
Case file: In 2011, former Eastern Illinois University football player Adrian Arrington filed a class action lawsuit against the NCAA, claiming it didn’t do enough to diagnose, monitor or treat concussions. The case is now consolidated into similar cases against the NCAA.







Northwestern University/College Athletes Players Association
Northwestern football players go to cast their union ballots.
Photo by: AP Images

Attorney for association: Jeremiah Collins, Bredhoff & Kaiser
Attorney for Northwestern: Alex Barbour, Meckler Bulger Tilson Marick & Pearson
Review board: National Labor Relations Board, Washington, D.C.
Case file: In January, a group of Northwestern University football players took actions to begin the process of being recognized as employees and asking to be represented by a labor union. The National Labor Relations Board regional office in Chicago ruled in favor of the College Athletes Players Association, allowing the student athletes to be seen as employees. In April, the players held a vote on whether to unionize but the results have been sealed pending review by the NLRB in Washington, D.C. In reviewing the case, the NLRB now has a June 26 deadline for briefs to be filed.







O’Bannon v. NCAA
Ed O'Bannon
Photo by: AP Images

Plaintiff attorney: Michael Hausfeld, Hausfeld LLP
Defendant attorney: Glenn Pomerantz, Munger, Tolles & Olson
Court: U.S. District Court in Oakland
Case file: In July 2009, former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon filed suit against the NCAA, Electronic Arts and Collegiate Licensing Co. over former players’ rights to compensation for use of their likenesses. EA and CLC agreed to a $40 million settlement in the class action lawsuits brought against them. O’Bannon and the NCAA are currently undergoing trial proceedings.

Source: SportsBusiness Journal research

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