O’Bannon v NCAA Appeal Court Decision Released

2 Oct

Last summer, NCCAA amateurism rules took a significant hit when a California trial court rendered its decision in O’Bannon v NCAA. For those unfamiliar with the case, O’Bannon v NCAA was a class action lawsuit which alleged that the NCAA and its licensing company violated antitrust law and deprived players of their right of publicity (in Canada, right of personality is referred to as personality rights, which are protected by the common law tort of misappropriation of personality) by using NCAA student-athletes’ names, images and likeness for their own commercial purposes.

The landmark trial decision ruled in favour of O’Bannon, determining that the NCAA cannot prevent athletes from selling the rights to their names, images and likenesses, but that the NCAA could cap payments to players for use of such rights at $5,000 per player for each year of competition. The money was to be held in trust for the athlete until their graduation or when they exhaust their playing eligibility.

The NCAA promptly appealed and this week, a decision was rendered. In it, the US Court of Appeal affirmed that certain NCAA amateurism rules violate antitrust law, however, the scope of the players’ victory was limited by the holding that schools only need to provide up to the cost of attendance — consequently dismissing the required compensation for name, image and likeness rights.

What does this mean for the athletes’ rights movement in American collegiate sports? University of New Hampshire law professor Michael McCann explains here that it is not all bad news. The US Court of Appeal agreed that NCAA amateur rules unlawfully prevent schools from compensating Division I revenue-generating sports (men’s basketball and football), and identified various ways in which these rules have injured athletes. Given the novelty of the issue and the fact that both sides have reason to appeal, McCann suggests that there is a real possibility O’Bannon v NCAA will be reviewed by the US Supreme Court.

Andrew Harmes

Andrew is a 3L student at Osgoode Hall, and is currently serving as Co-President of ESLA.


The Week That Was

25 Sep

For those interested in the sports and entertainment industry, no doubt your Twitter timeline has been quite full over the last week or so with plenty of business and legal developments to keep track of. One of the most troublesome and perhaps perplexing, is of course the Patrick Kane saga.

This addition of ‘The Week That Was’ will honour the beginning of N.H.L. training camps by focusing on matters (outside of Patrick Kane) relating to Canada’s national winter sport.

Bauer Hockey Takes Battle From Rink Shops To The Boardroom

Performance Sports Group Ltd. (TSX: PSG), the parent sporting goods company in control of such well known hockey equipment brands as Bauer Hockey, Combat and Easton Sports, is in the midst of some internal turmoil. Blaming their struggles on the weakened Canadian dollar, PSG shares are reported to have fallen nearly 24 percent in the last year.

It was reported last week that former chairman W. Graeme Roustan is seeking a position on the company’s board, and has launched a proxy battle in the lead-up to PSG’s annual general meeting on October 14th. However, just yesterday Roustan decided to back down from the proxy fight and is now expected to align with a private equity firm and make a bid for PSG. Sources say a bid could reach more than 1$ billion.

Meehan Amongst The World’s 50 Most Powerful Agents

Forbes has released their list of the 50 most powerful sports agents on the face of the earth. While the list was topped by baseball super agent Scott Boars of the Boras Corporation, among the list are eight hockey agents, including regular contributor to ESLA’s Entertainment and Sports Law Conference, Don Meehan of Newport Sports. Mr. Meehan came in as the second highest ranked hockey agent at number eleven on the list. Forbes attributed Meehan and Newport Sports to have been responsible for negotiating and overseeing $734.3 million in active player contracts for 2015. On behalf of ESLA, we offer our congratulations to Don and the entire Newport Sports team!

Update on the N.H.L.’s Concussion Litigation

The Globe and Mail offered this update on the current N.H.L. concussion class action lawsuit that is working its way through the U.S. court system. Initially filed in November 2013, the lawsuit alleges that the N.H.L. knowingly put players at risk despite having the data connecting blows to the head with long-term neurological damage.

The focus of the article is former Leafs great Gary Leeman who is serving as one of the potential representative plaintiffs. Despite concerns about some former players of being blackballed if they speak out, Leeman expresses optimism, saying that players are not out revenge, and that among their primary goals are getting better protection for those who are still playing and more comprehensive medical support for alumni.

Andrew Harmes

Andrew is a 3L student at Osgoode Hall, and is currently serving as Co-President of ESLA.


Call For Applications: 1L Reps

16 Sep

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