Law & Policy: Civil Actions
New York High Schools Sue Over Eligibility Rule Change
by Laura Godlewski, Athletic Business Intern March 2015
A new rule regarding athletic eligibility at charter and private schools in upstate New York has caused nine schools to sue in order to overturn the rule. The rule states that students who transfer to a new school without changing residency would be ineligible to participate in sports at the school for a year.
Court Rules Toronto YMCA Must Pay Property Taxes
by Laura Godlewski, Athletic Business Intern February 2015
On Wednesday, the Appeal Court in Toronto, Ont., ruled that the YMCA will have to pay property taxes on four buildings it leases in Toronto.
Pop Warner Football Blamed for Former Player’s Suicide
by Michael Gaio February 2015
Pop Warner youth football is being sued for $5 million following the suicide of 25-year-old Wisconsin man. The lawsuit, filed by the man’s mother, alleges her son suffered severe brain damage caused by playing youth football and that Pop Warner failed to warn players about, and protect them from, the dangers of head trauma.
Jury: Vanderbilt Rape Defendants Guilty on All Charges
by Michael Gaio January 2015
Two former Vanderbilt football players who once had promising futures are now convicted rapists. A Nashville jury found Brandon Vandenburg, 21, of Indio, Calif. and Cory Batey, 21, of Nashville guilty of a total of 16 felony charges after raping an unconscious former student in a Vanderbilt dorm on June 23, 2013. Two other defendants, Brandon Banks and Jaborian "Tip" McKenzie, who are also former Vanderbilt football players, are also accused in the case. They are awaiting trial.
Former NCAA Chair Admits to Not Reading Freeh Report
by Emily Attwood January 2015
According to new court documents released this week, former NCAA executive committee chair and Oregon State president Ed Ray did not read the Freeh report before sanctioning Penn State’s football program. The report was the primary piece of evidence used by the NCAA to hand down sanctions.
The revelation comes from court documents filed as part of the Paterno lawsuit, Ray admitted to only reading the executive summary and press accounts. From the documents:
Paterno family attorney Wick Sollers: You reviewed the Freeh Report at or about the time it came out, I take it.
Ray: Actually, it was -- I think I did not go through the detailed report until after the agreement was reached. Remember, the report came out on the 12th. I went to Hawaii on, I don't know, the 14th. So, I may have looked at the executive summary when it came out, and certainly read press accounts, but I don't believe I read or was able to download and get a copy of the full report until after I got back, which would have been around the time of the press conference [announcing the Consent Decree], or sometime shortly thereafter.
Sollers: Did not have the Freeh Report sent out to you in Hawaii?
Ray: No. No.
Sollers: Do you recall when you got back--
Ray: So let me be clear about that. When I went to Hawaii, I didn't even know that we were going to be having any conversations about the Freeh Report. So I had no sense that I needed to prep for anything.
We went on either the 14th or the 15th, at this point I can't remember. And then we had this conference call on the 17th. So no, I didn't have the Freeh Report.
And then I came back on, I think the 19th or 20th, traveling from there, probably on the 20th, and then the 21st we had this phone call [approving the Consent Decree]. So I didn't have a lot of time to prep for anything.
"These are extraordinary circumstances," Ray said at a news conference announcing the sanctions. "The executive committee has the authority to act on behalf of the entire association in extraordinary circumstances. And we have chosen to exercise that authority.
The NCAA has been under increasing criticism as of late for its handling of the Sandusky scandal, especially with new information coming to light as part of the lawsuit filed against the NCAA by the Paterno family.
The scrutiny has also prompted a meeting of the Penn State board of trustees to discuss joining a lawsuit filed by state senators set for trial next month. The board is meeting today (January 16) to discuss and vote on a resolution to join the suit, which alleges that the NCAA had no authority to hand down its punishments.
Oregon, Coach Sued Over Transfer's Assault History
by Michael Gaio January 2015
A University of Oregon student is suing the school and head basketball coach Dana Altman contending the school knowingly admitted a transfer student with a previous record of sexual assault. The student reported in March 2014 that she was raped by three Oregon basketball players.
Indoor Carpeted Soccer Surface At Center of Premise Liability Lawsuit
by Kristi Schoepfer-Bochicchio December 2014
Facility owners should and typically do exercise due diligence when selecting the equipment and components that will make their businesses desirable destinations for sports participants. But how far does an owner’s duty of care extend to users once a selected product is installed?
Should a HS Game Be Replayed Due to Ref's Mistake?
by Andrew Brandt December 2014
In Oklahoma, a high school football game has never been replayed for legal reasons.
New Jersey Court Sets Youth Sports Lawsuit Precedent
by Andrew Brandt December 2014
According to a New Jersey appeals court, the family of a 12-year-old lacrosse player cannot sue the 11-year-old responsible for his broken arm. But the ruling may have a greater impact than just this one case.
First Amendment on Trial in UNC Athletic Events Ban
by John T. Wolohan November 2014
An increasing number of fans believe the simple act of purchasing a ticket gives them the right to say and do anything, and that free speech, protected by the United States Constitution, allows them to heckle and harass coaches and players as they see fit.