Thursday, January 27, 2011
But what happens if a booster who gives a combined $7 million to a school feels as if his "suggestions" are being ignored by the school's athletic director?
Meet Robert Burton, a Greenwich CT-based printing industry executive who wants a $3 million donation returned from UConn. A leading reason for his demand is that he feels that he was denied an opportunity to comment on the school's football coaching search. He claims that he was blown off by the school's Athletic Director, Jeff Hathaway. Paul Caron of Tax Prof Blog has more and so does Dan Fitzgerald of Connecticut Sports Law.
I have 3 thoughts on this controversy:
1) To answer a question that some people are asking: unless Burton attached stipulations to his gift to the school, it's unlikely that he'll be able to get the money back. He probably already knows that. I suspect an alternate "victory" for him would be to embarrass the school and Athletic Director Hathaway, and to discourage other boosters and prospective boosters from contributing money to UConn (especially those boosters who would contribute with an expectation of gaining access in exchange).
2) Marc Isenberg had a good line about this dispute: "The unstated rules of boostering are now written."
3) While Burton is being criticized for claiming a bargained-for exchange between his donation and his ability to influence UConn athletics, and for trying to now take his gift back, I wonder if UConn and particularly Athletic Director Hathaway bear some responsibility, too.
After-all, if a school is going to accept an enormous gift from a donor whom the school presumably knows is only donating to have influence over the school's athletic program, then the school shouldn't later deny that donor a chance to share his thoughts. It wasn't like Burton was donating to help fund a new science building while having a passing interest in the sports program; he was donating to be a major player in UConn athletics. Don't take his money if that isn't going to happen.
Burton says in his letter that he wasn't looking for veto power over the hiring decision (which would have been an unreasonable request), only a chance to provide comments on the candidates. Would it have been that hard to let him comment and then give him the courtesy of listening?
Along those lines, isn't an informal duty of an athletic director to ensure that significant alums and boosters are treated well? It seems that if Hathaway had granted Burton a half hour meeting or even just a good phone conversation, it might have satisfied Burton's craving for influence, avoided this controversy, and preserved good relations with a generous donor.
Here is Giuliana's message:
My student group, the USF Sports & Entertainment Law Association (SELA) is having Mr. Vaccaro come speak on the "business" of college sports on Tuesday February 1 at 5pm. As Mr. Vaccaro is prominently involved in recent lawsuits between student-athletes and the NCAA, such as the O'Bannon case, he will be coming to USF to speak about his experiences in these lawsuits, and talk about his viewpoints on how the NCAA needs to be transformed to better support student-athletes.
This event is being organized both by the Sports & Entertainment Law Association, as well as the graduate Sport Management Program at USF.
Should be a great event. More information, click on the flyer image above or contact Giuliana at giuliana.r.garcia[at]gmail.com.
Here are the details:
Shaq is no stranger to higher education. After playing 8 seasons in the NBA, he completed his college degree from Louisiana State University in 2000 (and, in doing so, helped to show that players who leave school early can always go back and earn a degree). Five years later, Shaq earned his MBA from the University of Phoenix. He is now a handful of credits away from earning a Ph.D. in Human Resource Development, with aspirations for running for Sheriff in Central Florida once he retires from the league.
Shaq spoke to the law students about managing his brand and publicity rights issues, among other topics. Jill Greenfield of Harvard Law School's communications office has the story on Shaq's visit. Here are some excerpts:
To read the rest, click here. To read Geoff and my previous posts about Shaq being a deputy sheriff, click here.* * *
In fact, O’Neal’s management of his brand began well before he signed an NBA contract or any endorsement deals. When he was in high school, he created his own emblem based on his dunk style and trademarked it as the DUNKMAN, in case he ever got a shoe deal in the future.
* * *
In response to Carfagna’s question about how his decisions have changed as he nears the end of his playing career, O’Neal discussed his evolving approach to basketball and how it affects his role on the Boston Celtics.
“When I first started playing basketball, I got all the blame when we lost, like a CEO. So I had to put myself in CEO mode and say, ‘If I’m going to get blamed, this is how we have to do things,’” O’Neal said.
“Now I’m in a consultant role. It would not have been advantageous for me to come here and try to take over the team at age 38 when we already have these good players. I already took care of my “me time.” I’ve been healthy and have done a lot. I have my championships. I’m retired as a CEO. Now I'm a consultant – my teammates know that if they need me, I’m right over here.”* * *
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Tommy (The Duke) Morrison, 48-3 (42 KOs), once one of the most exciting heavyweight contenders in the world between his all-American looks, explosive punch, and questionable chin, made headlines this past week when he announced that he will not submit to HIV and hepatitis testing in advance of a possible February 25, 2011 bout in Montreal against journeyman Eric Barrak. The reason that Morrison’s position is troublesome is plain to anyone who is familiar with Morrison’s history. Starting in 1996, Morrison was out of the ring for nearly 11 years after reportedly testing HIV positive in advance of a scheduled match in Nevada against Arthur (Stormy) Weathers. Some probably anticipated that the next time the boxing world would hear anything about Morrison would be after he eventually succumbed to AIDS.
Morrison, however, miraculously persevered and returned to ring on February 22, 2007 with a second round TKO of John Castle after West Virginia granted him a boxing license. He fought again nearly a year later, this time in Mexico, and scored a third-round TKO of Matt Weishaar. In the second incarnation of his career, Morrison has alleged that he is not, in fact, HIV positive, and may have never been. Indeed, Morrison is quoted as saying “I’m not going to submit to a test that’s not going to tell me anything” in connection with the testing order by the Quebec Boxing and Gaming Commission. The implication of that quote is that Morrison is 100% confident that he is free of HIV. But whether or not any such test would “tell [him] anything” about his HIV status is beside the point. When a commission mandates a testing regimen, it is acting on behalf of, and in furtherance of the objectives of, the government that created it. One can imagine, therefore, the precedent that would be created if someone such as Morrison were empowered by a commission to pick and choose which pre-licensing requirements he wished to comply with before boxing in a given jurisdiction. A quick look at the potential confusion that could ensue in Quebec follows...For the full article, please go to this link.
Here are the details:
|TBA||Jeffrey B. Gewirtz |
Executive Vice President & Chief Legal Officer
New Jersey Nets Basketball/Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment
PANEL 1 — TRIAL PUBLICITY
This panel will focus on Rule 3.6 of the ABA's Model Rules of Professional Conduct.
|TBA||Christopher D. Adams, Esq. |
Member — Walder, Hayden & Brogan, P.A.
|TBA||Darren Del Sardo, Esq. |
Partner — Damico, Del Sardo & Montanari, L.L.C.
|TBA||Ellen C. Marshall, Esq. |
Of Counsel — Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis L.L.P.
|TBA||Michael McCann, Esq. |
Professor — Vermont Law School
PANEL 2 — LABOR CONCERNS IN SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT
This panel will concentrate on the labor concerns surrounding sports leagues and the entertainment industry.
|TBA||Jessica Berman, Esq. |
Associate Counsel — National Hockey League
|TBA||Ann Burdick, Esq. |
Senior Legal Counsel — Writers Guild of America East
|TBA||Marc Edelman, Esq. |
Assistant Professor — Barry University's Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law
|TBA||Alan C. Milstein, Esq.|
Member/Shareholder — Sherman, Silverstein, Kohl, Rose & Podolsky, P.A.
For information on attending, click here. Excellent work by Elizabeth Blakely & Emily Battersby, the Symposium Editors, on putting the event together.
Monday, January 24, 2011
* In looking at the concussion issue in the NFL, Ben McGrath of The New Yorker asks the most important question: Does Football Have a Future?
* One person who seems to be banking on football having a future--at least in the near future--is 48-year-old running back Hershel Walker, who is pondering a comeback. There is no "age ceiling" in the NFL (and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act bars discrimination of persons over 40), so if Walker proves good enough, he'll have a chance to play again.
* Are NFL players really united as March 4, the day the CBA expires, approaches? Not so if we look to Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who had some choice words about the negotiation tactics of NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith.
* Interesting article from the Associated Press on Kwame Brown, the much ridiculed number 1 overall pick of the 2001 NBA Draft. While Brown has been a disappointment throughout most of his career and is now on his fifth NBA team, he seems to have turned a corner this season on the Charlotte Bobcats, with better numbers and playing with much more confidence. It's worth noting that while Brown has clearly not lived up to the hype of being the number one overall pick, he's still only 28 years old and, particularly given the dearth of quality NBA centers, he presumably could play another 6 or 7 seasons, perhaps at a relatively high level, too. Also, going into the season, Brown had earned $50 million over his NBA career. Not too shabby for a 28-year-old supposed "failure".
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Parker Allred, Note, From the BCS to the BS: why “championship” must be removed from the Bowl Championship Series, 2010 UTAH LAW REVIEW 183
Jessica K. Baranko, Comment, It’s my name and mine alone: how Chad Ocho Cinco affects the right of publicity, 20 MARQUETTE SPORTS LAW REVIEW 463 (2010)
Luke P. Breslin, Comment, Reclaiming the glory in the ‘sport of kings’ — uniformity is the answer, 20 SETON HALL JOURNAL OF SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT LAW 297 (2010)
Dustin E. Buehler and Steve P. Calandrillo, Baseball's moral hazard: law, economics, and the designated hitter rule, 90 BOSTON UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW 2083 (2010)
David S. Caudill, Sports and entertainment agents and agent-attorneys: discourses and conventions concerning crossing jurisdictional and professional borders, 43 AKRON LAW REVIEW 697 (2010)
Walter T. Champion and Danyahel Norris, Why not row to the Bahamas instead of Miami: the conundrum that awaits Cuban elite baseball players who seek asylum and the economic Nirvana of free agency, 9 VIRGINIA SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT LAW JOURNAL 219 (2010)
Ross E. Davies, It’s no game: the practice and process of the law in baseball and vice versa, 20 SETON HALL SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT LAW JOURNAL 249 (2010)
Nick DeSiato, Silencing the crowd: regulating free speech in professional sports facilities, 20 MARQUETTE SPORTS LAW REVIEW 411 (2010)
Ed Edmonds, At the brink of free agency: creating the foundation for the Messersmith-McNally decision — 1968-1975, 34 SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY LAW JOURNAL 565 (2010)
John Frega, Comment, The Performance Rights Act of 2009 and the Local Radio Freedom Act: will performance kill the radio star?, 20 SETON HALL JOURNAL OF SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT LAW 333-369 (2010).
Jonathan D. Gillerman, Comment, Calling their shots: miffed Minor Leaguers, the steroid scandal, and examining the use of section 1 of the Sherman Act to hold MLB accountable, 73 ALBANY LAW REVIEW 541-573 (2010)
B. Glenn George, Forfeit: opportunity, choice, and discrimination theory under Title IX, 22 YALE JOURNAL OF LAW AND FEMINISM 1 (2010)
Timothy Patrick Hayden, Can summer training camp practices land NFL head coaches in hot water?, 20 MARQUETTE SPORTS LAW REVIEW 441 (2010)
Noel H. Johnson, Book Note, Reviewing John H. Minan and Kevin Cole, The Little White Book of Baseball Law, 20 MARQUETTE SPORTS LAW REVIEW 657 (2010)
Lance C. Kearns, Book Note, Reviewing Kenneth L. Shropshire, Negotiate Like the Pros, 20 MARQUETTE SPORTS LAW REVIEW 663 (2010)
Kristen E. Knauf, Comment, If you build it, will they stay? An examination of state-of-the-art clauses in NFL stadium leases, 20 MARQUETTE SPORTS LAW REVIEW 479 (2010)
Robert H. Lattinville, Robert A. Boland and Bennett Speyer, Labor pains: the effect of a work stoppage in the NFL on its coaches, 20 MARQUETTE SPORTS LAW REVIEW 335 (2010)
Michael Levinson, (F)linging (I)ndispensable (F)reedoms (A)side: why FIFA’s “6+5” will not survive, 17 INTERNTATIONAL & COMPARATIVE LAW QUARTERLY 191 (2010)
Christina M. Locke, Does anti-paparazzi mean anti-press?: First Amendment implications of privacy legislation for the newsroom, 20 SETON HALL JOURNAL OF SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT LAW 227 (2010)
Richard H. McLaren, Twenty-five years of the Court of Arbitration for Sport: a look in the rear-view mirror, 20 MARQUETTE SPORTS LAW REVIEW 305 (2010)
Susan McAleavey, Note, Spendthrift trust: an alternative to the NBA age rule, 84 ST. JOHN’S LAW REVIEW 279 (2010)
Matthew J. Mitten, James L. Musselman and Bruce W. Burton, Targeted reform of commercialized intercollegiate athletics, 47 SAN DIEGO LAW REVIEW 779 (2010)
Matt Mullarkey, Note, For the love of the game: a historical analysis and defense of final offer arbitration in Major League Baseball, 9 VIRGINIA SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT LAW JOURNAL 234 (2010)
Jack P. Sahl, Entertainment law—the specter of malpractice claims and disciplinary actions, 20 MARQUETTE SPORTS LAW REVIEW 377 (2010)
David Tan, Affective transfer and the appropriation of commercial value: a cultural analysis of the right of publicity, 9 VIRGINIA SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT LAW JOURNAL 272 (2010)
David F. Tavella, Duty of care to spectators at sporting events: a unified theory, 5 FLORIDA A&M UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW 181 (2010)
Amy Tracy, Note, Athletic discipline for non-sport player misconduct: the role of college athletic department and professional league discipline and the legal system’s penalties and remedies, 9 VIRGINIA SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT LAW JOURNAL 254 (2010)
Leslie E. Wong, Comment, Our blood, our sweat, their profit: Ed O’Bannon takes on the NCAA for infringing on the former student-athlete’s right of publicity, 42 TEXAS TECH LAW REVIEW 1069 (2010)
Kevin J. Worthen, The NCAA and religion: insights about non-state governance from Sunday play and end zone celebrations, 2010 Utah L. Rev. 123
Kate Zdrojeski, International ice hockey: player poaching and contract dispute, 42 CASE WESTERN RESERVE JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW 775 (2010)
2009 Annual Survey: Recent Developments in Sports Law, 20 MARQUETTE SPORTS LAW REVIEW 497 (2010)
Friday, January 21, 2011
* Joseph M. DeGuardia, Esq., owner of Star Boxing, a boxing promotional company, and president of the Boxing Promoters Association;
* Michael DiMaggio, Esq., Collins, McDonald & Gann, P.C.;
* Kurt Emhoff, Esq., attorney, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman and licensed boxing manager;
* Paul Stuart Haberman, Esq., licensed boxing manager and Chair, Entertainment, Media, Intellectual Property and Sports Law Committee's (EMIPS) Sports Law Subcommittee of NYCLA; and
* David N. Weinraub, Esq., managing partner, Brown & Weinraub, PLLC, lobbyist for the UFC.
Panelists will discuss the legal and regulatory issues relating to the legalization of mixed martial arts in New York, as well as its potential economic impact if it were legalized.
Sponsor: EMIPS Committee
* Brian Baxter of American Lawyer also writes about the collusion charges and has some interesting insights on the law firms and lawyers involved.
* What's going to happen in today's Barry Bonds hearing on the admissibility of various pieces of evidence? Paul Elias of the Associated Press examines the key issues at stake.
* Should the University of Texas have its own cable channel, which ESPN is paying Texas $300 million over the next 20 years to distribute, when the channel will primarily feature sports played in an "amateur" sports association? The channel will also show high school sports. Michael Rosenberg of Sports Illustrated wonders about the potential conflicts of interest, including the recruiting advantages it gives UT over Texas high school players who are featured on the UT channel.
* There's a lot of good stuff over at Sports Agent Blog. If you haven't read that blog, I strongly recommend you check it out.
* The NFL's Personal Conduct Policy empowers Commissioner Roger Goodell to regulate any concduct that he deems detrimental to the league. Should thrash-talking that doesn't have any obscenities or discriminatory language really be within his purview, though? Joe Henderson of the Tampa Tribune wonders about that.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
. . . [P]rosecutors have signaled an interest in calling [Greg] Anderson to the stand, knowing that he would once again refuse to testify and therefore be placed in contempt of court. Prosecutors believe that a jury would interpret Anderson's refusal as a sign that Bonds knowingly lied under oath. Attorneys for Bonds are seeking to prevent prosecutors from deploying that strategy, and Judge Illston will have to determine whether prosecutors' calling Anderson to the stand with no expectation of him appearing would be more probative of Bonds's guilt or innocence or more prejudicial to Bonds, and disruptive of the proceedings.
Prosecutors also intend to call to the stand witnesses who are expected to testify that either Bonds told them of using steroids or that they saw him receive injections at the hands of Anderson. Kimberly Bell, Bonds' former girlfriend, and Bonds' former Giants teammate Bobby Estalella, are expected to claim that Bonds admitted in conversations that he used illegal performance-enhancers. Kathy Hoskins, Bonds' former assistant and the sister of Bonds' longtime friend/business manager Steve Hoskins, is apparently willing to testify that she saw Anderson inject Bonds. Such a statement would contradict Bonds' sworn testimony that no one except his doctor ever injected him with anything.
Also admissible, at least as of now, would be a portion of a recorded conversation purportedly between Steve Hoskins and Anderson, in which Anderson tells Hoskins that he injected Bonds with a performance-enhancing substance. Bonds' attorneys have requested that Judge Illston exclude the entire conversation, on grounds that Judge Illston's previous ruling requires that Anderson testify in order for him to be referenced.
Even if admissible, witness testimonies and recorded conversations would be subject to intense cross-examination by Bonds' attorneys, who would likely question witnesses' financial and legal motivations as well as their consistency of facts and recollection of specific detail from events that occurred a decade ago. Bonds's attorneys would also emphasize that conviction of perjury requires that the jury conclude, beyond any reasonable doubt, that Bonds knowingly lied under oath. If the government's case boils down to Bonds's words against those of witnesses about conversations and observances from years ago, it may prove difficult for jurors to lack any reasonable doubt.
* * *
Joe Posnanski of Sports Illustrated asks that question. Here is an excerpt:
To read the rest, click here.
Is a playoff really MORE FAIR? What does fair even mean? This year in college football, the BCS system had Oregon play Auburn for a trophy they called the national championship trophy. This left out other very good teams, particularly undefeated TCU. This wasn’t fair. There was much griping about it, and rightfully so. It is absurd and somewhat arrogant to believe that we can use our eyes and our computer systems and our innate sense of the game to look at more than 100 Division I football teams playing somewhat self-determined schedules and simply pick the two best teams. The flaws in the system are obvious.
But aren’t the playoff flaws obvious too? This year in the NFL, the playoff system included a seven-win team and took one 10-6 wild-card team while leaving two other 10-6 teams at home. The system made a 12-win team and two 11-win teams go on the road for their first game while three teams with 10 or fewer wins (including the NFL’s first seven-win playoff team) played home games. This year, the NFL rewarded New England and Atlanta for their 14- and 13-win seasons by giving them an extra week to heal and homefield advantage. This seems like a seismic advantage. But is it really? We cannot argue that they promptly lost convincingly — making that one loss much more important than their stellar 16-game seasons. We cannot argue that 12 of the last 24 bye teams have lost their first week.
If you're interested in reading more about Jon and Tobias's work, you can now purchase their book on Amazon: Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won. I haven't read it yet, but I saw Jon and Tobias present on their book while it was a work-in-progress at last year's MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, and it sounded awesome.
I also noticed these very encouraging reader reviews on Amazon:
This latest addition in the Freakonomics-driven behavioral economics genre is probably the best. It is Scorecasting and to a sports fan it is a can't-put-down type of book. The book is written extremely well with a mixture of famous sporting anecdotes and hard statistics that include research of the authors and others.
Some of the eye-opening subject include:
1. very solid evidence that umpires bias games - however what is interesting is the bias is not random. The bias tells a story.
2. the subject of home-field advantage was mesmerizing. Turns out not at all what sports pundits tells us are true or at least not in the way you might think so.
3. incentives lie at the heart of the Chicago Cubs dismal century.
4. great use of numbers to show how desperate baseball players are to have a batting average of at least 0.300.
5. a look into why some stats are not telling us all we need to know (i.e. blocked shot stats in basketball).
6. why don't football coaches go for it on 4th down when it is a statistically correct move?
Turns out that psychology (namely loss aversion) and incentives dictate a lot of sports decision making . . . Great, fast read. Highly recommended.
* * *
[From another customer review]:
Some quick examples from chapters I enjoyed:
Why you should (almost) never punt in football, including an example of a coach who followed the philosophy to a state title. Also, why most coaches still punt, in spite of the evidence.
Why Tim Duncan's 149 blocked shots are more valuable than Dwight Howard's 232 (Answer: Duncan tends to block the ball to his teammates, Howard tends toward the spectacular swat that goes into the 4th row...then back to the other team.)
The incredible differences in strike zones when comparing a 3-0 count to a 0-2 count. (Hint: umps expand the zone in the former, shrink the zone in the latter, allowing the hitter to determine the outcome)
Monday, January 17, 2011
Conference registration is available online. The website is srlaweb.org.
I have attended SRLA conferences for the last decade and found the topics presented involved subjects not always discussed in law school settings. And, socially, SRLA members are a great group of people.
For more information, contact Dr. Linda Schoonmaker at The Citadal. Her e-mail is: Linda.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
N. Jeremi Duru's Advancing the Ball: Race, Reformation, and the Quest for Equal Coaching Opportunity in the NFL
Here is the description:
Two days before Super Bowl XLI in 2007, the game's two opposing head coaches posed with the trophy one of them would hoist after the contest. It was a fairly unremarkable event, except that both coaches were African American--a fact that was as much of a story as the game itself.I had the chance to review Jeremi's book, and was extremely impressed. My comments, along those of several others, are on the book cover:
As Jeremi Duru reveals in Advancing the Ball, this unique milestone resulted from the work of a determined group of people whose struggles to expand head coaching opportunities for African Americans ultimately changed the National Football League. Since the league's desegregation in 1946, opportunities had grown plentiful for African Americans as players but not as head coaches--the byproduct of the NFL's old-boy network and lingering stereotypes of blacks' intellectual inferiority. Although Major League Baseball and the NBA had, over the years, made progress in this regard, the NFL's head coaches were almost exclusively white up until the mid-1990s.
Advancing the Ball chronicles the campaign of former Cleveland Browns offensive lineman John Wooten to right this wrong and undo decades of discriminatory head coach hiring practices--an initiative that finally bore fruit when he joined forces with attorneys Cyrus Mehri and Johnnie Cochran. Together with a few allies, the triumvirate galvanized the NFL's African American assistant coaches to stand together for equal opportunity and convinced the league to enact the "Rooney Rule," which stipulates that every team must interview at least one minority candidate when searching for a new head coach. In doing so, they spurred a movement that would substantially impact the NFL and, potentially, the nation.
Featuring an impassioned foreword by Coach Tony Dungy, Advancing the Ball offers an eye-opening, first-hand look at how a few committed individuals initiated a sea change in America's most popular sport and added an extraordinary new chapter to the civil rights story.
"My personal journey of success would have been much more difficult if not for the sacrifices of many that blazed my trail. The Fritz Pollard Alliance created a highway for expanded opportunities for African Americans, which are chronicled in this fascinating and historic book."--Warren Moon, NFL Hall of Fame QuarterbackAdvancing The Ball can be purchased on Amazon and Oxford University Press's website. Whether you agree or disagree with book, you'll find it to be a provocative and thoughtful read.
"An incredibly interesting and enlightening read. This book should be required reading for any level of sports enthusiast, as it explains so much about the complex intersection of sport and race. Without knowing this story, you simply cannot understand the evolution of sport over the past 50 years."--Woodie Dixon, Jr., General Counsel to the Pac-10 Conference and former General Counsel to the Kansas City Chiefs
"Advancing the Ball provides a hopeful message, with engaging discussion of how policies can be instituted to correct patterns of unfairness and injustice."--Michael McCann, Sports Illustrated Legal Analyst, and Director of the Vermont Law School Sports Law Institute
"This excellent book is a must for fans of football and other sports, as well as for those with a passion for racial justice. Professor Duru offers us a thoughtful and engaging perspective on the evolution of equal treatment in professional football."--Paul C. Weiler, Professor, Harvard Law School, and Creator of Harvard's Sports and the Law
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Briefly, officials conform their calls to social pressure created by the home crowd. Officials use crowd noise to help them resolve uncertainty in making a call, resulting in more calls going the way the home crowd wants them to go. Studies done for or discussed in the the story showed a range of calls in a range of sports that systematically favor home teams--extra time, fouls, and yellow and red cards in soccer; called (non-swinging) balls and strikes in baseball; close plays on the bases in baseball; traveling in basketball; and penalties and fumbles in football. The psychological effect is more pronounced in well-attended games (according to the story, in 2007, the Italian government ordered teams with deficient security to play games without spectators; 21 games were played in empty stadiums and a study by two economists found dramatic decreases in home-team benefits in fouls, yellow cards, and red cards).
The bias is revealed, in part, by the rise of technology, particularly in football. Visiting teams are more successful in overturning calls favoring the home team, especially where the home team is trailing. In other words officials make mistakes in the home teams' favor more often than they do in visiting teams' favor (although the difference is small). Replay thus has resulted in the narrowing or elimination of the home-team advantage, at least as to turnovers, because some of those erroneous calls are corrected (so maybe I need to rethink my opposition to replay in football). Technology also reveals that officials get it right most of the time (about 85 % on balls and strikes). But the mistakes they make are not random--they tend to favor the home teams. And, of course, most mistakes are not discoverable or reversible--thus the home-field advantage continues.
I am not sure what to do with the story, which I find fascinating. For starters, I wonder what this tells us about the much-despised umpire analogy. One of my objections has been that the analogy, as used, misrepresents what umpires do. This study supports that thought. Umpires clearly do not just call balls and strikes as a simple, clear, robotic exercise--umpires (and other officials) are human and they and their decisions are subject to outside pressures and influences, such as, essentially, public opinion.
Similarly, critics of the umpire analogy have focused on the outside influences that (everyone who is being honest recognizes) affect judicial decisionmaking--life experience, ideology, politics, empathy, public opinion and pressure--just as outside influences affect umpires. But is there a still more-precise comparison between judicial decisionmaking and officiating, given what this new study shows? Is there a litigation "home team" that systematically gets the benefit of judicial decisions? Perhaps the government (especially in criminal cases) or any other repeat player in litigation? Are judges affected by the (unconscious) need/desire to make the populace happy, just as umpires are similarly affected, and does that affect decisions?
What else can this study tell us about judicial decisionmaking?
You Can't Sit There! UVA's Ticket and Seating Policy for Men's Basketball Games Called into Question
He was escorted out of the section -- which I imagine could have been embarrassing -- and dispatched to a different and not as good seat, where his school's colors were apparently less offensive.
Should he have been forced to change seats merely because he was supporting the opposing team? Even as a UVA alumn, I say no.
Here's an excerpt from Eisenberg's story:
To read the rest, click here.* * *
Before the 46-year-old Arlington, Va. resident had time to remove his Carolina blue coat, a security guard approached and told Demery he couldn't sit in that section of John Paul Jones Arena wearing Tar Heels colors. Soon afterward, another Virginia staffer asked to see his ticket to verify that it was legitimate. And finally, associate athletic director Jason Bauman escorted Demery from his seat and relocated him to another seat 17 rows higher in the lower bowl.
"I couldn't believe it," Demery said. "I'm sitting there hoping to enjoy the game courtside and I thought it was going to work out great and in a matter of 15 minutes, it changed. I just was shaking my head thinking, 'How is this possible? How are they allowed to get away with this?'"
* * *
Michael McCann, director of the Sports Law Institute at Vermont Law School, said that Demery's contractual rights may have been breached if the ticket he purchased didn't stipulate that he could not sit in the seat unless he was a Virginia fan. McCann also said relocating Demery may have been a First Amendment violation since Virginia is a public school and has less authority to regulate speech than a private institution.
"A fan who wears the 'wrong' team's shirt should probably not be excluded from a particular seat that he has legally purchased," McCann wrote via e-mail. "Sure, schools can encourage fans of one team to sit in certain sections, but they probably can't sell a ticket and then revoke its conditions because the ticket-buyer happens to be a fan of the other team."* * *
To expand my comments, while colleges clearly have "some" authority to regulate the conduct of fans and what's known as fans' "cheering speech" (i.e., how fans cheer, either for or against a team/player - a topic which Howard has written about), their use of that authority has to be carefully drafted. For instance, if fans excessively and loudly spew out profanities at games, and there are kids around, their First Amendment rights may be trumped by various concerns, including those based on security. Plus, those fans would likely have violated the terms of their ticket admission by being so disruptive.
But merely wearing the opposing team's colors? Come on. Hard to see how that can be regulated without providing notice to ticket buyers in advance.
It's disappointing that a school founded by Thomas Jefferson, of all people, would take this approach.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Show Myself The Money? NFL agent Bob LaMonte and Representing Both Sides of Cleveland Browns Negotiation
Welcome to the world of the Cleveland Browns!
Bill Lubinger of the Cleveland Plain Dealer has the story and interviews several persons, including Rick and me:
The middle man in the Browns' 10-day coaching search was Bob LaMonte, whose influence in Berea now stretches from the team's boardroom to the coach's office.
The seasoned NFL agent represents the Browns' executive team of President Mike Holmgren, General Manager Tom Heckert and Executive Vice President Bryan Wiedmeier. He also represents Browns coach Pat Shurmur, who will be introduced today.
How is it that an agent can sit on both sides of the table without a conflict of interest?* * *
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the players union regulates agents, not the league. And, according to union rules, dual representation is not prohibited as long as an agent discloses the names of any coaches, general managers or other management types he or she represents.
* * *
"My expectation," said Scott Rosner, associate director of the Wharton Sports Business Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania, "is that it would be an arm's-length negotiation."
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Sports lawyer Rick Karcher, who directs the Center for Law and Sports at the Florida Coastal School of Law, said agents would suggest such representation is an advantage because it provides valuable connections, allows for insight other agents wouldn't have and allows them to serve as a helpful mediator when two clients clash.
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Michael McCann, director of the Sports Law Institute at the Vermont Law School, said the remedy is just that simple.
"The fix is easy, at least in theory," McCann said. "Get a new agent."
To read the rest, click here.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Could the Alleged Misdeeds of Internationally Based Boxers Put Them Down for the Count with U.S. Commissions?
For the complete article, please click on this link.
The news column caught my eye because I suggested something similar in a recent paper regarding possible bias by NBA referees. In relevant part, I wrote the following:
In the absence of collaboration in the form of direct evidence, the prima facie showing could be rebutted by an innocuous explanation. The analysis here merely lends itself to the formation of a rebuttable presumption. Without more, such analysis is uncorroborated. A subsequent investigation that includes personal interviews, polygraph tests, or the like would be necessary to conclusively ascertain whether any insidious conduct occurred.
Including such a "polygraph provision" in any league-union CBA would be unlikely, but may be an option if corruption ever reaches this level, as reported by Eric Pfanner of the New York Times in the context of European soccer.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
This second edition is 100 pages longer, with added discussion on contemporary issues on labor, international sports and intellectual property and media. Mark's book is excellent - it's clear, organized, and has a ton of useful information. I've used it in a number of my writings.
Check out the Amazon page for The Business of Sports.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
One small part of such understanding is monitoring the innings of young pitchers from one year to the next. More than a decade ago, drawing on the advice of pitching coach Rick Peterson, I developed a rule of thumb that pitchers 25 and younger should not increase their workload by more than 30 innings. It's the same theory as training for a marathon: you risk injury by jumping from a 10K to the marathon instead of incremental increases. I called it the Year After Effect because the wear and tear often was followed by regression or injury the next year.
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In recent years a new term has come into the game to prevent injuries, not just treat them: prehabilitation. Governing the workload of young pitchers has become standard procedure. Shutting down healthy pitchers in September, for instance, is a common occurrence.
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Wednesday, January 5, 2011
I was interviewed yesterday by Maggie Gray of Sports Illustrated Video to discuss:
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
I was interviewed by Public Radio's Marketplace show this morning to discuss the hearing - for an interview transcript and link to audio, click here.
Sunday, January 2, 2011
That Coach Jim Tressel recently had his contract extended for two years so he can continue to earn $3.5 million annually from The Ohio State University, a tax-exempt state university and recipient of millions of dollars in state and federal funds.
Speaking of tax exempt status, I am glad to report that the Sugar Bowl Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization, making your contributions tax deductible. The CEO of the foundation, Paul Hoolahan, receives annual compensation of $645,386 for his fine work.
For playing in this great game, Ohio State receives about 17 million dollars.
Now you know why the NCAA was so upset about these kids besmirching such charitable endeavors by accepting those free tattoos.
Congrats to Joe on negotiating the contract for Okajima, who was an all-star in 2007 but who struggled at times last year. Given the Sox's recent acquisitions of Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, along with an improved bullpen, Okajima has a legitimate chance of winning another World Series ring.
Saturday, January 1, 2011
She interviews Geoff and me for the story. Here's an excerpt:
All season, the waters of college football have been muddied by stories of student-athletes breaking rules by trying to make money or receive benefits that, per NCAA rules, they are not eligible for due to their amateur status.To read the rest, click here.
But as a 2009 ESPN.com story showed, a bona fide football star can be a multi-million dollar asset to his university. The University of Florida’s football revenues totaled $132 million in Tim Tebow’s sophomore and junior seasons combined. In exchange, the only monetary compensation the quarterback received was his scholarship worth $13,160 per year, and a minimal monthly stipend.
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Patriot News: Is there any feasible way we can find a happy medium and compensate the student-athletes while not creating dissension?
Rapp: You could allow for a fairly modest stipend. Like what grad students make teaching introductory English in exchange for $20,000 a year. Then, if you’re Terrelle, you have something in your pocket, and it reduces temptation. The real problem is that most universities couldn’t afford to give their student-athletes $10-20,000. For most universities, it would mean the end of their programs.
McCann: How would other athletes be compensated? And how would Title IX work into it? If you’re only paying the players from programs that make money — at most schools that is men’s basketball and football — other players would say “I should be paid too” and the school would say, “You’re not contributing enough to the market.” It would certainly complicate college sports, and I imagine some schools would have to cut programs to pay for this.
I went on to say that another response -- though not a complete solution -- would be for the NFL, NBA, and WNBA, and their respective players' associations, to collectively-bargain a lowering of their age/experience eligibility restrictions. Here are the current rules:
- The NBA requires that U.S. players be 19-years-old and one-year removed from high school.
- The WNBA requires that U.S. players be four-years removed from high school or at least 22-years old.
- The NFL requires that players be three-years removed from high school.
Lowered eligibility would mean that college football and basketball players who would be drafted if they were eligible could then leave college (or not go to college) and pursue those leagues and thereby earn income for their labor. These are the same players who, because they are the best, presumably generate the most fan interest and are thus the most deserving of gaining compensation for their services. To be sure, some of these players would prefer to attend/remain in college, develop their games, and obtain a college education - the choice, though, would be theirs.
None of this is to say that other college student-athletes don't deserve to be paid for their athletic achievements, but if only some can be paid, it would seem that players who are 1) good enough to turn pro and 2) would turn pro but can't because of arbitrary age limits should be first in line.