Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fan expression of a different kind

All sorts of fan speech going around today.

The Florida Marlins signed Adam Greenberg to a one-day contract and he will play next week against the Mets (R.A. Dickey on the mound, looking for his 20th win). Greenberg was beaned  in his first Major League at-bat with the Cubs in 2005 (against the Marlins, ironically) and has spent the last seven years trying to overcome post-concussion symptoms. His opportunity came about as a result of the efforts of the One At Bat Foundation, which has been lobbying (and encouraging and helping fans to lobby) MLB and teams to sign Greenberg and allow him to get an official at-bat.

Greenberg is Jewish (he most recently played for Israel in the World Baseball Classic Qualifiers), so there is something appropriate about this happening on the heels of Yom Kippur, where we hope to be inscribed not only for a life, but for a successful and meaningful life.

Ideas in action

Over the summer, Dan Markel (Florida State) and I wrote a short piece for The Atlantic arguing for the creation of "Fan Action Committees" ("FACs"), through which fans could collect and give money to free agent players to lure them to join fans' favorite team. We currently are working, along with Mike, on a longer version of the piece.

As everyone knows, this week's Monday Night Football game between Green Bay and Seattle ended on a touchdown on the final play of the game, in what most people outside Seattle believe was one of the worst calls, and worst-handled calls, in NFL history.* Several Green Bay players took to Twitter to express their dispelasure, notably offensive linement T.J. Lang, who tweeted ""Fine me and use the money to pay the regular refs." Shortly after that, a fan posted on the site Indiegogo (the page has been taken down, unfortunately) encouraging fans to send money to Lang to help him pay the fine that most believed was inevitable, as the NFL routinely fines players, coaches, and executives who criticize officiating. As it turned out, the league announced it would not impose fines for any comments related to Monday's game, no doubt a concession to the egregiousness of the mistake.

Still, this is our FAC idea in action--fans paying money as a show of fandom and of support for their favorite players. Although we primarily discussed the idea only in the context of free agency, this shows that fans may support players through money for a number of difference reasons in a number of different contexts. And it shows that fans instinctively understand this as a legitimate way to express support for their favorite players and teams.

    * Which, it turns out, will be the last call ever by the replacement referees, at least in this labor dispute.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Replay it Again Sam

After watching the end of last night’s Seattle-Green Bay affair at my favorite watering hole, Rick’s CafĂ© in Casablanca, I asked Carl, Rick’s right hand man, whether the game was honest. “Honest?” he repeated, “As honest as the day is long.”

To say the replacement refs have not been up to the level of their striking counterparts the first three games of the season is an understatement. But Monday night was a sight to behold on what still is, in the hearts of many, the NFL showcase game of the week.

In case you missed it, Seattle attempted the proverbial Hail Mary trailing 12 to 7 with 8 seconds remaining. Quarterback Russell Wilson heaved the ball some 60 yards where two of his players jockeyed for position amidst five Packers. The perfectly named Golden Tate pushed the defender in front of him away and leaped to catch the pigskin only to be out leapt by Packer safety M.D. Jennings who made the circus catch falling to the ground, while Tate still had one hand lamely clinging to the ball.

Two replacements stood over the pair looking befuddled, one signaling touchdown, the other making the correct call that the game was over with Green Bay the victor. No review. No discussion. No Mas. Final score: Seattle 14 Green Bay 12.

While my media hero Michael McCann makes a good point that these ne’er do well officials threaten the safety of the players, thus perhaps justifying legal action by the union to demand the league cough up the relative pennies to end the strike, much more is at stake here.

No less a rapscallion than Jimmy Connors said afterwards he no longer would bet on the NFL. Now that is a problem. Estimates vary, but it is safe to say the amount of gambling money flowing through the economy during an NFL season is in the billions of dollars. Recorded wagers in Las Vegas are about $650 million, with $90 million bet on the Super Bowl alone. And that’s legal bets, sure to be just a fraction of actual bets. If betting on an NFL game is like betting on a bout in the World Wrestling League, that free flow of money will soon be reduced to a trickle.

It’s time for the Commissioner to act for the good of gamblers everywhere.

Monday, September 24, 2012

As NASCAR goes, so goes America?

Two years ago, I wrote about a poll showing the general politcal breakdown of sports fans. It found that sports fans overall leaned Republican, with NASCAR fans among the strongest Republican supporters (along with fans of golf and college football). Zogby just published a poll showing Obama with a lead among self-identified NASCAR fans (admittedly small sample size of only about 200 out of an overall sample of 800).

Destination: "Abnormally dangerous conditions"

After watching this weekend’s NFL games, it is obvious that the replacement referees are patently incapable of maintaining order during a game.  Blown calls—made or not—are maddening, inconsistency and human error are part of officiating sports. What is unacceptable is the loss of control on the field, leading to an unsafe environment for the participants.

The caliber of officiating is abysmal, these aren’t even elite Division I referees because those conferences are not letting them work NFL games.   With Division II referees attempting to manage games, the players are responding like the teacher has left the room and they have a poor substitute teacher trying to maintain order—it’s not happening.   Let's be clear, the referees are doing the best they can, but are overmatched by the speed, violence, and intensity of NFL football.

What can be done?

1. The NFL’s CBA has a “no strike clause” which, in theory, would restrict the ability of the players to strike in sympathy with the referees.

2. However, as Michael McCann recently analyzed on Sports Law Blog, clause 29 USC 143 of the NLRB permits a worker from refusing, in good faith, to work under “abnormally dangerous conditions”, and 29 USC 143 is applicable to NFL labor conditions.  Aren’t we there?   Football is a violent sport. Referees who are grossly inexperienced are posing a real and imminent safety risk to the players on the field.

3. The NFLPA could, and at this point I’m arguing should, take action.  Either:

a. The NFLPA could refuse to play under the current conditions, citing the very real fact that the workplace is fret with “abnormally dangerous conditions”…OR

b. Could ask the courts for an immediate injunction, terminating the current lockout by the NFL of the referees. In theory, the referees could go back to work while the parties continue to negotiate or mediate this mess.

4. We love sports and the tort doctrine "assumption of the risk" is well established because injuries are part of the game.  However, when a football player consents to risk, they do so under the assumption that the game will be managed by professionals, able to maintain safety standards that are paramount to the operation of these contents.  Based on what we have seen in the first three weeks of the 2012 NFL season, that safe work environment is missing.

5. An even bigger issue facing the NFL than the debacle surrounding replacement referees is the concussion litigation.  Here, the NFL is doing everything imaginable to argue that they care about player safety--with potential damages in the $ 1 BILLION range.  Doesn't it make sense to show some legitimate good will regarding player health and safety now?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Secure your future with retirement plans

Retirement is one of the toughest decisions to make in life. There’s always some greed of working a couple of months extra in order to accumulate a little more cash and there’s always a fear whether they amount of money you’ve saved after working endlessly for decades will last you your entire retired life! But trust us, with proper planning and a positive attitude, the money you’ve saved after working hard and burning yourself daily for decades will definitely prove its merit and last you your entire life. Here are a few tips that can help you with your retirementplanning .

·         Brush up your basics: You should pick up newspapers daily and read up the financial sections. Papers have a specialized column dedicated to latest developments in the field of investments, mutual funds etc. You need to study them well in order to be abreast with the latest developments. Unless you’re clear with the basics, you cannot go a long way with your retirement planning. Also, keep one thing in mind that your retirement income in usually 65-70% of the money you earn when you’re well settled. After retirement, your life will sober down a bit as compared to your heydays.
·         Keep a track of your present income: Most professionals don’t keep a track of their money. They don’t have an account sheet where they can note down the money they’ve spent the loans you’ve given or have borrowed. This will help you to effectively plan out a data chart showing whether your expenses are going towards needs or wants! This will give you a realistic figure of the amount you can save every month so as to decide the best retirement plan in India for you.

·         Calculate your future position: There are various factors which we are dependent on for our future. It might be our children, our social security benefit and so on. But assess them carefully and evaluate the kind of benefits you stand to receive in your future. We’re not talking about your children here but rather, plans like social security benefits. Aren’t plans like social security dwindling? If not, what’s their scope in near future? Such questions need to be answered for building an effective wealthmanagement plan for future.

·         Forecast future expenses: This is what we are looking at majorly. You need to forecast your future expenses to see how much money you’ll spend each month. To best way to calculate is to keep on noting down your daily expenses that take place right since the time your day starts till the time it ends. You’ll have an amazing idea of how much you spend on auto/taxi, how much on outside food, how much on other wants which are now unavoidable. Even if you go to the best of wealth management companies in India, they’ll suggest you the same.
·         Start investing! : After you’ve carefully evaluated all pros and cons, it is time to start investing! Start investing a portion of your salary for your future.

Vehicle Finance - What You Need to Know

Instead of resulting to other forms of loans, vehicle finance emerged to cater for the specific needs of soon to be car owners. Vehicle finance now permits more people the possibility to attain a vehicle, without having to save up for a long time first. It is also relatively easy to apply and the process doesn't take too long.
So once your financing has been approved all that is required is to pay a small down payment upfront and the rest in monthly installments- becoming a part of your monthly responsibilities.
Vehicle finance options
The two types of vehicle finance options are - Installment Sale agreements and Lease Sale agreements.
Installment Sale Agreement: the vehicle belongs to the dealer, or private seller who purchases the vehicle. Payments are made over a specified period, and after your last payment you will take full ownership.
The interest rate of this option can either be fixed or of a variable nature, and the upper limit of interest that can be charged by a financial institution is governed by the Act of Parliament (the National Credit Act).
A Lease Sale Agreement: with this option you can lease a vehicle from the owner with the option to buy at the end of the agreement. The upside to this option is the fact that you will have the convenience of having a vehicle without outright ownership and you could get a tax return.

What are the legal implications of buying a vehicle?
Anyone under the age of 18 may not apply for vehicle finance.
As the buyer you have the right to receive a vehicle free of any hidden faults, but only if you purchase your vehicle through an approved dealer.
Your responsibilities are:
• Keep the vehicle in impeccable condition until your final credit agreement has been paid
• To make sure that the deposit is paid and the remaining installments
• Ensure that your vehicle is insured
• To take delivery of the vehicle on the agreed date
If you default on your repayments, the finance company has the right to:
• Sue you for the arrears
• Claim damages from you
• Cancel the sale agreement
• Repossess the vehicle
The signing of a surety:
If you need someone to stand surety for you in order to qualify for credit, remember that if you fail to make a payment, the financial institution can hold the person who signed for you personally responsible for the outstanding payments. The financial institution will still ensure that you will be financially reliable to make your payments.
Lastly, make sure that your vehicle comes with a warranty. A good dealership will provide extra services such as vehicle finance and insurance, licensing for the vehicle, a vehicle condition report, roadworthy certificate etc.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Death of an Automobile Dealership

Closing a store requires considerable effort and attention and the items listed below, in no particular order, are minimal considerations when terminating a franchise and closing a dealership operation.
Basic Preparation
1. Officers, Directors and Shareholders
Be certain to hold both directors and shareholders meetings and to obtain resolutions from each entity, authorizing the dealer to liquidate the dealership, or a substantial portion of the dealership's assets.
Determine whether or not the board and shareholders may authorize you a termination bonus and prepay your for your services in "winding down the business". Consult with your accountant and attorney to determine what would be a reasonable amount of compensation in the event a company creditor challenges the transaction.

Determine if it is reasonable for officers to buy themselves and their spouse vehicles. Pay "Net" "Net", as that would be the sales price if the vehicle were returned to the factory or sold to a purchaser of the business.
The officers should open a new bank account, at a different bank, and: (a) use a PO Box, or Private Mail Service as a mailing address; and (b) use a different check color in order to easily determine pre and post closing checks written.
Authorize payment to and pre-pay the company's attorney and accountant with a retainer. Their services will be needed to properly close the business and the company might not be able to pay them later.
Authorize pre-payment of whatever services or supplies the company will need to be serviced during the wind-down period. For example, property and personal insurance, real property taxes (if the property is not owned by a third party), rent, utilities and such.
2. The Facility and Insurance
A one-sheet summary of the lease should be attached to the original, in order to facilitate matters. The summary should include such items as: the dates of the base term; the base rent; the current rent; the dates of any option periods, together with notations regarding rent increases; the facility ownership; the lessee and lessor; a notation as to whether or not the factory has point, or site protection; the rent as an equivalent to the dollar value per new unit sold; and, a notation as to WHETHER OR NOT THE LEASE IS ASSIGNABLE and under what conditions.
Other considerations regarding the facility lease include violations of the ADA, hazardous materials (underground gas tanks, or underground oil disposal tanks) being located on the property.
Owned Facilities
With respect to receiving "factory termination assistance", some Sales and Service Agreements, General Motors for example, make a distinction between "owner occupied" and "leased" dealership facilities. Be sure to read your Sales and Service Agreement in order to understand and be able to capitalize on the distinctions.
Leased Facilities
If the selling dealer's rent factor prior to the sale of the dealership is within factory guidelines the factory should make the dealer's lease payments for the period specified in the Service and Sales Agreement. (See, however, the EPA section.)
Check with your insurance agent to determine the requirements for insuring an empty building.
Other Insurance
In addition to facility insurance the dealer will need a "tail" or rider on his or her garage keepers insurance. Most insurance today is "claims made" versus "occurrence".
In actual practice, most cases that are settled are settled within the insurance policy limits and the insurance company will have paid for both the defense and the settlement.
With respect to Medical Insurance, arrange for COBRA all employees of the company. Again, officers and directors may be able to include medical insurance payments as part of their wind-down compensation.
3. UCC, Mechanic's Lien and Title Searches
Most dealers are not cognizant of all existing liens on dealership's assets.
In order to accurately estimate the selling dealer's anticipated net proceeds, all of these liens will have to be discovered, preferably, prior to negotiations.
Possession of title reports and UCC-1 reports will give the dealer adequate time to address the issues and to have readily available answers, if and when a prospective purchaser raises the issue.
4. Taxes Due and Anticipated
The dealership's comptroller or accountant, should prepare a sheet of all taxes currently owed by the dealership and all anticipated taxes. The list should identify the amount, to who owed and the reason. In certain states unpaid taxes have a "superlien" status and if unpaid the selling dealer's assets can and will be attached to recover unpaid taxes due by the selling dealership. This attachment can occur months after the dealership has closed.
As a general rule, anyone authorized to sign on the checking account can be held personally liable for at least ½ of the payroll withholding tax, as well as 100% of all of the sales taxes due. In addition, in some instances dealers have been held personally liable for monies collected from customers that should have been treated as "trust" monies, such as: customer trade payoffs, customer credit and life insurance premiums, and customer warranty and service contract premiums.
5. Notes and Accounts Receivable From Others
The "Notes and Accounts Receivable - Other" account is usually a "catch-all" account on the dealership statement. For purposes of a dealership sale, this account should be purified (1) in order to apprise the dealer of any extra funds, which may be available for final sales and property taxes and (2) to make both the dealer and accountant aware of any "in-house" loans to officers, directors and employees, which may have to be repaid.
6. Prepaid Expenses
The prepaid expense account is another "catch-all" account that must be purified. When scheduling the prepaid expense account the comptroller should make a thorough search for all lease and contract deposits. In many instances, service equipment on lease, vehicles on lease, computers on lease, and other leases made to the dealership carry security deposits, or the last month's payment, or both.
7. Dealership Employees
Along with the normal employer-employee relations, there are two very important legal areas that may affect automobile dealers: (a) pension fund liability; and (b) state and federal laws regarding closings.
In some states the selling dealer could be personally liable for funding employee pension funds; while in others the dealer must give employees advance notice of any closing. Also, the United States Congress passed legislation regarding "closings". In the instances of "closings", both state and federal laws put a minimum on the number of persons employed, usually 50 or 100, before the law applies to the dealer's company. Check the Hart Scott Rodino Act (HSR) and the WARN Act.
With respect to wages, some jurisdictions have enacted statutes making certain shareholders personally liable for corporate debts owing to laborers and other employees. Welfare and pension funds also qualify as wages under New York's statute.
The comptroller, or accountant should prepare a
list of these liabilities, to include any amounts due the employees, with respect to accrued vacations, withholding taxes, pension and profit sharing plans and wages, as of the date of close.
Insofar as the actual terminations are concerned, if the dealership is "union", the dealer should talk to the union's representative in order to be sure that all of the conditions of the union contract are met.
8. Long Term Debt
All long-term debt should be itemized and a method of repayment determined. Interest should be computed. When past due interest and past due payments are added to the loan balance, the loan pay-offs are generally higher than anticipated.
The comptroller should prepare a list of these debts, to include the amount owed including interest, to who owed, purpose of debt, maturity, terms and security given. In addition, after the list is completed, the comptroller should keep a running total, daily, through close of escrow.
9. Other Notes Payable
As with long-term debt, other notes payable should be listed by amount including interest to date of close, to whom owed, purpose of note, maturity, terms and security given; and arrangements should be made to retire the debt.
10. The Financial Statements
The retail automobile business is one of the few businesses requiring a complete closing of all books and records, promptly, at the end of each and every month. Factories and finance companies require reporting on factory originated, or approved forms.
In preparing the store for closing, a reconciliation statement may be used, explaining categories such as "other income & expense", warranty, finance and insurance income not shown on the statement, along with extraordinary items.
You will need a final financial statement for tax purposes.
11. Storage of Records
Dealerships amass a great deal of paperwork, the safe, accessible, storage of which will present a necessary problem to the selling dealer. No dealership record will be as important as it is on the day it cannot be found. Former dealers have related stories of attempting to retrieve documents from mini-storage facilities, in both rain and snow.
The appropriate time period should be determined, only after the dealer's accountant and attorney have considered and advised the dealer with respect to statute of limitations problems and other document retention regulations, peculiar to the political area in which dealership is located.
12. In-House Service Contracts
If the dealer has sold any "in-house service contracts", the selling dealer will not want former customers calling at his or her home for repairs, or complaints; therefore, a system of service, along the following lines, should be negotiated with a dealer located in close proximity to the closing store.
13. The Hard Assets
Parts and Accessories
Each factory has its own definition of "returnable" parts and returnable accessories. Most also include a discount for packing and shipping.
Just prior to closing, a computer printout ought to be obtained listing all parts and accessories, their purchase date and cost in invoice.
Parts and Accessories need to be segregated into "returnable" and "non-returnable" categories. Returnable parts and accessories need to be inventoried and packaged according to the factory's specifications
Non-returnable items need to be marketed to other dealers or parts houses such as "Napa". Note: Some "non-returnable" parts may in fact be returnable to the supplier from who it was purchased, such as Delco, MotorCraft, Mopar, Napa, etc.
Do not mark on or damage original packages when inventorying or packing as some factories will not classify items in marked packages as "returnable".
Be sure to account for aftermarket items such as Gas, Oil & Grease, Nuts, Bolts, Supplies, Work in Process and Repair Order (Need to collect A/Rs), Signs, Tools, Miscellaneous Equipment & Supplies.
Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment
The hard assets fall into two categories: (a) Those repurchased by the factory, such as special tools, parts equipment, signs, some computer systems, etc.; and those not repurchased by the factory, such as desks, chairs, etc.
Repurchased and non-repurchased items should be segregated and an inventory / auction service contacted to bid the auction on the non-repurchased items. When considering the auction, terms such as advertising time, location, minimum bids, guaranteed minimums from the auctioneer, and so forth, must be considered.
Leasehold Improvements
The value of Leasehold Improvements is generally lost in the termination process.
While accomplishing a new vehicle inventory valuation is a relatively, routine matter, it is also time consuming; consequently, in order for a dealer to realize full value, or each vehicle, at time of transfer, a checklist must be compiled and maintained. There are certain additions to, and subtractions from, the invoice price that must be made.
The difference in cash to be paid by purchaser's flooring entity to the dealer's flooring institution can be considerable, especially with respect to domestic lines, where holdback monies routinely average between $400 and $600 per unit, or more.
A dealer needs to be aware of this figure, early on in order to provide for the contingency during negotiations.
Various states have laws more liberal than the factory's Sales and Service Agreements and the specific laws of the terminating dealer's jurisdiction should be review. For example, Maine requires that the factory repurchase terminating dealers' entire new vehicle inventory, regardless of model year. Some states require the factory repurchase only current model year vehicles and others current plus one year carry-over.
In MSO states, the dealer should control all vehicle keys and MSOs - if the lender does not already have them.
Prepare to liquidate used vehicles and any dealership vehicles such as parts trucks, courtesy vans, demonstrators and snow plows. It is generally easier to obtain a good price for them by not letting anyone "cherry pick". Several wholesales should bid them as a "group".
Make list of carryovers and if the factory will not repurchase them have the wholesalers bid them separately and also shop them with other dealers.
Dealer plates must be surrendered and accounted for when the dealer license is terminated.
13. Appraisals and Auctions
There are a number of competent, recognized appraisers, our firm could recommend. In order to maximize the dollar value of an appraisal or auction, the dealer should contact several firms, determine how they operate, what records will be required, the method for valuing. After obtaining such information, the dealer should know the precise form and schedules necessary in order to maximize the appraisal or sale of the fixed assets. In addition, by assigning an employee to thoroughly prepare the assets and schedules, the dealer will better understand the value of the assets at the premises.
Perhaps the greatest problems, with respect to appraisals and auctions, are: (1) neither party takes the time to understand the methods and reasoning used by the appraisal/auction company; and (2) the dealer almost never adequately prepares the assets and schedules. We invariably find that all of the dealership's assets do not appear on schedules, either because they have been fully depreciated, or because of an error.
14. Contracts for Services
Service maintenance contracts and personal service contracts should be reviewed for personal guarantees, term and assignability. An oversight could mean that personal liability, for performance, would remain with the selling dealer. Service maintenance contracts should be scheduled, with the detail indicating the amount of each payment, duration of agreement, service to be rendered, and any personal liability. Any contracts that can be cancelled should be calendared for cancellation.
15. Contingent Liability and Reserves
The dealer should know the amount of all outstanding retail paper, which has been unconditionally guaranteed by the dealership, or the dealer. The dealer should know which the dealership's reserve account will be subject to charge backs, for early payoffs and the amount, if any, of recourse against the dealer and the dealership.
A spreadsheet of the outstanding contracts should be compiled, detailing, in addition to collateral description, remaining term and delinquency status, and credit grade, such as A, B, or C, or whatever system the finance company uses. The type of recourse, average monthly reserve charge-backs and the current reserve balance should also be included.
Shortly after informing the financing institutions of the dealer's intent to close the dealership, the lenders should again be approached, regarding the availability of any "walk-away" programs. Furthermore, in the event the dealership has been operating with reduced reserve retention, the amount required to bring the reserve(s) to standard, upon cessation of retail operations, should be determined. On occasion, this amount has proved to be significant.
Eventually, when confidentiality is no longer an issue, the dealer should discuss with the lender, the handling of future repossessions, extensions, renewals and other maintenance functions. If the prior dealer-lender relationship was good, the dealer will discover that an incredible amount of help available from a cooperative finance company.
Lastly, if the dealer discovers a large contingency, a certain degree of assistance may be negotiated with the buyer.
16. Accounts Receivable and Cash
While apparently obvious, dealership cash must be considered. Generally a new checking account should be opened at a financial institution that is not affiliated with the dealer's current business. Also, if possible, a locally owned bank should be used, versus a national bank. The dealer should consider reducing the number of signatories on the checking account(s) to two, one of which is the dealer and, effective the day of the close, the number of signatories should be reduced to the dealer principal only.
Factory Receivables
From the moment a decision to close the store is reached, factory receivables should receive concentrated attention. The very instant an awareness of the pending closing reaches the factory, the payments cease.
Try to resolve all problem receivables, such as warranty disputes, well before the closing. In any event, assistance from the factory, following the close of escrow will be essential to process warranty re-submissions and other problems.
Employee Receivables
Employee receivables should also be thoroughly analyzed during this preliminary stage. An immediate policy, of no advances, should be established.
Without causing alarm, employee receivables should be scheduled and a course of repayment established. One of the better methods is to prepare a schedule of what each employee owes and, as the final pay periods approach, make certain the receivables are deducted from the employee's final checks. Unfortunately, some states do not allow the dealer to set-off debts against wages. Your state's policy/law should be reviewed with your attorney before proceeding to set-off any employee debt.
Customer and Vehicle Receivables
The selling dealer should make certain that vehicle receivables and customer accounts, other than service and parts, are pure. Necessary adjustments and write-offs should be made, with the purpose of arriving at a receivable figure which realistically depicts the amount of cash which can be expected.
If the dealership's service and parts policy has been well monitored, these accounts should pay in an orderly manner. In addition, the dealer should decide whether collections should be performed by dealer, and one or more employees, or whether the dealer can sell the accounts to a factoring house.
17. Leased Equipment
Not all leases can be cancelled. The dealer should determine which, if any, of the leases have personal guarantees, and with respect to such leases, make a concerted effort to negotiate a settlement with the lessor. That assumes that the corporation is insolvent. If the corporation is solvent, than settlements need to be negotiated with respect to corporate leases.
18. EPA Inspection
If the real property is owned by the closing dealer, it is important for the dealer to determine where and what the problems are likely to be. If underground gas or oil storage tanks have ever been located on the dealership real property, the dealer should, if not already available, contact a private inspection agency and obtain a certificate of clearance, or compliance, with respect to it.
Be aware, no agreements between the parties can modify, or redistribute their respective liabilities, with respect to state and federal laws.
19. Expenses of Transaction
There are certain extraordinary expenses, such as real estate appraisal fees, consultant fees, attorney and accounting fees, which are incidental to the preparing a dealership for closing. These expenses will be paid both from the dealership general account and directly from the closing dealer's personal account. The dealer should alert the bookkeeper to maintain a separate journal, in which to record these expenses, in order that the accountants may readily determine the costs of sale and categories of expenditures, for income tax purposes, both personal and business.
Closing Date
Absent exigent circumstances, the dealer should estimate the amount of time necessary to prepare the store for closing, usually approximately thirty days. If possible, the closing should be on a payday.
The Comptroller's Responsibilities
The Dealer's comptroller should prepare, or be responsible for the preparation of, the following items and documents, for transfer:
The Books & Records;
All Purchase Orders and Deposits;
The Franchise Termination Letter and the Factory's, or Distributor's Acceptance of the Buyer's Resignation;
The Accounts Receivable List;
Prepaid Expenses;
Preparing a Leased Equipment Inventory;
Securing Old Credit card plates and Machines;
The Parts and Accessories Return, Vehicle Return, and Rent Assistance Demand Letters;
The Transfer and/or cancellation of various: Telephone Numbers; Post Office Boxes;
The insurance arrangements: life, garage keeper's tail, real and personal property, health, etc.
The Dealer's Responsibilities
The Dealer should prepare, or be responsible for reviewing and supervising all of the items in the checklist and for the preparation of the following items:
Decide on the employees that are required to stay in order to complete the closing of the store.
Check for sold orders decide whether to deliver, cancel, or refer to another dealer.
Cancel company credit cards, including any phone credit cards and any mobile phones - except your own.
Secure telephone service. Set a Voice Mail message regarding a dealership referral.
If necessary, talk to a Realtor and list the facility on the market (lease or sale).
Find out where credit card monies are deposited and move the account if it is in the same bank where the company's general account resides.
Close out, or transfer to another dealer all active service ROs. If possible, negotiate a referral fee.
Create a press release for store closing.
Cancel all new vehicle orders that are not scheduled, do not order any new cars.
Close out all service ROs so that work is completed by date of close. Do not accept any work that can't be completed by store shutdown date.
As always, when closing a dealership, you should always consult with a qualified attorney and accountant.
John Pico is the managing partner of Advising Automobile Dealers LLC. Mr. Pico served as a court appointed "Consultant to Debtor" in bankruptcy cases, a "Court Appointed Mediator" in automotive disputes, the "Court Appointed Arbitrator / Appraiser" in partnership disputes, a "Court Approved Consultant to Receiver" in a check-kiting case, as a "Superior Court Mediator" in dealership/lender litigation and has been recognized as an expert witness on both State and Federal levels.
He has consulted on upside-down positions of over $50 Million, out of trust position of over $4 Million and a bank overdraft of $30 Million. Since 1972, Mr. Pico has completed over 1,000 automobile dealership transactions, whose combined values exceed One Billion Dollars.
By John Pico J.D.

Floyd Mayweather, Jr.: In trouble again?

Last week, Las Vegas police investigated an alleged verbal altercation between Mayweather and an unidentified woman in a home owned by one of Mayweather's companies. According to records obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Mayweather apparently argued with the woman, took personal possessions from her, and then later had an associate return the items he took. Although she was not identified as the woman in question, Melissa Brim, the mother of one of Mayweather's daughter, reportedly lives at this address. In 2002, Mayweather pleaded guilty to domestic violence charges stemming from an altercation with Brim.   . . . .
In fairness to Mayweather, police did not uncover evidence of physical violence and he has not been charged with a crime. But that may not matter. The typical test for violating probation would not require Mayweather to be convicted of a crime or even get arrested. Instead, merely spending time with known criminals or traveling to locations deemed off-limits by the terms of probation can be enough. Considering Mayweather's history with Brim, there's reason to believe his probation compels him to avoid conflict with her. Mayweather's alleged dispossession of the woman's personal belongings might also be grounds for violating probation.
To read the rest, click here.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Creative rule changes, injuries, and the nature of football

A few weeks ago, Chuck Klosterman at Grantland proposed three rule changes for the NFL. I want to discuss one of the ideas: Legalize both holding on the offensive line and downfield contact on receivers until the ball is in the air. Klosterman's theory goes as follows:
  1. It's incessantly (and accurately) argued that referees could feasibly call holding on every single pass play; it's really just a matter of whether or not the ref sees the infraction clearly enough (or whether it happens to be especially egregious). This would end that arbitrary judgment call. Phantom holds and missed holds would no longer matter. Moreover, there would be fewer penalties in general (and as a consequence, fewer stoppages of play).  

  2. If holding were legal, quarterbacks would be able to stand in the pocket much, much longer. But this advantage would be mitigated by the way cornerbacks could now cover wide receivers. The Mel Blount Rule was implemented in 1978 to open up the passing game; essentially, it limits the contact on WRs to one chuck within five yards of the line of scrimmage. But if a defensive back could essentially hand-check a receiver as he runs his route, the ability of that receiver to get separation would drastically decrease. In other words, it would be easier for the quarterback to accurately throw the ball downfield, but much more difficult for any receiver to break open. I suspect the impact on passing statistics would be negligible; the numbers might decrease a little, but that's OK. It's become too easy to throw for 4,000 yards in a season.

  3. Obviously, concussions can happen at any time. But when do they happen most dramatically? It's usually when a wideout is sprinting unencumbered on a crossing route and a strong safety blows him apart when the ball arrives late. If cornerbacks could keep their hands on a receiver for most of the play, this kind of hyper-violent collision would happen more rarely (because WRs simply could not run free over the middle of the field). Meanwhile, letting offensive linemen hold would also decrease the likelihood of quarterbacks absorbing death blows from unblocked edge blitzers (because linemen could at least reach out and get a hand on the guy as he flies into the backfield). Changing these two rules might be the easiest way to decrease the number (and the severity) of concussions without totally changing the nature of the sport; in fact, it might make the game simultaneously safer and more physical. Football would still look like football.
One more thing as to # 3: It might also change the nature of line play, possibly reducing injuries to linemen. By allowing offensive linemen to use their hands, they can play more upright, perhaps reducing drive-blocking and the constant collisions at the line, which likely account for a lot of the injuries to linemen (one proposal I have seen is to eliminate the three-point stance and have all lineman start upright). Obviously, this change does not eliminate concussions or injuries; just as obviously, lots of pre-1978 players are suffering from brain trauma, so players were getting hit really hard and really often even when corners could grab and hold.

Still, it strikes me as an interesting idea and not one that contradicts our understanding of what "really" constitutes football or the way football should be played. Of course, even if the game is still football, would it be an enjoyable game to watch if everyone is able to hold or hand-check off the ball.


ASU Sports Law Symposium

The Sports & Entertainment Law Student Association at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law is hosting its 3rd Annual Conference on Sports and Entertainment Law on Saturday October 27, 2012 on the Arizona State University campus in Tempe, Arizona. Complete conference details can be found at this link. Here are the scheduled speakers:

Panel Session I: Amateurism Moderator: Chuck Schmidt
Panelists: Stephen Webb, Tim Epstein, Darren Heitner, Mark Mignella and Marc Isenberg

Panel Session II: CBA Moderator: Caleb Jay
Panelists: Tim Epstein, Gregg Clifton and Travis Leach

Panel Session III: Concussions & Sports Litigation Moderator: Jason Belzer
Panelists: Travis Leach, Paul Anderson, David Dodick and Scott Peters

Keynote Address: Jared Bartie
Honored Guest Speaker: Jerry Colangelo

Panel Session IV: Entertainment & Right of Publicity Moderator: Caleb Jay
Panelists: Connie Mableson, James Marovich, Leonard Aragon and Mark Conrad

Panel Session V: Future of Gambling & Gaming Moderator: Dana Hooper
Panelists: Bill Squadron, Mark Brnovich and Marc Isenberg

Ethics Presentation: Steven Adelman

Panel Session VI: Business of Sports & Entertainment Moderator: Jason Belzer
Panelists: Woodie Dixon Jr., Jeffrey Benz, Don Gibson and Deborah Spander

Town Hall: Current Issues in Sports Law Moderator: Sam Renaut
Panelists: Lester Munson, Tim Epstein and Darren Heitner

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Brief History of Pro Hockey Work Stoppages

Year: 1992
Type: Strike
Duration: 10 days: between April 1st and April 11th, 1992. 30 regular season games were cancelled, but ultimately made up.
Result: Fundamentally altered the relationship between the NHL and NHLPA. The owners finally realized that they needed to take the players seriously. The players won major concessions in marketing rights, an increased revenue share from the playoffs, and changes to the free agency system. In order to generate additional revenue the regular season was expanded from 80 to 84 games.

Year: 1994
Type: Lockout
Duration: From October 1, 1994 to January 11, 1995. In the end, a total of 468 games, including the All-Star game, were lost.
Result: There was growing concern about the viability of the small market teams. The league wanted to implement a luxury tax, which the players saw as a salary cap—something they were vehemently against. The players, recognizing the struggles of small market teams, argued for revenue sharing—transferring money from large market to small market teams.

Ultimately, the lockout ended when several large market teams relinquised the luxury tax as an ultimatum. Salary caps for rookies and two-way contracts were implemented. The season was cut from 84 to 82 games. Several teams moved as a result of this work stoppage—Quebec to Colorado, Winnipeg to Phoenix, and Hartford to Carolina.

Year: 2004
Type: Lockout
Duration: The entire 2004-05 season was cancelled.
Result: Real financial issues forced the owners to demand, and ultimately obtain, a salary cap. Players gave up significant financial benefits, including a 24% rollback of salaries. However, the players did receive a guaranteed fixed percentage of league revenues each season. As a result, a new financial structure for the business of hockey was created. Successful? League revenue has grown from $2 billion in 2003-04 to $3.3 billion in 2011-12.

Year: 2012
Type: Lockout
Duration: TBD
Result: The fourth major work stoppage in professional hockey in the past 20 years.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Foul Ball? New "Moneyball" Rankings of Most Relevant Law Professors

It was only a matter of time until the ubiquitous worlds of law school-related rankings and Moneyball collided. I didn't expect the convergence, however, to be found by Berkeley Law Professor John Yoo, a controversial figure based on his authoring of "torture memos" during the presidency of George W. Bush.

In a new study, Yoo and a co-author claim to have a list of the 50 most relevant law professors. The ranking is based entirely on citations in law review articles. And only professors at the so-called "top 16" law schools are eligible for ranking. Yoo, who according to his own study is the 24th most relevant law professor, blogs about his study on Richochet in a post he titles "Moneyball Comes to the Ivory Tower".

I don't think Billy Beane (or, if you prefer, Paul DePodesta or Daryl Morey or Mike Zarren or Dean Oliver) would be proud. What about teaching? Or helping students learn how to actually practice law? Or helping students get an internship or, better yet, a job? Law students are largely footing the bill of legal education and I suspect what's most "relevant" to them is getting a job out of a law school, or at least real-world experience while in school. It's true some of those qualities may be difficult to quantify, but if a so-called "Moneyball" study alleges to measure "relevance" it should do just that.

In fairness to Yoo, he acknowledges the study's limitations and he recognizes that teaching is important: "Finally, faculty also teach and have other responsibilities within and without law schools, and citation studies can never measure these important professional functions". But the tone of "faculty also teach" to me, at least, does not signal that Yoo views teaching as important of a priority. Which it should be. He also doesn't seem to address the crucial role of faculty in helping students obtain real world experiences and employment.

Also, as noted in a Facebook comment by Jacob Gottlieb, having many citations is not necessarily a good thing, especially if you are frequently cited in rebuke. And this may be true of Yoo, who is often cited by other law professors in a negative way.

And there's the argument against a study like this on grounds that law review articles do not influence judges or law makers, and may just be an overweening form of currency for law professors to make and keep tenure. I don't endorse that view, but I also believe that other qualities are probably more important, and teaching and helping students with internships and jobs are among those qualities.

Lastly, there's a powerful point raised by Ken Houghton in the comments section below. Moneyball is based on identifying efficiencies to obtain a competitive advantage over other teams. For many years, baseball teams undervalued on base percentage and runs scored; Beane, with good counsel, was among the first general managers to correctly value those metrics and that gave him an advantage over other teams in evaluating players. Evaluating law professors based on their legal scholarship and how often they are cited in legal scholarship, in contrast, has been around forever. Yoo seems to have developed a new method of evaluating citations, but that is different from identifying undervalued efficiencies in evaluating faculty. A true "Moneyball professor", in other words, is probably one undervalued by the very metric Yoo proposes.

For another take on Yoo's study, see David Lat's post on Above the Law.

The Impending NHL Lockout

A few comments on the impending NHL lockout of the players:

1. Unlike the last CBA negotiations, the players are unified and active. Here is a list of the 283 players that were in New York City on Thursday for the NHLPA’s Executive Board and Negotiation Committee meetings. [Editor’s note: tremendously proud to see twelve former Boston College hockey players attend. Not only does Coach Jerry York and his staff bring talent to Chestnut Hill he brings individuals who understand the big picture.]

2. Labour law in Canada is different than labor law in the United States. This will impact the lockout on the margins. A brief overview of the nuances, and how it pertains to professional hockey, can be found here.

3. Once the lockout begins, one of the most important parts of the previously negotiated CBA will be the “exemptions to regular waivers” definition. Why? Because this will trigger which players the NHL teams will be able to control (i.e. send to the minors) after a lockout and which ones they can’t—who will be free to go overseas or forced to sit out. In general, younger players can be assigned to the AHL or ECHL as many times as a team wishes without the need for the player to clear waivers. And make no mistake, once there is a lockout the AHL and ECHL will be flooded with these players.

To see the actual parameters of which players the NHL teams control, refer to the following chart.

Veteran players who have played in a sufficient number of NHL games would have to clear waivers, making them susceptible to having another NHL team select them, before being assigned to the minors. Thus, most veterans are unlikely to be put through waivers and thus have the ability to decide whether or not to play overseas.

[Editor's note: the waiver process has already started, here's an update.]

4. Regardless of your opinion as to which side—the NHL or NHLPA—is right, please remember that many, inside and outside of hockey, will be affected negatively by this entire episode. Additionally, and this may show my bias, only four percent of NHL players play 1,000 games—meaning these players typically have short careers and, more importantly, a small window in which to be compensated for being the best athletes in the world for their sport.

5. Here is a link to my thoughts a few weeks ago on “The Unique Nature of the Business of Hockey” that appeared in the Huffington Post.

Plan your retirement yourself!

Retirement is usually a tough decision to make. When my parents chose to retire from work, they had a lot of considerations before them. They had plans of enjoying their post retirement life like they enjoyed their youth, but were worried whether their savings will suffice. It took a couple of weeks for me to convince them that the money they’ve saved after working hard for decades will definitely suffice and in fact, give them a better life than their youth. My parents expressed their apprehensions over unforeseen circumstances and whether they’d have enough money left after such events. Retirement plans usually don’t include unforeseen events but let me assure you, they’re not even important to be included.
A retirement plan can be fruitful for a lot of reasons:

·         Travel is cheaper for senior citizens. Everywhere in the world, senior citizens get first preference and a good amount of discount on train tickets, hotel reservations and flight bookings. This way, people can travel to destinations they’ve harbored since long post retirement without having to worry about the trip being expensive.
·         Governments usually have special medical facilities for senior citizens that cost lesser as compared to those run by private organizations. Further, various charitable institutions treat senior citizens are subsidized costs. Make sure you keep contacts of such places handy before retirement so in case any difficulty arises, you will have some contacts handy.
A retirement should be planned right since the time you start working. Yes, that early! This is because the various policies and funds that you invest in, will take a couple of decades before they start maturing and give you good returns. Right at the start of your career, find out some best mutual funds to invest in. Find out from your seniors about the ones that offer monthly pension on the aforesaid date. It is always good to deal with firms that are true to their words. And when you’re in an old age phase, it would be difficult to make rounds of insurance companies to make your claim. 

Mutual funds form an important part of investing for future, but they are not the only option. There are various saving schemes which you can best know about in detail from wealth management companies in India. Wealth management firms specialize in maximizing your investments for a secure future. In return for a meager commission, they guide you through various interesting plans that can positively impact your savings and offer you the best returns. Consulting such firms can be fruitful and give you a sense of positivity regarding your latter life.
From amount the various plans these companies offer, the best retirement plan in India is that of your own! You should definitely consult wealth management experts but believe me; no one can plan your retirement as good as you can. You will know best about your personal needs, about your income, the kind of expenses you’ve and the kind of savings you can do. It is best to plan your retirement by yourself!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sonny Vaccaro on whether NCAA will punish Duke and UNC

In the last week, Sonny Vaccaro has spoken at two academic events -- Santa Clara Law School's sports law symposium on the proper role for sports in higher education and an event at Southern Methodist University related to Vaccaro's arguments for student-athletes and compensation.  He also found time to speak with Eric Prisbell of USA Today about alleged wrongdoing at Duke and UNC.  Vaccaro says the NCAA lacks the guts to punish these schools.  Here's an excerpt:
"Pull back the curtain and the wizard is not there," Vaccaro said of the schools over lunch Monday. "They are all the same . . . The NCAA does not have the guts to do the right thing for everyone. They do it for a chosen few. The rules are made according to them, for them."  .....   If wrongdoing is found at North Carolina and Duke, Vaccaro said, "You've got to impose whatever the right penalty is. It has got to be done. If you gave the eye test to the American public -- like Notre Dame and some other anointed schools -- they will get a pass. And that's not right."
The NCAA disagrees:
Said the NCAA's Stacey Osburn in an email Monday to USA TODAY Sports: "Sonny is wrong. Member institutions make the rules and expect that all schools abide by them. When they don't, there are consequences, regardless of who is involved."
For more on the allegations against Duke and UNC, see Prisbell's story.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Join your one-stop shop for all your investment plans and insurance coverage

Investments have always been the key to one’s progress, personal or in business. Investment means great returns. Today you would be spoilt for a choice with the types of investment instruments available in the market. It’s quite natural you would want the maximum returns from your investment. Indian mutual funds market is brimming with options these days. Ranging from government launched ones to various financial companies and now the private sector is all full of opportunities catering to your unique need. Studies say people who have invested with the Best mutual fund in India chose mutual fund as they are professionally managed and quite diverse most of the time when compared to other forms of investments.
Consider the following advantages if you are short listing the Best mutual fund in India.
  • Diversified mutual funds – Go for the ones that involve variety of investments in a portfolio. Mutual funds are usually spread across industries and assets. You can be benefitted even without investing a huge amount in individual portfolio.
  • Professionally managed – Your mutual funds should be take care by skilled professionals. They conduct research, analyze performance, and are always on the lookout for prospects providing you the premium service from expert fund managers.
  • Is it liquid enough – Go for the ones where you can redeem your units at anytime of course with a fee for exit load.
  • How flexible are they – You would find investment plans that are flexible enough for withdrawal or reinvestment. That provides you ample flexibility.
If you are looking for family health insurance plans find out which insurance provides the maximum benefit. Most of it has coverage for diseases, injuries, surgery or any care needed by the individual or the family. The good ones are packed with features such as cash credited on daily basis, daily cash for accompanying an insured child, maternity expenses, health check-up to name a few. The best in the market
  • Provide cover for treatment of illnesses and accidents where the patient is hospitalized.
  • Cover critical illness where the illness is pre-defined.
  • Cover diagnostic procedures, ICU cost, surgery and prosthetic costs.

Unlike few years ago, people today are fully aware about life insurance and it is one of the most important factors in financial plans of many people like you.  To help you determine what type and how much of coverage is appropriate for you and your family you can refer to the Life insurance calculator. With certain basic information of your family such as resources, debt, expenses, current coverage and so on you could get an estimated amount needed as your life insurance coverage.
These days many people and most importantly youngsters at the beginning of their career have begun to think of pension plan as an important form of investment to secure their future. You could go for retirement plans that are usually tax exempted. Some plans have the employers make contributions toward a pool of funds set aside for the employee's future benefit. There is various type of plan and you could choose from defined contribution plans, defined benefit plans or predefined contributions according to your requirement.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Gee, that's big of you

Maryland Delegate Emmitt C. Burns, Jr., after a few days as a national punchline, has had some time for "reflect[ion]":
"Upon reflection, he has his First Amendment rights," Del. Emmett C. Burns Jr., a Baltimore County Democrat, said in a telephone interview. "And I have my First Amendment rights. … Each of us has the right to speak our opinions. The football player and I have a right to speak our minds."
Glad we got that straight. Still, it is frightening that it took "reflection" for a public official to realize that "the football player" has First Amendment rights and the same right as him to speak his opinion.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Activist athletes, tone-deaf politicians

Now here's a fun free-speech controversy.

On Thursday, the story got out that Emmett C. Burns, Jr., a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, had sent a letter to the principal owner of the Baltimore Ravens, expressing horror that a member of the Ravens, Brendan Ayanbadejo, had spoken in support of a pending ballot initiative that would establish marriage equality in Maryland. Burns asked the team to "take the necessary action . . . to inhibit such expressions from your employee and that he be ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions." Ayanbadejo responded on Twitter by saying "Football is just my job it's not who I am. I am an American before anything. And just like every American I have the right to speak!!!" (wow, maybe you can make good points in 140 characters). Vikings punter Chris Kluwe defended Ayanbadejo on Deadspin and has been getting some attention for his response, which mostly hits (in an inimitable style) the key points.

Burns obviously should not be taken seriously or given too much credit for having put any real thought or principle into the letter.  What I find disturbing is the stated belief that, as a football player, Ayanbadejo has less of a right to speak out on public issues--that it is wrong for him to "try to sway public opinion one way or another" simply because he is a professional athlete. I haven't heard of Burns sending letters to other employers in the state (such as Johns Hopkins University, the largest employer in Maryland) asking them to tell their employees to concentrate on their jobs. Modern athletes are frequently criticized for not being political and not taking a stand on public issues (recall Michael Jordan's infamous comment that "Republicans buy shoes, too"). Now, when an athlete is willing to take a stand, a public official insists that he is engaging in "injurious behavior" and should be silenced.

We have not heard any response from Burns since the story became public and my guess is we won't. As an unknown and not influential state legislator, he no doubt is basking in the attention, even if it all makes him look like a complete fool.

Friday, September 7, 2012

New Sports Illustrated column: What today's bounty gate decision means for Goodell, Vilma, Payton and others

Probably not what Roger Goodell wanted to hear on the eve of the 2012 NFL season: Arbitration panel lifts suspensions of Vilma and others. My take for Sports Illustrated. Here's an excerpt:

* * *

4) Does today's ruling mean that Sean Payton and the other suspended coaches can return to work?

No. Today's ruling does not legally benefit Payton -- or, for that matter, Gregg Williams and Joe Vitt -- because they are coaches, and do not enjoy collectively bargained protections as do Vilma and other players. Players enjoy these protections because they are members of a union, the NFLPA, which collectively bargains with the NFL for rules impacting players' wages, hours and other working conditions. In contrast, Payton's relationship with the NFL is governed by an employment contract with the Saints and which, like all coaches' contracts, contains stipulations he must accept NFL judgments.

That said, today's ruling could motivate former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who has been suspended indefinitely and whose NFL coaching career may be over, to more seriously consider suing Goodell and the NFL. While a lawsuit would be challenging, Williams could argue the NFL and its teams have essentially boycotted him on exaggerated or fictitious grounds. Given their continued employment, it is less likely Payton, Vitt and Saints general manager Mickey Loomis would seek litigation against the league.

* * *

To read the rest, click here.

Update 9/8/2012: I was on NPR's Only a Game Show this morning to discuss the ruling.

Corruption, Gambling, and Manipulation in Sports

With my research devoted to the legality and efficacy of minimum age rules winding down (recent examples here and here), I am looking forward to moving into a new research line - (non-)gambling corruption and manipulation in sports. It is a topic that blends my interest in doctrinal sports law and quantitative methods. With a few working papers on the topic in the queue (here and here), I was fortunate to receive a small grant that enabled me to organize a panel with a number of subject matter experts. The panel will take place October 12, 2012 and will be hosted by Florida State University's Department of Sport Management as part of the department's annual conference. The panel title, speakers, and abstract are below.

Corruption, Gambling, and Manipulation in Sports

Ryan Rodenberg (moderator)
Florida State University

Rick Borghesi (panelist)
University of South Florida
Author, Widespread Corruption inSports Gambling: Fact or Fiction?

Sean Patrick Griffin (panelist)
Penn State Abington
Author, Gaming the Game: The InsideStory of the NBA Betting Scandal and the Gambler who Made it Happen

Katarina Pijetlovic (panelist)
Tallinn Law School, Estonia
Author, European Union SportsPolicy Update

Jeff Reel
Associate General Counsel
ATP World Tour

Brian Tuohy (panelist)
Author, The Fix is In: The ShowbizManipulation of the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and NASCAR
Author, Larceny Games: SportsGambling, Game Fixing, and the FBI


Twenty years ago, U.S. President George H.W. Bush signed into law theProfessional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”), a federal statutebanning sports gambling in all but four states (Nevada, Delaware, Montana, andOregon). PASPA, dubbed the Bradley Actafter its main Senatorial proponent and former NBA player Bill Bradley (D-NJ),drew strong support from professional and amateur sports leaguesnationwide. Competitive integrity preservation and theprevention of corruption in sporting contests were major tenets in furtheranceof PASPA’s enactment two decades ago. With the impetus for PASPA as a backdrop, the foci of this panel aretwo-fold. First, each panelist willprovide a primer on how competitive sports can (and are) being corrupted bygambling-related game fixing and non-gambling commercial interests. Second, panelists will discuss specificaspects of corruption and manipulation of sports. Borghesi will explain how he tested the so-called“widespread point shaving hypothesis” in college basketball. Griffin will provide an overview of the NBAbetting scandal and detail his statistical analysis of point spread movementsin the recent NBA betting scandal. Pijetlovic willexplain emerging corruption trends in Europe and the state of investigative journalismin the sports industry. Reel willoutline anti-corruption policy from a global sports league’s perspective. Tuohy will posit on how commercial interestsaugment sports and introduce his findings from over 400 FBI files pertaining tosports bribery and related issues. Thepanel will conclude with predictions and remedies for the future.