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Sports Law
SUNY Buffalo Law School
Drew, Helen A. "Nellie"

Sports Law I Fall 2015 Outline

Workers Compensation

Elements of Workers Compensation

1) Employer/employee relationship

2) Nature of the work or economic reality are worker’s efforts INEXTRICABLY LINKED to significant aspect of employee/employer relationship

3) Right to control of worker: tools of trade, scheduling, place of work

Waldrep v. Texas Employers Insurance Ass’n (2000): Football player is not employee for workers comp cases: If he was injured today the outcome may be different.

· Appellant was never paid a salary…no evidence that appellant was treated as an employee but rather an athlete.


· Student Athletes are employees

O’Bannon v. NCAA

· NCAA prohibits any student-athlete from receiving more than the “grant in aid” financial aidàtuition, fees, room and board, and required books (IF YOU DON’T ABIDE BY THIS RULE, YOU ARE INELIGIBLE TO PLAY). NCAA further caps the “cost of attendance” as whatever your school and the fed. govn’t deems it to be (tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, & other attendance related expenses)

· Plaintiffs want a share of the money the NCAA gets from their name, image and likeness.

· NCAA contracted with EA Sports to enter into licensing agreements—paid NCAA and member schools to use their IP and marks in videogames (did not pay athletes bc not allowed)

· Undermines what the NCAA has been promoting since they started: That student athletes are amateur

· HOLDING: NCAA violated §1 of the Sherman Act by prohibiting athletes from receiving $$ for their name, likeness & image.

o Remedy: Injunction: from enforcing any rules or bylaws that prohibit member schools from affording their athletes the opportunity to get a limited share of the revenues generated from the use of their names, image, likenesses from stopping schools from putting that money into a trust fund (prohibits the NCAA from setting the cap below $5,000), does not stop the NCAA from continuing to enforce their current rules (athletes can’t endorse stuff, need to remain academically eligible).

Plaintiff’s argument:

1) NCAA has restrained trade in:

(1) College Education market (Where colleges & universities compete to recruit SA’s to play FBS football or D1 basketball)

· In exchange for playing sports, the school/NCAA is allowed to use their image and likenessà This constitutes a “unique bundle of goods and services” not offered by professional leagues.

(2) Group Licensing Market (Where developers, networks and others compete for group licenses)

a) Submarket for Group Licenses to Use SA’s Names, Images, and Likenesses in Live Game Telecasts, Videogames and Game re-broadcasts, Advertisements and other archival footage.

· But-for the NCAA rules, there would be a demand for developers to want to get group licenses for students in each of these categories.

NCAA argument:

1) Restraints are reasonable because they are needed to maintain the current level of competitive balance (court says no)

2) Restraints on competition help the SA’s take full advantage of all the educational opportunities that the member school has to offer—increases the quality of the educational services that the school provides.

3) Rules are reasonable bc they allow the NCAA to increase the # of opportunities for FBS football and Division I basketball which leads to more games being played (Court say no way)

§1 of the Sherman Act

Rule of Reason standard:

· An agreement to fix prices among buyers rather than sellers violates §1 of the act (monopsony)

· (1) subgroup: P’s showed that there would be an injury to the students not receiving compensation—however, they didn’t show that this harm was a result from a restraint on competition.

Heat Exhaustion

Williams v. Board of Supervisors of Univer. of L.A.

· Testimony about his future earnings as a professional was admissible in court

· Fitness and conditioning coach said he wouldn’t have run practice if he was in charge.

Stringer—Tort action


e: whenever the contract expired, the club had the right to renew the player for ONE MORE YEARà gave the clubs the ability to develop players. Allowed farm teams to develop. Political reasons for the court to leave the reserve clause alone—the reserve clause is not exempt

· If not Per se, must allege injury to competition in relevant product & geographic market (antitrust)

**Flood v. Kuhn

· Baseball IS interstate commerce

· Exemption extends to the business of baseball—sale of team

· Commissioner has power to investigate any act transaction or practice not in the best interests of baseball & determine remedies, prevention


(1) Collective Bargaining Agreement

(2) Standard Player Contract

(3) League Constitution and by-laws

(4) League/Club rules—Holding owners and management to a higher standard

(5) Playing Rules


· The case when the players attacked the fans

· Stern issued an indefinite suspension of all the players involved—he made the executive decision on what to do

· The suspensions were given pursuant to Constitution §35(d)—gives the commissioner authority to suspend &/or fine up to $35,000 any player.

· Under the terms of the CBA, arbitrator had no authority to resolve questions


o If it did, the players can only appeal to Commissioner. If not, only through arbitrator

o Is fighting/striking a fan “conduct on the playing court”?

§ NO—though notes commissioner has authority to take strong, decisive action to discipline players striking fans.