Sports Law


Sports Laws

Sports Laws

Sports Law includes many areas of law, such as the following:

  • Contracts;
  • Tort Law;
  • Criminal Law;
  • Agency;
  • Employment Law;
  • Antitrust;
  • Labor Law;
  • International Property Rights;
  • Intellectual Property Rights;
  • Title IX of the Civil Rights Act;
  • Drugs and Testing; and
  • International Regulation

Athletic activities are often organized and managed by individual groups that establish rules for eligibility and competition, and courts usually uphold the actions of these groups as long as their rules are reasonably applied. Perhaps the most important of these organizations is the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”). The NCAA is the governing body for intercollegiate sports and has over 1000 member colleges and universities.

Colleges and universities which receive federal aid are subject to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) and must not discriminate on the basis of sex in their athletic programs. In professional sports, the contractual relationship between the individual player and the team owner is governed by basic contract principles. Most sports leagues now have a Standard Player’s Contract which serves as a model employment contract between players and owners. The relationship between players and the agents who represent them is governed by a Standard Representation Contract which defines the duties and compensation of the agent. Many state legislatures now require agents to register with some type of administrative agency.

The two major international sports competitions are the Olympics, sponsored by the International Olympic Committee, and the World Cup, sponsored by FIFA. The United States Olympic Committee (“USOC”) governs US teams sent to participate in the Olympics and other related competitions.

 

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The Actors Behind Georgia Tech’s Punishment

Two weeks ago, Georgia Tech lost its 2009 ACC Conference Championship, was told that it has to pay a $100,000 fine, and is on 4-years of probation all because the NCAA found out that a friend of an employee of an Atlanta, Georgia sports agency provided impermissible benefits to a football player on that 2009 football team. Actually, it is more than that. The NCAA was upset that Georgia Tech failed to cooperate and interfered with the NCAA’s investigation of the impermissible benefits.

Georgia Tech Athletics Director Dan Radakovich confirmed that the employee of the Atlanta, Georgia sports agency is former Georgia Tech quarterback Calvin Booker. The NCAA infractions report points Booker to being with Demaryius Thomas and Morgan Burnett when the impermissible benefits were passed out. The impermissible benefits were $312 worth of clothing.

Georgia Tech believes that the NCAA has information that proves Booker was affiliated with is RFL Sports. Booker was once an RFL Sports client when he had dreams of playing professional ball. I have not heard much about RFL Sports in the past other than it being a small start-up football agency operated by Richard Kopelman and Terry Bolar, which hired NFLPA certified contract advisor Sean Stellato in the past. Kopelman left RFL Sports and started KLASS Sports. My notes indicate that Stellato went with Kopelman.

Demaryius Thomas has stated that he was offered a lot of things while in college, but did not take anything. He also made sure to say that his current agent (Todd France) never offered him anything, which is one of the reasons why he chose to sign with France.

Kopelman told a reporter that he has no knowledge of Calvin Booker “providing anything to anybody,” and that he was not involved in anything nor does he even know that anything even occurred. He also has stated that Booker never worked for him or RFL Sports in any capacity.

I see no reason not to believe Kopelman. Yet, Josina Anderson (who has done an absolutely tremendous job getting in touch with the parties surrounding this event), Tweeted the following on July 14 ago:  When questioned by the NCAA, Thomas says it seemed investigators tried to confirm, ”if  Calvin Booker was a runner for Richard Kopelman.”

I assume that eventually Calvin Booker will have to speak up about who he was working for. Until then, the agent industry remains shady and clouded as usual.

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This article was written by Darren A Heitner on July 19, 2011. Mr. Heitner is the Founder/CEO of Dynasty Athlete Representation, a sports agency based in the Florida. He is also the Founder/Chief Editor of SportsAgentBlog.com and EntertainmentAgentBlog.com. Mr. Heitner has been interviewed on numerous occasions by sports radio and television shows including CNN, and has written for sports publications such as ESPN.com. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. He practices law with firm of Koch Parafinczuk & Wolf, P.A., with offices throughout Florida. This Article is being used by permission of the Author.

 

Raymond Savage Jr. is Going to Jail in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama


Raymond Lee Savage Jr., former CEO and President of Savage Sports Management and All-American linebacker at the University of Virginia, is going to jail in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama for having one of his employees illegally contact former University of Alabama wide-receiver, Tyrone Prothro, while Prothro was in college (the year was 2005). The employee was not licensed as an athlete agent in the state of Alabama at the time. Savage was originally arrested and taken into custody in October 2008 for allegedly having a part in illegally contacting Prothro. Five years later, Savage is finally being booked.

Savage had once pled not guilty to both charges for which he was accused: 1) Not registering as an athlete-agent in Alabama (felony); and 2) Initiating contact with a student-athlete (misdemeanor). The state of Alabama dropped the misdemeanor charge, but the felony charge remained.

When Savage failed to appear in court for a reduced charge on the felony count, a judge issued a writ of arrest. In response, Savage explained could not leave his home in Virginia due to health problems. The judge did not buy it, and Alabama’s Assistant Attorney General Don Valeska was very displeased. Valeska is not one to mess with. In the past, he has said, “At the appropriate time, one of these agents is going to go to jail because of a felony, but this one [Savage Jr.] we didn’t feel was the case based on the facts,” Valeska said. “We want the message to go out that nobody comes to Alabama without following the law and talks to college athletes about going pro.

Mike Trope, author of Necessary Roughness and former NFLPA agent has a quote that I always think about whenever I write about Alabama, and he happened to say it in reference to the Savage case – “[Don't] ever represent any player that is a resident or goes to school in the state of Alabama. I am not an agent anymore, but I wouldn’t do it.” Anyone who is not licensed as an athlete agent in Alabama and is currently recruiting student-athletes based in that state needs to remind themselves that they are putting their freedom at risk based on their actions.

NOTE: This article was written by Darren A. Heitner. Mr. Heitner is the Founder/CEO of Dynasty Athlete Representation, a sports agency based in the Florida. He is also the Founder/Chief Editor of SportsAgentBlog.com and EntertainmentAgentBlog.com. Mr. Heitner has been interviewed on numerous occasions by sports radio and television shows including CNN, and has written for sports publications such as ESPN.com. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Florida and now practices Sports and Entertainment Law in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This Article is being used by permission of the Author.

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Tagged as sports law, sports agents

Leach sues ESPN and PR Firm for Slander, Libel

Former coach Mike Leach sued ESPN Inc. and Spaeth Communications, a public relations firm, on Wednesday, November 24, accusing them of libel and slander after he was fired by Texas Tech amid accusations that he mistreated a player suffering from a concussion.

The suit, filed in Texas district court, claims the network’s coverage of Leach’s firing last year was “willful and negligent defamation” and that it failed to “retract false and damaging statements” it made from “misinformation” provided to ESPN by Craig James, the father of the Texas Tech player.

Leach attorney Ted Liggett said the former coach wants “to set the record” straight. “Mike Leach is adamant,” Liggett said. “Mike Leach wants his name cleared. His reputation has taken a severe hit and been tarnished.”

The libel suit, which also names Spaeth Communications as a defendant, claims that James hired the firm for “purposes of creating public opinion hostile to Leach.” The suit claims that Spaeth, which orchestrated the “Swift Boat” campaign against 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry, played a central role in leaking the video footage and accuses the firm of “creating public opinion hostile to Leach.” Liggett said Spaeth was behind the Internet posting of a video showing Adam James standing in a dark space as punishment by Leach.

When first contacted an ESPN spokesman said the company has “not seen the lawsuit and therefore it would be inappropriate for us to comment.”. Rebecca Shaw, the  executive vice president of Spaeth Communications told the Associated Press that Leach’s suit is “the predictable strategy of a man who is desperate to avoid accountability for his own behavior.”

The university fired Leach last Dec. 30, two days after suspending him amid allegations he mistreated Adam James. Leach has denied the claim.

Adam James has said his coach twice ordered him to stand for hours while confined in a dark place during practice. On Wednesday, Liggett claimed that Adam James under oath said he thought it was “humorous” what Leach told him to do and that he didn’t think Leach should have been fired.

Ted Liggett, Leach’s attorney, said the 49-year-old former coach simply wants to clear his name. “His reputation has taken a severe hit and been tarnished,” Liggett told the Associated Press. “On a daily basis we’re still seeing stories across the country with accounts Leach claims are counter to the truth.”

Leach is already pursuing litigation against Texas Tech. His suit against the school, which charges the university with libel, slander, and breach of contract, is now in Texas appellate court after a lower-court judge ruled that the school does not have “sovereign immunity” from breach of contract claims. Last month, lawyers for Leach and Texas Tech appeared before a three-judge panel, which will decide whether Leach’s suit can go to trial.