Posts in Antitrust
Brock Hoffman's Denied Waiver Request Shows How NCAA Transfer Restrictions Fail College Athletes

In February, 6’3”, 310-pound offensive lineman Brock Hoffman agreed to transfer to and play football for Virginia Tech. He followed proper NCAA procedures and filed a waiver request to play football at Virginia Tech this upcoming season because, according to the current NCAA rules, a college athlete who transfers from a four-year college to an NCAA institution must complete one academic year of residence unless they qualify for a transfer exception or are granted a waiver from the rule. So, he sought immediate eligibility under NCAA Bylaw 14.7’s “Residency Requirement" relief, reportedly stating that he is transferring to be closer to his mom since she had a brain tumor removed and still suffers lingering effects from the surgery (“facial paralysis, hear (sic) loss and eye sight issues”).

The NCAA denied Hoffman’s waiver request.

Let’s talk a bit about (a) the requirements for this type of transfer waiver, (b) whether Hoffman’s case satisfies those requirements and whether the facts could be used in a different way for a stronger argument in his favor, and (c) how this is likely to go down on appeal and why.

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2019 Sports Law Hot Topics to Watch

The annual January tradition I know y’all look forward to is here - my predictions on what will be the hottest of the sports law hot topics! I settled on selecting six topics this year, and I must say, it was wonderfully hard to narrow down the list because there is a lot of meat we will get to digest over the next 12 months. (Disclaimer: I think #1 will be the hottest of the hot, but that may be my bias talking since that is one of my main wheelhouses!)

That said, I would also like to remind those of you who may be newly acquainted with the concept of “sports law” that, in all honesty, there is technically no such thing as “sports law,” per se. Rather, what a handful of attorneys and I do is specialize in understanding and zealously advocate to resolve diverse legal issues that take place within the sports industry because the law often treats sports in a special way relative to pretty much every other industry out there.

Keep reading for a brief descriptions of each topic’s current status, why I am including it on this list, and a few Twitter handles to follow for the latest news and analysis throughout the year:

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How the NCAA Could Join MLB in an Extremely Exclusive Club

Guest Post by Derek Helling

As the sports world awaits the ruling of Judge Claudia Wilken in Alston v. NCAA, her ruling is likely merely the overture for this drama. Her opinion is almost guaranteed to be appealed to the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals regardless of what it entails.

In the 9th is where the possibility lies for a ruling that could entrench the parameters of college athletics and put the NCAA on equal footing with one of the most powerful entities in the US as far as antitrust law is concerned, Major League Baseball. To understand this possible course of events, it’s necessary to understand the precedent which could be drawn upon.

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Reviewing My "2018 Sports Law Hot Topics to Watch" Predictions

Congratulations, y'all. We made it through 2018! Per our usual routine here on the Sports Law Blonde blog, let’s review the 2018 sports law hot topic predictions I made back in January to (a) see whether there has been any ground made, & (b) if not, speculate on why that might be the case. So, I straight up copy-and-pasted my previous blog post and added my new comments and wisdom at the end of each section in this type style.

LET'S DO THIS.

Per usual, I would like to make my predictions regarding what topics I believe will be extra sizzlin' in 2018, but I will do so in a slightly different way. Here are brief descriptions of what each topic is, some insight as to why I have it on my predictions list, and who you can pay attention to for the latest news, updates, and analysis throughout the upcoming year:

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Esports Levels Up - Franchising & Antitrust

The year was 2017. It was a simpler time - no 16 seed had beat a 1 seed in March - but that is when the world of esports revolutionized. League of Legends had announced its 2018 season of the North America League Championship Series would move to a franchise model. The Overwatch League (“OWL”), a franchise league for Blizzard’s popular title Overwatch, was beginning to take shape. And then, like UMBC’s upset, the NBA announced an esports franchise league out of nowhere: the NBA 2K League (“2K League”). For the inaugural season of the League, seventeen of the thirty NBA franchises will participate.

Up until the announcement of the 2K League, every franchise league looked like a shell of what we know. For example, the the OWL has city based teams, like the San Francisco Shock, player minimums, and player benefits. The announcement of the OWL promised more than this shell, specifically announcing a player combine and draft. These events, however, never came to fruition. Then came the 2K League, with not only player minimums and and city based teams, but also a combine and a draft. The 2K League announced an application process, followed up by a player combine, and then a draft. Thousands applied, 250 people participated in the combine, 102 and will be draft eligible. The combine ran through the month of February and the draft lottery order was selected on March 13 (with Mavs Gaming, the Dallas Mavericks, winning the first overall pick). The draft will take place April 4 at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden’s Lobby (1 p.m. ET).

Although it is incredible to see the growth of esports and creation of franchise leagues, one has to wonder whether these leagues will ever face litigation surrounding a complex body of law that all traditional sports leagues have faced: Antitrust. This post seeks to give a 30,000 foot view of antitrust, what defenses/exemptions are available, and present arguments for the leagues. A majority of the discussion will focus on the 2K League because, to me, it presents the greatest antitrust battle.

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2018 Sports Law Hot Topics To Watch

Per usual, I would like to make my predictions regarding what topics I believe will be extra sizzlin' in 2018, but I will do so in a slightly different way. Here are brief descriptions of what each topic is, some insight as to why I have it on my predictions list, and who you can pay attention to for the latest news, updates, and analysis throughout the upcoming year:

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5 Reasons Why the League of Legends 2017 World Championships Changes Better Achieve "Competitive Balance"

Last Tuesday, Riot hosted and livestreamed the 2017 Worlds Group Draw Pulls for its monstrously popular video game League of Legends to fill in the tournament bracket and see who will be playing who in China from September 24 to November 4. The League Championship Series (LCS) is comprised of 13 regions - based geographically - so that teams from all regions compete in Worlds across the stages. Here are the LCS regions:

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Significant NCAA Basketball Rule Changes for the 2015-2016 Season

Come hither, ye fans of the university sports, for we can rejoice over the arrival of college basketball season!

The NCAA approved a series of compelling changes to the NCAA Men's Basketball rule book during the off-season to spice things up a bit. Back in June, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel gave the green light on proposals and officiating focus areas with three identifiable goals in mind: (1) to improve the pace of play, (2) create a better balance of offense and defense, and (3) to "reduce the physicality in the sport." Do not fret over these changes, anxious basketball junkies. In case you need a refresher or just completely missed the memo, below is a summary of the significant rule changes and their legal gravity.

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