Posts in NCAA
Game of Amateurs, Season 148, Episode 9: Battle of the OSUs

I know what you are thinking. "Why would I care about anything related to Ohio State?" Ok, my Wolverine ego may be slightly kidding, but in all seriousness, this trademark question is significant because the outcome can affect other universities. For example, what if in addition to the list of registered marks like the Standalone Block M, the University of Michigan attempted to file an application for "U of M" or "UM" to be a federal registered trademark (®) rather than asserting that it is merely a protected trademark that is not registered (™)?

In a world where college athletics is undeniably a business - a BIG business, at that - and where the NCAA itself has trouble justifying its own regulations, laying down the law on who can do what actions (that, FYI, all come down to making money) and where they can or cannot do those actions lawfully will have inevitable consequences. For those of you who have not heard, Ohio State filed an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for "OSU" to receive federal trademark protection back in February. Specifically, Ohio State wants to register its trademark to protect against unlawful uses on apparel. Each portion of the application information below is meaningful. So, take note, because we will define trademarks, draw out their metes and bounds, speculate on why Ohio State would file an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and demonstrate how the Battle of the OSUs can impact the business of college athletics.

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Guest Post - Rex Shield

Since the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit handed down their decision in O’Bannon v. NCAA, the discussions surrounding college athletes’ name, image, and likeness have come to the forefront, and rightfully so. As such, a former University of Central Florida football player, Jah Reid (not to be confused with Jah Rule, of course) sued the university’s athletic department — formally referred to as the UCF Athletics Association (“UCFAA”). His attorney filed a complaint with the Orange County (FL) Circuit Court on May 12. Additionally, Reid named Rise and Conquer LLC (“Rise and Conquer”) as a defendant. Scott Frost, UCF’s Head Football Coach, serves as Rise and Conquer’s de-facto CEO, according to online records.

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2017 Sports Law Hot Topics To Watch

In retrospect, 2016 was not half bad. Well, it was more like 60-65% bad, but the year undoubtedly had its moments, good and bad!

I believe in many ways that 2017 will be a continuation of things in one direction or another rather than a birth of entirely new topics, especially in the sports law realm. Part of the reason I believe this is because of the incoming US President's opinions and involvement in certain areas. Another part is due to the basic timeline of league and player contracts in the "Big Four" (NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB) so that instead of big changes in the relationship statuses taking place, upcoming practices acting upon and interpreting those contracts will create news and continue to add to existing sentiment. Without further ado, here are six hot topics we should keep an eye out for throughout 2017.

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Comparing Two Student-Athlete Cases: Brock Turner & Cory Batey

Last Friday, former Vanderbilt football player Cory Batey was sentenced to 15 years for taking part in gang raping an unconscious female student in June 2013. In contrast, former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner was sentenced to six months in jail - half of which he can avoid with good behavior - and three years of probation for sexually assaulting an unconscious female outside a fraternity house. Here, we have two sexual assault-related stories involving NCAA athletes (both of which are horrible though on somewhat different levels of severity according to law), a number of factors taking part in each judicial system's processes, and two very different results. I want to simply compare the facts to spark conversation and inform y'all in case you missed either one.

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Reader Q&A: The Michigan-Nike Sponsorship Contract

The University of Michigan is one of the member institutions in the college athletics groups commonly referred to as the "$100 Million Club," an elite group of schools that generate at least $100,000,000 in annual revenue. A large portion of that revenue comes from athletic sponsorship deals with apparel and equipment suppliers. When the university entered into an athletic sponsorship agreement with adidas that began in 2007, it was not a member of the $100 Million Club. As the contract term progressed, Michigan broke the lofty threshold and continues to do so as its contractual relationship with adidas comes to an end. The deal with adidas was the most lucrative contract at its time, and the deal with Nike was also the most lucrative in college athletics until Nike decided to pay a bit more to the Ohio State Buckeyes.

For me, Michigan's relationship with Nike is a return to all that is good. I grew up wearing my maize and blue Michigan swag with the symbolic swoosh in some visible place. So, when the adidas contract kicked in gear my freshman year, I refused to buy new apparel adidas made with the exception of the annual football t-shirt and, eventually, my NFLPA-licensed #10 Tom Brady jersey. Nike is the big dog in the athletic apparel industry, and it only seemed right that Nike and Michigan, a big dog in college sports, work together.

You asked, and I'll answer. The fun does not stop there, though. This Question and Answer session on this significant contract can show how the sponsorship market has evolved and where changes in the current NCAA "collegiate model" could take place.

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How You Can Stick It To The Man & Legally Get Your March Madness Fix

The person who leaked the NCAA Tournament bracket via Twitter 50 minutes into CBS' 2-hour Selection Sunday broadcast is considered a hero, according to various news and social media sources. There would not be all this praise had CBS completed the show as it has in the past - one hour swiftly moving through each bracket without the missed shots  (e.g., Charles Barkley awkwardly trying to work with the selection touchscreen board). This frustration with college sports broadcasting contracts comes at a time when society is scrutinizing the ethical viewpoints and practices of those running the college sports world, which adds to the firestorm. One mantra appears to be rising out of the mess - a "stick it to The Man" vibe - and will likely gain additional momentum the next few weeks.

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