Judge Denies Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss Antitrust Case Challenging NCAA Student-Athlete Scholarship Limits

A U.S. district court judge today denied defendants’ motion to dismiss a class-action antitrust case filed against the NCAA and its five most powerful members, allowing the case to continue, according to attorneys at Hagens Berman.

The suit brought against the NCAA and the Pac-12, Big Ten, Big-12, SEC and ACC Power Conferences claims that these entities have agreed in violation of federal antitrust laws to cap the value of athletic scholarships – known as Grants-in-Aid – despite the fact that the NCAA’s valuation of athletic scholarships remains thousands of dollars below the actual cost of attending school, and far below what the free market would bear, according to the complaint.

“We see this as another major victory for these student-athletes, and will continue to fight for their rights to receive what is owed to them – fair and equitable Grants-in-Aid and compensation,” said Steve Berman, lead attorney representing the class of student-athletes.

The suit was originally filed March 5, 2014 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco and seeks to represent former NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) scholarship players who have played from February 2010 to the present, within those conferences.

“The NCAA and its member schools reap millions of dollars off the backs of these student-athletes, and we believe that these players shouldn’t have to struggle in the face of such significant profits,” Berman added. “We want the schools to live up to the same rules of competition as the athletes. The NCAA and its member conferences should adhere to the same principles that they preach, and pay these kids what they are entitled to in a competitive environment.”

The suit alleges that the NCAA and these five Power Conferences have systematically colluded to disrupt the free market and deprive FBS football players of the full economic benefits of their labor. According to the complaint, NCAA rules artificially depress the value of athletic scholarships to typically several thousand dollars less per year, per player, than the actual cost to attend an NCAA school.

The complaint requests past damages to compensate class members for the difference between the value of scholarships and the actual cost of attending school, and also requests an injunction to enjoin defendants from continuing to enforce their anticompetitive rules. Additionally, the complaint requests the appointment of an External Antitrust Compliance Monitor to ensure that defendants conduct themselves in compliance with the antitrust law, and to provide a mechanism for future judicial oversight of defendants’ operations.

Current or former NCAA athletes seeking more information about the case can contact Hagens Berman at 206-623-7292 or email NCAAscholarships@hbsslaw.com.

More information about these issues is available at:
http://www.hbsslaw.com/cases-and-investigations/cases/NCAA-Scholarships.

Florida State Still On Top Of The Heap In College Football Entering The 2014 Season

Florida State Spring Game

It’s time to start thinking about college football once again with the NFL Draft now wrapped up and a new crop of college players ready to start taking center stage on Saturday afternoons this fall across the United States.

In every ranking system across the net, Florida State is by far and away the #1 ranked team in the nation, and why not?! The Seminoles won the BCS Championship last season with a Rose Bowl 34-31 victory over Auburn, the team that in many polls is ranked #2. Florida State will start the season on August 30th at Oklahoma State, and their big game on the slate early in the year is Saturday, September, 20th at home against Clemson.

If your betting on any team in the nation to be as good as advertised, Florida State is that team, and William Hill is the service to use to bet on them. The Seminoles have plenty of top returning talent, and with a unit that is riding high off a year ago with their BCS win over the Tigers, there’s no reason to bet against Florida State.

William Hill

Auburn is a safe bet to be competitive again in 2014, and if they should happen to take a step back, there’s a couple other squads that will vie for the chance to meet up with Florida State for the BCS Championship in January of 2015. Michigan State is actually ranked second by CBS Sports over Auburn, and they have top talent that can challenge just about any team in the Nation.

If there’s a team that can be a darkhorse in college football in 2014, it could be South Carolina, who are ranked at number four by both Associated Press Top 25 and the coaches poll as the season starts to get closer. The Gamecocks, who were 10-2 overall and 6-2 in the SEC, won the Capital One Bowl (Citrus Bowl) last season beating Wisconsin 34-24. South Carolina is going to miss their best player, first overall pick in the NFL Draft, Jadeveon Clowney, but they have playmakers on both side of the ball.

With about three and a half months left till the start of the college season, there’s going to be plenty of ‘what ifs’ and experts that play out who they think are going to be there once the 2014 College Football season ends. Right now though, it’s hard to look any other way than Florida State. As for who they will play for the BCS Championship, the three teams that are going to fight it out over all the others are Auburn, Michigan State and South Carolina.

2012 NCAA Football Schedule for October 11-14 (FBS/FCS)

Below is the tentative NCAA football schedule for Thursday, October 11 through Sunday, October 14*:

FBS

Thursday, October 11
TIME (ET) MATCHUP TV
7:30 PM Western Kentucky at Troy
8:00 PM UTEP at Tulsa
9:00 PM Arizona State at Colorado
Friday, October 12
TIME (ET) MATCHUP TV
8:00 PM Navy at Central Michigan
Saturday, October 13
TIME (ET) MATCHUP TV
11:00 AM Louisville at Pittsburgh
12:00 PM Kansas State at Iowa State FX
12:00 PM Texas vs. Oklahoma
12:00 PM Syracuse at No. 20 Rutgers Big East Network
12:00 PM Iowa at Michigan State
12:00 PM Northwestern at Minnesota
12:00 PM UAB at Houston
12:00 PM Kent State at Army CBS Sports Network
12:00 PM Wisconsin at Purdue Big Ten Network
12:21 PM Auburn at Ole Miss SEC Network
12:30 PM Duke at Virginia Tech
1:00 PM Temple at Connecticut
1:00 PM Toledo at Eastern Michigan
1:00 PM Southern Methodist at Tulane
2:00 PM Akron at Ohio
2:30 PM North Carolina at Miami (FL)
3:00 PM Utah at UCLA FOX
3:00 PM Maryland at Virginia
3:00 PM Western Michigan at Ball State
3:00 PM Nevada at UNLV
3:30 PM Alabama at Missouri CBS
3:30 PM West Virginia at Texas Tech
3:30 PM Stanford at Notre Dame NBC
3:30 PM Oregon State at Brigham Young
3:30 PM Fresno State at Boise State NBC Sports Network
3:30 PM Illinois at Michigan
3:30 PM Miami (OH) at Bowling Green
3:30 PM UTSA at Rice
3:30 PM Oklahoma State at Kansas
3:30 PM Buffalo at Northern Illinois
4:00 PM Utah State at San Jose State
4:30 PM Memphis at East Carolina
5:30 PM Boston College at Florida State
6:00 PM Florida at Vanderbilt
6:00 PM Middle Tennessee at Florida International
6:30 PM Colorado State at San Diego State
7:00 PM USC at Washington FOX
7:00 PM Fordham at Cincinnati
7:00 PM Kentucky at Arkansas
7:00 PM TCU at Baylor
7:00 PM Idaho at Texas State
7:00 PM South Alabama at Arkansas State
7:00 PM Air Force at Wyoming
8:00 PM South Carolina at LSU
8:00 PM Ohio State at Indiana Big Ten Network
8:00 PM Southern Miss at UCF CBS Sports Network
8:00 PM Florida Atlantic at Louisiana-Monroe
9:00 PM Tennessee at Mississippi State
9:00 PM Texas A&M at Louisiana Tech
10:30 PM California at Washington State Pac-12 Network
Sunday, October 14
TIME (ET) MATCHUP
12:00 AM New Mexico at Hawaii

Read the rest of this entry »

Louisville Offense Looks for Identity Heading into BIG EAST Opener at Pitt

If Mother Nature has a heart, she will give the Cardinals’ offense a break this week at Pittsburgh. For the last two games, rain has limited the playbook and made the Cardinals one-dimensional.

Flooding limited the Louisville offense, but didn’t stop the Cardinals as they recorded a 28-21 win over FIU on Sept. 22. Sophomore Teddy Bridgewater threw for 194 yards and a pair of interceptions. However, that was nothing compared to the severe drowning the Cardinals took in a 21-17 win over Southern Mississippi on Sept. 29.

Heavy rains left the field covered in almost 2-3 inches of water and completely took the Cardinals out of their play-action offense, which the team relies on heavily. Louisville registered only 13 passes and Bridgewater was held to a career-low 85 yards passing.

“You look at us offensively, we have played fairly well down the stretch,” said head coach Charlie Strong. “We have been able to move the football. I still like the way our receivers are continuing to compete. Our offensive line is blocking and moving people out of the way to allow our running backs to run the ball. You look at Senorise Perry and you look at Jeremy Wright. Then, the quarterback is so poised right now. He started off hot. But still, we can really improve.”

Perry recorded his second 100-yard game, with a career-best 118 yards and two scores, and Wright added 84 yards on the ground. As a team, Louisville ran for 184 yards in the come-from-behind win.

However, no one knows what the offense is supposed to look like right now because it’s been so crazy with weather the last two weeks, but Bridgewater thinks the Cardinals are getting close to finding it.

“We all have a vision of what everything should look like in our head and we’re pretty close to that,” he said after practice on Tuesday.

The Cardinals are going to get a stiff test on Saturday when they face a stout Pittsburgh defense that has yielded just 320 yards of total offense through its first five games of the season.

“Their defense is similar to ours,” said Bridgewater. “Our defense has been doing a great job of just giving us a look and preparing us for Pittsburgh in practice this week. Their physical and fast and well-assigned. It’s going to be a good challenge for us.

“They’re a pretty physical team. They’ve found their identity. They just line up and come after you.”

Strong has stressed to his team the importance about getting off to a fast start in the BIG EAST Conference. From here on out, the Cardinals are entrenched in BIG EAST play, and they know they must get off to a fast start in the league race.

“It’s very important, because it sends a message to the rest of our conference,” said Bridgewater of the first conference game. “Our coaches haven’t really been stressing it much, but they have been mentioning that it’s the start of our real season. Even though we’re 5-0, we’re 0-0 in conference.”

The Cardinals, the last team to start BIG EAST play, will get their first crack to see how they stack up with an 11 a.m. game on Saturday morning at Heinz Field, where they haven’t won since 2006, and Strong knows his team needs to play well to win.

“You look at our first year here and we go up there and lose 20-3,” said Strong. “Then, last year, we get beat. You look at last year’s game and we won two and then we go and lose that game. Then we had to go beat Connecticut and South Florida at the end. We’ve got to know what we’re up against. We have to make sure that we go in as a football team and we have to be prepared to go play that game. And we haven’t been as locked in with that game.”

Indiana Head Coach Kevin Wilson’s Weekly Press Conference

Indiana head football coach Kevin Wilson met with the media at his weekly Tuesday afternoon press conference. Assistant offensive coordinator Kevin Johns and special teams coordinator Mark Hagen also discussed Saturday’s primetime showdown with Ohio State.

Georgia Tech DC Al Groh Relieved Of Duties

Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson announced today that defensive coordinator Al Groh has been relieved of his duties with the Yellow Jacket program, effective immediately.

Groh is in his third year at Georgia Tech and the 45th season of a storied career that has taken him to eight different college campuses — two as head coach — and 13 seasons in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots and New York Jets. He served one season as head coach of the Jets in 2000.

Groh came to Georgia Tech after serving for nine seasons as head coach at the University of Virginia, his alma mater.

Statement from Al Groh:

“The Institute has decided to go in a different direction, which I respect. I appreciate all the help and input from (assistant defensive coaches) Charles Kelly, Joe Speed and Andy McCollum, and the effort of all the players.

“I aimed to give the best that I had every day. It’s been an honor to be a part of the legacy of Georgia Tech football. I feel positive that this is a good time in life to move on to a new situation.”

Florida Head Coach Will Muschamp’s Monday Press Conference

Florida head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to preview the Gators’ upcoming game as they travel to Nashville, TN to face SEC opponent Vanderbilt (6:00 PM on Saturday).

Jackson and Maynard Add to Honors

Kameron Jackson and Zach Maynard added to their honors Monday for their performances in Cal‘s 43-17 victory over UCLA last Saturday night at Memorial Stadium. Jackson was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week and is also a nominee for the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas Pac-12 Player of the Week. Maynard was one of eight quarterbacks selected as Manning Award Stars of the Week and was also selected the California Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week.

Fans can vote for Jackson on the official Facebook page of the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas through Noon PT on Wednesday. To vote for Maynard for the Manning Award Player of the Week, go to the official Facebook page of the Allstate Sugar Bowl by Thursday at 9 a.m. PT.

On Sunday, Maynard was honored by the College Football Performance Awards as the organization’s National Performer of the Week for all players and the National Quarterback Performer of the Week. Jackson was selected as one of the CFPA’s two Defensive Back Performers of the Week nationally.

Maynard was responsible for a career-high five touchdowns on a special homecoming night in which a renovated Memorial Stadium was rededicated in memory of all Californians who have lost their lives in war during a halftime ceremony. Maynard tossed a career-high-tying four touchdown passes (his first non-overtime game with four TD throws) and ran for another score. He finished 25-of-30 overall for a season-high 295 yards, with an 83.3 completion percentage and 203.27 quarterback efficiency rating that were both career highs.

Jackson came off the bench to tie a Pac-12 single-game season high with three interceptions after replacing injured starting cornerback Marc Anthony in the first quarter. His first interception came in the Cal end zone with 0:23 seconds remaining in the first half and preserved a 16-7 Bears’ lead at the break. He would add two more in the fourth quarter to seal the game. Jackson also had four tackles and Cal’s lone pass breakup in the contest.