Thursday, August 8, 2013
Sunday, July 21, 2013
On Thursday, active athletes were added to a proposed class action lawsuit against the NCAA where billions of dollars in TV money could be at stake.
The lawsuit has been pending for more than four years, and has taken turns and twists on its route to becoming a legal challenge that focuses on the alleged antitrust injuries inherent in forcing athletes to sign waivers and give up the right to profit from video game and broadcasting deals.
A San Francisco federal judge is considering whether to certify the class action, and after a hearing last month, allowed the plaintiffs to amend their claims to add current athletes to the proposed lawsuit. Now joining ex-athletes like Oscar Robertson and Bill Russell are those still in school including Arizona linebacker Jake Fischer, Clemson defensive back Darius Robinson and Minnesota senior wide receiver Victor Keise.
While not as famous as the ex-athletes, the inclusion of a half dozen current athletes arguably ups the stakes as the NCAA and member conferences find that their most lucrative licensing partnerships are potentially subject to antitrust scrutiny. In addition to the new named plaintiffs as class representatives, the plaintiffs have added details in a whopping 213-page amended complaint that was filed on Thursday.
Here's the full amended complaint.
The new charges come after U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken told the plaintiffs that the "pleading may be amended only the minimum amount necessary" to conform to their certification motion and deficiencies identified by the defendants.
Throughout the process, the NCAA and other defendants like Electronic Arts have been upset at how much the plaintiffs' claims have changed from the legal fight's start. At the beginning, the case was more about some video games that allegedly misappropriated the likeness of former players through avatars. The evolution to a lawsuit that's the biggest antitrust challenge the NCAA has ever faced has become a basis partly for the defendants' demand that the certification be denied.
As Judge Wilken examines whether to let the plaintiffs proceed -- and if so, how -- the new amended lawsuit includes allegations like EA offering to establish a player fund in 2007 for the use of student-athlete names, images and likenesses.
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According to the complaint, the Collegiate Licensing Company, "negotiating on the NCAA's behalf, instead suggested that the money should go to the NCAA. EA agreed to pay a kicker to NCAA in order 'to align interests and incentivize all parties to help build the category with new rights.' EA made this offer contingent on 'no royalties ... to a player fund.'"
The plaintiffs say that not everybody was on board this plan within the NCAA's ranks.
"NCAA administrators noted 'real concern' that use of student-athletes' names, images, and likenesses in video games 'adds to the argument that student-athletes should be unionized and receive a cut of the profits, etc.," says the lawsuit.
But objections were allegedly overruled by former NCAA president Myles Brand and NCAA marketing executive Greg Shaheen.
Last week, in the midst of the legal drama, the NCAA ended its relationship with EA.
As for TV money,? the plaintiffs talk about how the NCAA has grown its annual tournament from one that derived a few million dollars in 1979 to one that now commands billions of dollars. And the plaintiffs point to ways that "new licensing deals for this game continue to be struck," for example, speaking how the "Big Ten's Greatest Games" are now shown on Hulu, co-owned by Fox, which is also a partner in the Big Ten Network.
In the demand for relief, the plaintiffs believe that they are entitled to a declaration that any releases that purport to relinquish rights to compensation are "void and unenforceable" and further that defendants and their partners "be permanently enjoined and restrained from, in any manner,?continuing, maintaining, or renewing the contract, combination, or conspiracy alleged... ."
The athletes also want the defendants to be disgorged of profits connected to the sale of videogames as well as any products that contain game footage. They haven't directly asked for money from live television events yet (notwithstanding how today's televised games often provide flashbacks), but if ultimately successful, the class action could raise questions about what kind of consent is needed from active athletes, and potentially pave the way towards some sort of deal that puts an end to amateurism in college sports.
Just as suddenly as QB Michael Vick erupted back into the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009, following a two-year prison sentence, the 10-year vet looked to be fumbling and injuring himself right back out of the league that he had just fought so hard to return to.
But following an embarrassing and certainly humbling 4-12 campaign last season, the entire Eagles? organization has received a massive face-lift and is ready for a brand new era in 2013. Former legendary University of Oregon head coach Chip Kelly is now leading the charge for the Eagles with a dangerously fast and explosive offensive system that utilizes a spread look that is jam-packed with speed at every position.
Kelly?s spread offense is a god-send for Vick, as it is one of the most innovative and modern offensive packages to ever hit the NFL. The heavy reliance on up-tempo rhythm, superior athletic ability and all-around versatility makes Vick the perfect kind of quarterback to lead the way.
Before the likes of QBs Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick entered the league over the past two seasons, Vick was the only NFL quarterback who was a legitimate threat in the running game for nearly a decade. In his final season with the Atlanta Falcons in 2006, Vick became the first NFL quarterback to surpass 1,000 rushing yards in a single regular season.
It is highly, highly, I repeat, highly, unlikely that Vick will ever again come close to 1,000 rushing yards, but I think that it is reasonable to say that Vick could churn for at least 700 yards over a full season.
But nevermind the statistics; if the Eagles had chosen anybody but Kelly as their head coach in 2013, Vick would be in another city, barely clinging onto his final days in the league.
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There may finally be some relief from the suffocating heat and humidity that has affected millions of people this week. But with that, come some strong storms. Weather Channel meteorologist Mike Seidel has more.
By Gillian Spear, NBC News
The stifling heat wave that blanketed most of the country for the past week days relented on Saturday as storms swept through the Midwest and Northeast.
Meteorologists said an advancing cold front managed to bring temperatures down a tad in some portions of the Great Lakes region on Friday before making a drive through the Northeast.
The cold front reached the Ohio Valley and parts of the Northeast on Saturday and was expected to hit the mid-Atlantic States on Sunday, the Weather Channel reports.
The front brought stormy conditions with it. A tornado with 110-mph winds collapsed the wall of the athletic center at Ursuline College in northeast Ohio early Saturday and damaged other buildings but there were no injuries, The Associated Press.
In Philadelphia, the threat of lightning and heavy rain forced people attending a Taylor Swift concert to flee their seats and move into a concourse area until the storm swept through, NBCPhiladelphia.com reported. Concertgoers were allowed to go back to their seats at 10:30 p.m. ET. The storm also causes scattered power failures.
Carlo Allegri / Reuters
A group of students relax in Bryant Park during a heat wave in New York, July 20, 2013.
Over the weekend, temperatures in Chicago were expected to drop more than 15 degrees, driving the heat down from 94 on Friday to an anticipated 78 degrees on Sunday.
In the Northeast, the week-long heat wave peaked at 10 degrees higher than July temperatures in past years. On Friday, the heat broke daily record highs in Burlington, Vermont, Portland, Maine and Boston, where temperatures reached 99 degrees with a heat index of 105.
The hot and humid conditions have driven many people indoors, causing record-breaking power usage in New York City on Friday, as temperatures in some locations hit 100 degrees. Saturday was the seventh straight day with temperatures in New York at 90 or above, the longest heat wave in the city since 2002, NBCNewYork.com said.
The heat is the suspected cause of at least 13 deaths nationwide, three of which occurred in Milwaukee. The National Weather Service says Milwaukee recorded four consecutive days of highs in the mid-90s, with the heat index reaching over 100 degrees. But on Saturday, the city saw highs only in the low 80s.?
Thirty-five people were treated for heat-related illnesses on Saturday at a rally for Trayvon Martin in Dallas, Texas, but no one was taken to a hospital, according to city Fire Rescue spokesman Jason Evans.
A cold front is making its way to the East Coast of the country, which could bring some much-needed relief to residents who have been enduring a heat wave. TODAY's Dylan Dreyer reports
Saturday, July 20, 2013
Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent has decided to retire from the NFL?in order to focus on getting his life in order. Brent has watched his NFL career and livelihood spiral out of control over the past 8 months, and it all began with the fatal car crash that killed fellow teammate Jerry Brown, a practice squad linebacker who was riding with Brent while both men were intoxicated, and Brent lost control of his car and crashed, killing Brown.
Brent is now facing manslaughter charges, and?has also failed two drug tests when marijuana was found present in his system. The second failed test landed Brent back in jail on June 27. Brent was released Sunday under a court order and he was given new conditions, which includes wearing a drug-detection patch and a ban on driving.
Brent recorded 44 tackles and 1.5 sacks after being a seventh-round pick in the 2010 Supplemental Draft out of Illinois.
NFL training camps are opening over the week, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head?Coach Greg Schiano is confident that newly-acquired cornerback Darrelle Revis will be on the field when training camp opens next Thursday. The NFL?All-Pro is still rehabbing from a torn ACL he suffered last season, and will?likely be limited for the early parts of training camp, but is expected to be 100% when the Bucs open the 2013 NFL season against none other than the New York Jets.?
Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon has received full medical clearance to practice when training camp opens next week. Garcon had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder shortly after the Redskins season ended.
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Topics: Dallas Cowboys, Darrelle Revis, Josh Brent, NFL, NFL Offseason, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Washington?s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged from May to June, at 6.8 percent, while the economy gained an estimated 9,800 jobs.
?On balance, this is a strong jobs report that is split between a re-energizing private sector and a sagging government sector,? said Paul Turek, a labor economist for Employment Security, in a press release.
Industries with the most estimated job gains in June were construction, up 4,100; professional and business services, also up 4,100; leisure and hospitality, up 3,800; education and health services, up 1,600; wholesale trade, up 600; retail trade, up 500; transportation, warehousing and utilities, up 400; information, up 400; and financial activities, up 200.
Only two industries showed job losses last month. Manufacturing had a slight drop of about 200 jobs. Meanwhile, government shed an estimated 5,900 jobs in June, more than offsetting the large estimated increase of 3,800 jobs in May.
Turek noted that the large swings in the government numbers, principally in public education, are likely due to hiring and layoff patterns occurring earlier or later than usual, which throw off the seasonal adjustment factors.
Economists use seasonal adjustment to remove or discount normal seasonal changes, thus making underlying trends easier to identify. When seasonal changes occur earlier or later than normal, it can cause preliminary estimates to appear larger or smaller than they really are.
?Overall, government employment has trended downward the past few years, and that probably hasn?t changed,? said Turek.
So far, Washington has regained about 84 percent (172,400) of the 205,000 jobs it lost during the recession.
In June, an estimated 237,100 people (seasonally adjusted) in Washington were unemployed and looking for work. That includes 114,479 who claimed unemployment benefits last month.