This Week In Sports Law: NCAA Punishes Louisville, Ole Miss Investigation, Sebastian Telfair Trouble – Forbes

A defiant Rick Pitino is poised to take on the NCAA after its punishment of Louisville. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

NCAA Drops Hammer On Louisville For Sex Act Scandal

The NCAA has released its official decision on the case concerning Louisville, finding that a former director of basketball operations acted unethically by organizing striptease dances and sex acts for basketball prospects as well as athletes at the university, and further failed to cooperate with the NCAA’s prior investigation concerning same. Additionally, the NCAA found that the head men’s basketball coach, Rick Pitino, violated NCAA rules by failing to monitor the former basketball operations director’s activities.

The result is a four year probation term for Louisville and Pitino’s suspension for the first five ACC games of the 2017-18 season, in addition to other penalties.

Louisville has indicated that it will appeal the NCAA ruling and Pitino supports the challenge.

Not only was this unjust and over the top in its severity, but I’ve lost a lot of faith in the NCAA,” said Pitino. “Moving forward we believe we will win the appeal because it’s right and it’s just, and what went on was unjust and inconceivable.”

Ole Miss Retailer Sues Players For Defamation

A lawsuit that alleges defamation and civil conspiracy could have negative consequences for the University of Mississippi, which remains embroiled in a case involving the NCAA. The lawsuit, filed by Rebel Rags, LLC, claims that a couple of Mississippi State football players and the stepfather of current Miami Dolphins player Laremy Tunsil made several false statements to NCAA enforcement staff members, causing reputational harm to the plaintiff.

The underlying issue revolves around whether the plaintiffs truthfully stated that they received merchandise from Rebel Rags, LLC and thereby circumvented NCAA regulations that prohibit the receipt of such free gifts.

Rebel Rags’ attorney Charles Markel says that, as a result of the plaintiff’s statements, people have threatened to boycott Rebel Rags’ store and that its president has received hate mail. The attorney also claims concern that Ole Miss could dissassociate itself with Rebel Rags, which would likely put the company out of business.

Sebastian Telfair Found With Some Serious Guns

Former first round NBA Draft pick Sebastian Telfair had a long playing career, bouncing around between various NBA teams as well as basketball teams based abroad. Now, finding a place to play appears to be the least of Telfair’s concerns.

This past week, Telfair was arrested after being found, along with his nephew, carrying three loaded firearms, a semi-automatic rifle, ammunition and a bulletproof vest in addition to a couple of bags of marijuana. That is some serious weaponry to go along with a large quantity of drugs.

If Telfair is convicted, then he could face three-and-a-half to fifteen years behind bars. New York’s firearm laws are very strict, so it could be a major battle for Telfair to coherently explain why he was found with an unlicensed loaded gun.

NY Jets Linebacker Accused Of Mauling Club Patron

The act of battery should never occur for any reason, but especially not as a result of a fight over a little bit of a champagne shower. Juan Lopez has filed a lawsuit against New York Jets linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin for just that — allegedly punching Lopez in the face after Lopez spilled some champagne on the athlete.

He had surgery, he still has numbness on the affected side in his mouth area and traveling up to his ear. It’s a bad injury,” said Lopez’s lawyer, who indicated that the NYPD and Manhattan District Attorney’s Office are currently investigating the matter.

The incident allegedly occurred in April, but the lawsuit was only recently filed.

“Of course I was shocked, but with everything going on right now, it’s pending,” said Mauldin when asked about the lawsuit. “You don’t know what the outcome is going to be, so I’ll just refer everything to my attorney for questions.”

Former NFL Alumni Association Exec Target Of Sexual Harassment Suit

A lawsuit has been filed against the former CEO of the NFL Alumni Association by female staff members who claim to have been sexually harassed.

The NFL Alumni Association “not only tolerated, but encouraged, a grossly sexist culture in which their highest-level employee, the chief executive officer Joseph Pisarcik, freely subjected plaintiffs to outrageous and degrading sex-based conduct,” states the Complaint.

Allegations include Pisarcik smacking a woman’s buttocks, massaging womens’ shoulders and braiding a couple of the women’s hair.

First Payments Pushed To NFL Concussion Class

After many years of waiting, former NFL players and their families are finally starting to receive relief for their pain and suffering related to head injuries sustained during their playing days. A total of $9 million has been delivered to two players — one who qualified for ALS and another who was found to have Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).

The deadline for players to register for benefits remains August 7.

Raiders May Be On Defense Before Start Of Season

Could the City of Oakland and/or a coalition of citizens, business owners and fan-groups be preparing a lawsuit against the Raiders franchise? A lawyer has not taken the possibility off the table.

“We will look at all legal options,” lawyer Jim Quinn said. “There may be some legal claims that can be asserted.”

Is The FanDuel/DraftKings Merger Bound To Be Denied?

It has been seven months since daily fantasy sports juggernauts FanDuel and DraftKings decided to merge, and federal authorities have yet to approve of the transaction, barring the merger from actually closing. A recent report indicates that the merger may not get approved after all.

Three sources told Tony Romm of Recode that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has raised serious competition concerns with the proposed merger.

For now, a recommendation by some at the FTC to sue to stop the deal is only an initial step in the process: It would still fall to the agency’s sitting commissioners to vote on the matter, which could happen this week,” said Romm.

Phil Ivey’s Battle Against Borgata Remains Stalled

Poker player Phil Ivey lost a major battle against Borgata casino and has been trying to have the $10 million verdict vacated since. Unfortunately for Ivey, a ruling indicates that he must wait to follow through on his appeal until a similar case involving Borgata is included.

The battle originally lost by Ivey relates to a claim that he brought someone with him to Borgata casino who was able to detect imperfections in playing cards, which gave Ivey an unfair competitive advantage over the casino.

Still Hope For Sports Betting In New Jersey

Governor Chris Christie thinks that his state could have sports betting by the start of the 2017 NFL season despite the U.S. Solicitor General explicitly advising the U.S. Supreme Court that there is no need to take up New Jersey’s case against the enforcement of a federal prohibition on same.

“If they say that states should make the decisions, New Jersey voters have already decided by a two-thirds vote that they want sports gambling, and so that’s what we’d do in our state,” said Christie, referring to the U.S. Supreme Court. That is a big “if” — one that a newly formed American Sports Betting Coalition hopes becomes a reality.

Christie believes that the U.S. Supreme Court may issue an oral argument on the sports betting issue before the end of the month.

Darren Heitner the Founder of South Florida-based HEITNER LEGAL, P.L.L.C. and Sports Agent Blog. He authored the book, How to Play the Game: What Every Sports Attorney Needs to Know.

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