“The Tattoo Parlor Scandal” forces Head Coach Jim Tressel to Resign.

The Ohio State University Head Football Coach Jim Tressel has officially resigned amid NCAA violations from what is now being referred to as “The Tattoo-Parlor Scandal”.

“After meeting with university officials, we agreed that it is in the best interest of Ohio State that I resign as head football coach,” Tressel said. “The appreciation that [wife] Ellen and I have for the Buckeye Nation is immeasurable.”

Athletic Director Gene Smith stated. “I want you to know that last night, when Jim returned from his vacation, he and I sat down for a while and talked about the state of our program. It’s at that time that he decided to resign.  We met again this morning in his office and chatted some more, and he submitted his formal letter of resignation. We did meet with part of the team this morning and those who were not there, they were contacted by their position coaches. Coach Tressel did what we all knew he would do. He did an eloquent job of explaining to the young men what transition really means and what they needed to focus on.”

“We are under NCAA investigation. We will not discuss any of the matters around that case, or any further accusations that may emerge,” Smith said. “We will do what we always do: we will respond to them, we collaborate with the NCAA and try and find the truth. I do want to thank Coach Tressel for his long service to our university. There were a lot of people he touched in a highly positive way. We’re very thankful for his leadership during the years we had great success on the field and off the field, but more importantly in the classroom.”

Coach Tressel was earlier suspended by Ohio State for five games of the 2011 season, increased form the original two game suspension, and fined $250,000 for allegedly knowing that some of his players received improper benefits from an owner of a local tattoo parlor.

As previously reported, Ohio State players sold championship rings, uniforms for cash or discounted tattoos. The violations came to light in a U.S. Attorney investigation into drug trafficking involving the owner of the parlor.

Coach Tressel learned that his player were involve when he received an email from a former Ohio State player.  However, Coach Tressel signed the NCAA compliance form in September 2010, stating that he had no knowledge of any wrongdoing by athletes.

Under terms of Coach Tressel’s contract, which is worth around $3.5 million a season through the year 2014, Ohio State is not required to pay him any money or provide any benefits upon his resignation.

Luke Fickell will be the coach for the 2011 season.

Romano On Radio: KCAA – California

Attorney Robert J. Romano will be a guest on KCAA 1050 AM – The Sports Parade with Fred Wallin this evening, May 31, 2011 at 8:09 p.m. est to discuss the current status of the NFL/NFL PA’s Labor Dispute, the NBPA’s claim filed against the NBA with the National Labor Relations Board, and many other current sports law related topics.

The station’s number is 1-888-909-1050.  Please feel free to call into the show.

KCAA Radio, 1050 AM, NBC News, Inland Empire, California

Charlie Zegers: “NBPA Files to Prevent NBA Lockout.

Charlie Zegers has written a great article concerning the National Basketball Players Association filing a claim against the NBA with the National Labor Relations Board entitled: “NBPA Files to Prevent NBA Lockout.”

Here is an excerpt, but for the entire article please go to the  link provided below:

The first shots have been fired in the NBA’s battle for a new collective bargaining agreement. This week, the NBA Players Association filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that the NBA has not bargained in good faith. What does that mean, and will It prevent the labor meltdown basketball fans have been dreading? I spoke to attorney and sports law expert Robert J. Romano about the NBAPA’s move – and what might come next.The NBAPA’s filing makes two basic claims, Romano explains: that the NBA has not disclosed all the financial documents that have been requested, and that NBA officials have had communications relating to the CBA negotiations directly with the players; communications that should have been addressed to the union.Unfortunately, it’s impossible for an outsider to know whether or not these claims have any “meat” to them. Without first-hand knowledge of the negotiations to date, we don’t know exactly what the NBAPA requested, or what the league has delivered to this point.

Even if the NLRB rules in the players’ favor, that probably won’t be enough to prevent a lockout, for reasons of timing alone. The board will set up some sort of schedule to allow both sides to present evidence or have a formal hearing, but it is highly unlikely that any ruling will be in place before the current collective bargaining agreement expires on June 30. The NFL filed a similar complaint with the NLRB back in mid-February, relating to the NFL Players Association’s plans to decertify; they have yet to receive a formal ruling.


NFL Coaches File Brief With 8th Circuit In Support Of Players

The NFL Coaches Association filed a brief with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals which supports the former NFL Players’ Association and, in addition, claims the lockout affects their jobs as well.

“Owners and fans increasingly demand immediate success, and coaches whose teams cannot fulfill such severe expectations face likely dismissal, which means the uprooting of families, economic dislocation, and a significantly less promising career path,” NFLCA wrote.

The NFLCA also claim that the lockout has a significant affect on the coaches’ ability to prepare for the upcoming season, especially new coaches since they are granted two extra minicamps familiarize themselves with the players and staff.  “To meet management’s expectations, coaches need adequate time in the offseason to prepare their players for the season ahead,” the NFLCA said. “The lockout has already interfered with the coaches’ offseason plans for their players, and each day lost in preparing for the season further diminishes coaches’ opportunities to prove themselves and advance their career.”

Coaches have already lost several minicamps and the ability to organize offseason workout programs.  Coaches rely on these to meet with their players, work on the team playbooks and to prepare players for training camp that usually begins in late July.

“Preparation is a coach’s currency, and coaches rely heavily on the offseason to prepare their players for the season,” the NFLCA said. “If the NFL’s lockout denies coaches the necessary time with players, coaches will be significantly more limited in their ability to prepare their teams and to prove their value as coaches.

Coaches have had to face a reduction in wages and benefits during the lockout, with the Buffalo Bills suspending pension payments and cutting wages for all employees.  “These income reductions are occurring amid the burdens of mortgage payments, tuition, and other life costs that do not wait for the NFL to end its lockout,” the NFLCA said

NFL Implements New Rules On Aggressive Contact – Now Wants to Punish The Teams Financially

The National Football League, even with a lockout, has decided not to stand idle and seeks to implement new rules next season (whenever that may be) regarding helmet-to-helmet contact and flagrant hits.  This time however, the League is not out to punish the player but the player’s teams.

The punishment, of course since it is the NFL, will be financial, and may also consist of stripping clubs of draft choices.

“As a club’s total increases to a certain threshold, we will enforce some … payback to encourage clubs to stay below that threshold,” the NFL said. “We’re looking at a system similar to one we instituted a couple years ago with off-field conduct.”

As everyone is aware, the NFL began to crackdown on illegal hits last season and made an example of Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison by fining him $100,000 for flagrant hits.  Harrison expressed his displeasure with the rule change by tweeting “I’m absolutely sure now after this last rule change that the people making the rules at the NFL are idiots,” Harrison said.

Additionally, the NFL has implemented rules wherein defenseless players cannot be hit in the head or neck with either a helmet, facemask, forearm or shoulder, with defenseless players being defined as those throwing a pass; attempting or completing a catch without having time to ward off or avoid contact; a runner whose forward progress has been stopped; kickoff or punt returners while the ball is in the air; kickers or punters during a kick or return; a quarterback during a change of possession; a player who receives a blindside block from a blocker moving toward his own end zone.  The definition of a defenseless receiver has been extended, wherein now a receiver who has not had time to protect himself or has not clearly become a runner even if both feet are on the ground is considered defenseless.

“This should permanently change the mentality of a defensive player trying to loosen the ball to change your target point,” said the NFL.  “We are not saying to take the physicality out of the game in any way, shape or form,” they said. “There are still lots of hits that are legal.”

What would Vince Lombardi think?

NBA Players file NLRB Complaint Against the NBA

The National Basketball Association’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expires on June 30, 2011.  So, not to be outdone by the NFL, the NBA Players’ Association filed an unfair labor practices complaint against the NBA alleging the league has attempted to bypass the union and has dealt directly with players, and that the NBA has refused to provide financial information to the NBPA as requested.

“We have urged the Board to investigate this matter quickly and to seek an injunction against the NBA’s unlawful bargaining practices and its unlawful lockout threat,” the NBPA said in a statement.

The NBPA further alleges that the NBA violated the National Labor Relations Act by “making harsh, inflexible, and grossly regressive ‘takeaway’ demands that the NBA knows are not acceptable to the Union and not supported by objective or reasonable factors or balanced by appropriate trade-offs.” And they have “repeatedly threatening to lock out Union-represented employees upon contract expiration regardless of negotiation status, without fear of a strike, based on a pretextual claim of financial weakness, and despite the foregoing bad-faith bargaining.”

The NBPA claims that the NBA’s practices “are inherently destructive to the collective bargaining process and to employee rights, and that reflect the NBA’s hostility to that process and those rights and are intended to signal to Union-represented employees that back-and forth bargaining is futile.”

Requested Continuance by the NFL Denied.

The National Football League had requested from the court more time to file its response to the pending antitrust lawsuit claims filed by the former NFL Players’ Association. The reason for such request is that the lawsuit filed by current players was amended to include additional counts from retirees led by former Minnesota Viking and Hall of Famer, Carl Eller.

That request was denied by U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeanne Graham who ruled that the NFL must answer by June 6.  “The court acknowledges that the injunction of the lockout is on appeal, but there are other significant factors weighing strongly in favor of moving forward with the rest of the case,” Graham wrote. “Regardless of the ruling on appeal, this case is likely to proceed” on other grounds.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments by both the NFL and the former NFL Players’ Association on June 3, 2011, as to legality of the current lockout.

37th Annual Sports Lawyers Association Conference in Washington DC

The Sports Lawyers Association will hold their 37th Annual Conference in Washington DC beginning this Thursday, May 19, 2011 through Saturday May 21, 2011. This annual event is the premier gathering of sports lawyers from around the country and this year’s conference once again brings some of the industry’s leading practitioners, academy scholars, and students together.

Scheduled topics for this conference include the following:

  •  The General Counsels’ Forum—including general counsels from all four major leagues
  •  The Executive Directors’ Forum—including the heads of each leagues players association.
  •  Media, Publicity, Fantasy Sports & Privacy Rights for Athletes
  •  Legal Impact of Agent Interference in Intercollegiate Athletics
  •  The Current State & Legality of the College BCS System
  •  Ethics for Sports Lawyers
  •  Latest Developments in Professional Sports Collective Bargaining
  •  Structuring & Negotiating Complex Transactions in Professional Sports
  •  Legal Ramifications of Head Trauma in Sports
  •  Romano On Sports – Sports Law Blog
  •  Arbitration & Mediation Update in Professional Sport

For more details on this tremendous event you can access the conference brochure here.

Romano On Radio: KCAA – California

Attorney Robert J. Romano will be a guest on KCAA 1050 AM – The Sports Parade with Fred Wallin Thursday evening, May 18, 2011 at 8:09 p.m. est to discuss the current status of the NFL/NFL PA’s Labor Dispute, the 8th Circuits Ruling on the NFL’s requests to extend the lockout, Major League Baseball’s takeover of the Los Angeles Dodgers and other current sports law related topics.

The station’s number is 1-888-909-1050.  Please feel free to call into the show.

KCAA Radio, 1050 AM, NBC News, Inland Empire, California

Division I Women’s College Basketball Sets Attendance Record.

According to the NCAA,(and we all know that they have enough money to conduct such research) 8,127,779 people attended Division I Women’s College Basketball games last season, with the average attendance set at 1,642 per game.  This breaks the 2007-08 record by almost 40,000.

The Tennessee Lady Vols the country in home attendance with 12,599 per game, followed by Louisville with 10,859, and the Connecticut Huskies with 9,788.

Congratulations – but I am somewhat disappointed that Connecticut was third.