How Schools and Private Entities Have Engaged in NIL Activity

Now that a regulatory framework is in place, either by way of the NCAA’s interim policy or through the various state laws discussed in the second iteration of this blog series, academic institutions and private entities, such as alumni and companies, have quickly engaged in the NIL space. This final post of our three-part blog series explores some of the ways these entities and individuals have interacted with NIL in the world of college athletics.

How Schools and Their Athletes Are Entering the Mix

Recognizing that NIL deals are now a significant factor in recruitment and that NIL is here to stay, schools are getting involved in the process. This is primarily accomplished in two ways: through school-specific NIL policies, and NIL departments aimed at facilitating and educating players.

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How US Federal and State Legislatures Have Addressed NIL

As discussed in part one of this blog series, the landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court in the Alston case effectively paved the way for collegiate athletes to profit from their own name, image, and likeness (“NIL”). While many states quickly enacted legislation addressing NIL, it remains to be seen whether and how NIL will be legislated at the federal level.

State Law Addressing NIL

As of July 8, 2022, 29 states have passed legislation regulating or otherwise addressing how student-athletes can profit from their name, image, and likeness. Of those, 24 such laws are currently in effect[1]. Those that are not yet in place are slated to take effect by July 2023 at the latest[2]. An additional 10 states have proposed legislation currently pending in various stages of the legislative process[3].

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Name, Image, and Likeness in US College Athletics: One Year Later

In the United States, college athletics are as popular as professional sports, generating revenues of over $1 billion for the 2021 fiscal year. Despite this popularity, college athletes have long been classified by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) as having amateur status.

The NCAA—which promulgates the rules and regulations pertaining to student-athletes’ participation and eligibility in college sports—defines an amateur as “someone who does not have a written or verbal agreement with an agent, has not profited above his/her actual and necessary expenses or gained a competitive advantage in his/her sport.”   

Throughout the history of the NCAA, student-athletes were prohibited from making money from their name, image, or likeness—a concept commonly referred to as “NIL”. They could not be paid for signing autographs or entering into sponsorship deals, nor could they profit from the sales of jerseys bearing their name. Put differently, many of the ways in which professional athletes make their money were strictly off-limits to college players. But on July 1, 2021, the world of college sports transitioned into a new era, as the NCAA lifted the ban on player compensation and instituted an Interim NIL Policy.

This is the first of a three-part blog series that examines how, one year later, the various entities that operate within the world of college athletics, such as the players, businesses, and the academic institutions themselves, have adapted to the new reality and the dawn of NIL.

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Changes to the “crown jewel” sports events amid UK broadcasting review: An updated analysis of the UK’s Listed Events Regime

Following on from the growing popularity and success of the Women’s Super League and the great form of the England’s Women’s Team, there is a real sense of anticipation and excitement ahead of the UEFA Women’s European Championship finals, to be kicked off this Wednesday by England’s Lionesses versus Austria.

In late April, the UK Government announced that the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the UEFA Women’s European Championships are to be protected by the UK listed events regime as “crown jewel” events – attracting the same status in the UK’s listed events regime as the men’s FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championships.

These “crown jewel” events are viewed as being events of national importance and, in order to promote as wide an audience as possible, access to such events on free-to-air (FTA) TV channels or services has been protected by the UK’s listed events regime. 

In light of these changes and also the broadcasting white paper recently published by the UK Government into the review of public service broadcasting more generally, this article considers the background, recent changes and potential further developments to the UK’s listed events regime.

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Crackdown on Gambling Ads Featuring Sports Stars: New Advertising Rules

Casino

As reported in our previous article published in 2019, the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) have been focussing for some time on protecting children and young persons through their regulation of gambling advertising.

Under the current rules, gambling ads are prohibited only if they appeal ‘particularly’ to under-18s, which CAP considers means if an ad is likely to appeal more to under-18s than to adults.

In April, CAP announced a tightening of these rules, which will come into effect on 1 October 2022. We discuss these amended rules below.

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‘Is Football the Same Without Fans?’: Valuable lessons when negotiating broadcasting agreements

Last month, it was reported that the value of the overseas broadcasting deals entered into by the English Premier League (‘EPL‘) nudged past the £5 billion threshold for the 2022-25 rights cycle, whilst also surpassing the value of domestic deals for the same cycle for the first time.

Given these substantial investments, it is no doubt worth considering what protections and assurances broadcasters can expect under the terms of their media rights agreements, and, on the other hand, what degree of flexibility rights holders can seek in the delivery of the relevant rights.  This is particularly the case in light of the disruptions to the organising and staging of sporting events across the world over the course of the last few years.  It is almost two years to the day that the 2019-20 EPL season was interrupted, before resuming in June 2020, albeit with empty stadiums and on a rescheduled basis.

It was against this backdrop of ‘football behind closed doors’ and the further changes to the schedule that the High Court recently considered, amongst other things, the level of flexibility afforded to rights holders in meeting their delivery obligations under broadcasting agreements and how this could turn on the particular terms agreed.

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Disqualified For Technical Breach Despite No Advantage: The Cautionary Tale Of A Rally Driver

This article was written for and first published by LawInSport.

While nearly all of the column inches relating to recent FIA stewarding decisions have (unsurprisingly) focused on the fall out of the ‘Hamilton v Verstappen’ F1 2021 season finale, an interesting recent decision1 in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC3)2 underlines just how impactful decisions in the fast-paced world of motorsports can be.

In November 2021, the International Court of Appeal (ICA) of the Federation Internationale de L’Automobile (FIA) handed down its judgment in the appeal brought by Mr Yohan Rossel (Driver) against the decision of the Stewards of the EKO Acropolis Rally (Greek Rally)3. The Driver had been disqualified by the Stewards from the rally as the front subframe of his car during the rally weighed more than the authorized maximum weight. The ICA rejected the Driver’s appeal in favour of the decision of the Stewards.

This is an interesting decision as it highlights that performance advantage is not a necessity to be sanctioned if found in breach of the applicable regulations. It also showcases the limited scope that exceptional circumstances in relation to technical irregularities can be admitted in.

This article examines the factual background of the case in point, as well as the various key takeaways that drivers and teams would do well to heed going forwards.

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Real Estate Law May Soon Play A Role In The Metaverse

This article originally appeared in Law360 on February 15, 2022. Authored by Alexis Montano, Real Estate Associate, Phoenix, AZ.

The metaverse is a mix of augmented virtual reality that operates with the help of blockchain functions such as nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, and cryptocurrencies.

Think of the metaverse as a universe with several platforms making up the actual virtual planets. These platforms include Decentraland, Sandbox and Mirandus, among others.[1] Current technology aims to develop these digital spaces into reflections of the real world, blurring the lines between physical and virtual reality.

The two biggest platforms, Decentraland and Sandbox, have been headlining recent news for their larger-than-life real estate transactions. Between Nov. 22 and 28, $106 million worth of virtual real estate was purchased from just four of the metaverse platforms, with Sandbox raking in $86.56 million of this total.

Although we broadly categorize these transactions as real estate, the assets being traded are NFTs. NFTs are one-of-a-kind digital assets that are indivisible and not interchangeable.[2] This correlates to owning a piece of real property where no two are the same.

Additionally, NFTs are managed by digital ledgers called blockchains much like ownership of real estate is documented in county public records. While deeds contain the legal description of the property you own, NFTs contain metadata that describe the asset they represent.
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The FA v Marc Bola

FootballOn 3 September 2021, The FA announced that Marc Bola (“the Player”), of Middlesbrough FC, had been charged with misconduct for an alleged Aggravated Breach of the FA Rules, 2021/2022 (“the 2022 Rules”), rules E3.1 and E3.2 (“the Charge”).

The Charge related to a Tweet the Player posted from his Twitter account on 14 April 2012. The Tweet has since been deleted but it is understood that the Tweet made reference to sexual orientation and was deeply offensive.

The Rules, rules E3.1 and E3.2 state:

A Participant shall at all times act in the best interests of the game and shall not act in any manner which is improper or brings the game into disrepute or use any one, or a combination of, violent conduct, serious foul play, threatening, abusive, indecent or insulting words or behaviour’.

A breach of Rule E3.1 is an “Aggravated Breach” where it includes a reference, whether express or implied, to any one or more of the following :- ethnic origin, colour, race, nationality, religion or belief, gender, gender reassignment, sexual orientation or disability’.

The Player is currently 24 years old. At the time of the Tweet subject to the Charge, the Player was 14 years old and was part of Arsenal FC’s Academy.

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The Jump Off: Two Equestrian Leagues Continue To Go Head To Head

horse jumpingThe equestrian sport of show jumping takes place across the world, attracting an ever-increasing media profile.  It therefore comes as little surprise that event organisers have sought to ride the wave of the sport’s growing interest and publicity by seeking to establish various new show jumping competitions.

Two such leagues are Major League Show Jumping (“MLSJ“), which debuted in 2021, and the National Equestrian League (“NEL“), which is still yet to launch (despite having been approved by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (“FEI“)).

The advertised potential prize money on offer for these new leagues is considerable: $12,400,000 for the NEL; and $7,000,000 for the MLSJ.  These leagues both feature eight professional teams, which compete at various venues across North America.  They are both classified as 5* show jumping events and are seemingly looking to mirror the structure of established American major professional sports leagues.

The rivalry between the MLSJ and proposed NEL progressed to the US courts and the tribunal for the FEI, and this article sets out the background to the legal challenges and various issues under consideration.

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