Sports

The Washington NFL Team’s Newest Opponent: The “Trademark Hog”

By: Kyle Tatich

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Inspired by the 2014 South Park episode regarding the Washington Redskins and its trademark controversy, Virginia’s Philip Martin McCaulay began filing applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”), hopeful for a potential payday if a name change became necessary for the NFL’s franchise in Washington, D.C. That day came in July 2020, following a wave of anti-racist protests sparked by the death of George Floyd on May 25. The July announcement that Pro Football Inc. and majority owner Dan Snyder would move on from the 86-year-old nickname of “Redskins” launched McCaulay and his many trademark applications and registrations into the national spotlight.

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The Student-Athlete Equity Act of 2020: A Step in the Right Direction

By: Gabe Marx

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The sports world has gone head-to-head with the NCAA for over a decade, arguing that college athletes should be allowed to benefit fully for their on-field success in the form of compensation for their name, image, and likeness (“NIL”). Despite consistent pushback, both legal and societal, the battle for NIL compensation has been slow developing as the NCAA’s amateurism rules have long prevented athletes from receiving such compensation. In the past month, however, the five largest and most impactful NCAA athletic conferences known as “the Power 5” (Big 10, SEC, Big 12, Pac 12, and ACC) joined forces to produce a new piece of legislation entitled the “Student-Athlete Equity Act of 2020,” once again spurring the debate about the NIL rights of student-athletes.

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Pandemic Playbook: What Games Without Fans Means for Financing Football

By: Ashley Willard

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https://pixabay.com/photos/stadium-rows-of-seats-grandstand-2921657/

In March, after a long year of negotiations with the NFL, the NFL Players Association (“NFLPA”) ratified the 2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”), which governs through 2030. Neither side could have anticipated that a pandemic would ravage the country and potentially bring them back to the bargaining table just months later. Since the NFL does not have a “force majeure” clause in its CBA that could terminate the season, the show must go on. However, the NFL and the NFLPA will need to work together to address both safety issues and the looming prospect of a shrinking salary cap in 2021. Continue reading »

College Football in 2020: The NCAA’s No-Good-Alternatives Dilemma

By: Kyle Tatich

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https://pixabay.com/photos/football-american-college-83513/

When it comes to the decisions to suspend, amend, or fully continue fall sports in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the echoes of history are too loud for the NCAA and its member schools to ignore. Those who advocate for games to happen are not only tossing aside the final vestiges of the NCAA’s founding purpose—enhancing the safety of college sports—but also possibly tearing down many protections collegiate athletics has earned in the court of law over the past 70 years. Continue reading »

Symposium Feature Story: Balling on a Budget and Assessing the Federal Government’s Potential Role in Regulating College Athletics’ Compensation

By: Nathaniel Reiff

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The “eternal conflict” of athletic departments fostering a for-profit business model while adhering to the nonprofit educational mission of the NCAA and its umbrella of public universities has captured the interest of both federal and state lawmakers.

Up to 30 states are considering proposals that would lay the foundation for student-athlete compensation. This initiative comes after California passed a law in 2019 that would allow NCAA players in the state to make endorsements or bid merchandise without jeopardizing their scholarships or eligibility.

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Symposium Spotlight: Michael Grace Jr.

By: Olivia Bane

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Michael Grace Jr. will moderate the Athletes as Employees: Analyzing the Business Implications of the “Pay-for-Play” Model panel at the Wake Forest Journal of Business & Intellectual Property Law’s Spring 2020 symposium. Michael’s practice focuses on business and finance, securities, and mergers and acquisitions. He is a first-year associate in Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton’s Winston-Salem office. Prior to joining Kilpatrick Townsend, Michael spent several years as legal counsel at the Supreme Court of North Carolina, where he provided legal support to the Honorable Chief Justice Mark Martin in his role as head of the North Carolina Judicial Branch. Previously, Mr. Grace served as a Judicial Law Clerk for Chief Justice Martin.

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Symposium Spotlight: Mason Ashe

By: Brian Lewis

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Mason P. Ashe wears many hats. An experienced sports and entertainment attorney, talent manager, brand strategist, and educator, Mr. Ashe brings over 25 years of experience in the legal and business arenas to best serve his clients, community, and students. As Founder and CEO of Ashe Sports & Entertainment Consulting, Inc., Ashe has structured and negotiated deals related to athlete and entertainer engagement, executive compensation, digital content licensing, and many other agreements associated with the scouting, marketing, management, employment, and commercialization of talent in the sports and entertainment industries globally. Ashe earned a BA degree in Psychology from Hamilton College, and a Juris Doctor degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School. ​

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Symposium Spotlight: Shelia Huggins

By: Olivia Bane

 

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Shelia Huggins is a solo practitioner, law professor, North Carolina representative for the Democratic National Committee, and social media personality. Shelia’s firm, Shelia Huggins, PLLC, focuses on business, contracts, sports, media, internet, employment, and entertainment law. Shelia teaches an Entertainment and Business Law course as an adjunct professor at North Carolina Central School of Law. For nearly nine years, Shelia also worked for the city of Durham, where she was involved in the programming of citywide events and projects supporting neighborhood revitalization efforts and economic development.

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