Headline Sports Law

U.S. Rep Bobby L. Rush Compares NCAA To The Mafia

Yesterday, a group of individuals who are tied to college sports in a variety of ways converged in Washington D.C. to participate in a roundtable discussion titled, Hypocrisy or Hype?  The Impacts of Back-Room Deals, Payoffs, and Scandals in American Collegiate Student Athletics.  The list of participants may be found here.

U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill) put together the event and also took the prize for best quote of the day.  According to Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY, Rush said the following:

“(The NCAA) is one of the most vicious, most ruthless organizations ever created by mankind.  I think you would compare the NCAA to Al Capone and to the mafia.  It’s a systemic, ongoing, prolonged abuse of thousands and thousands of innocent young men and women who are only trying to make a life for themselves and live the American dream.”

In my discussion with Warren Zola (Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs at Boston College) following the event, he mentioned that he is pleased that we are having serious discussions about reform in college athletics.  He said, “The only way to improve the current situation is to engage in dialogue, share ideas, and take action.”

The next best line after Representative Rush’s was unsurprisingly from former NFLPA Contract Advisor Josh Luchs, who stated,

“(Adding $2,000) is just like throwing a guy on a 10-story burning building a three-story ladder.  It makes absolutely no sense.”

I also spoke to Luchs following the event, and he relayed that he was impressed with the discussion and honored to be invited as a speaker.  He mentioned that Memphis Grizzlies Forward Shane Battier and Philadelphia 76ers Forward Thaddeus Young conducted themselves as true professionals and truly stood out as highly intelligent members of the NBA community.  But what mattered most to Luchs was that his daughters were able to watch their father provide insight on Capitol Hill regarding the state of college athletics.

Luchs also mentioned that there was some discussion of Title IX outliving its purpose and a need to modify it based on its consistent use to block meaningful reform in college sports.  Keep an eye on U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush, who could use his position to be a catalyst for change.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.