March 28, 2011

NBA Lockout on the Horizon?

Filed under: National Basketball Association — Giorgio Varlaro @ 9:48 pm

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With some exciting hoops action over this past weekend in the NCAA, thanks to wins by Virginia Commonwealth and Butler, the game of basketball seems to be at an all-time high publicity wise. Once a champion is found out next week however, more college players will play the waiting game as to whether there will be a 2011-2012 NBA season. The current National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Collective Bargaining Agreement is set to end on June 30th and players and owners have been unable to come to terms on a new salary cap or player contract revisions.

The owners have proposed a hard salary cap to replace the current system that allowed for certain exceptions. They also seek lesser contract lengths, values, non-guaranteed deals and the loss of freedom for free agents. The players have countered this offer, but both sides have yet to come close to a new deal. Trying to help both sides is Executive Director Billy Hunter. Hunter has had frequent talks with NBA Commissioner David Stern and Union President Derek Fisher, but with the season ending and the playoffs starting in the next week or so, discussions have been at a standstill.

The NBA  is enjoying its most talked about season possibly ever with the “Big Three” in Miami, Derrick Rose’s play in Chicago, and the trade for Carmelo Anthony to New York. Even with this success, the league is this projecting around $350 million in losses. Due to this, and the current downturn of the economy, the owners of NBA teams have proposed their current offer to the players and have been quoted by reporters to want to get a deal done.

Which league in your opinion has a better chance of having a regular season next year, the National Football League or the National Basketball Association? Is it smart for the owners to try and restrict player’s contracts and thus security with career-threatening injuries possible every night? Would a lockout hurt the NBA, like it did in1999 when only 50 games were played in the regular season?

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March 21, 2011

Bonds Back on Trial

Filed under: Major League Baseball — Giorgio Varlaro @ 11:00 pm

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After what seems like an eternity in the sports world, former All-Star Barry Bonds went back to court today (Monday, March 21, 2011) on charges of perjury after four years and ten professional athletes convictions in federal court in connection with steroid use and distribution, or for lying to the government or grand jury.

Bonds, who is now 46 and played his last professional game in 2007, has seven defense lawyers, but only three will be representing him in court. They are Allen Ruby, Cris Arguedas and Dennis Riordan. Ruby and Arguedas have worked with high profile cases previously (Ruby represented Raiders’ Owner Al Davis and Arguedas prepared O.J. Simpson in his murder trial in relation to cross examinations) while Riordan is said to be a whiz at legal theories.

Prosecuting Bonds still is Matthew Parrella and Jeffrey Nedrow. Parrella and Nedrow, who have been on the case since the beginning, need to convince a jury that Bonds knew he was taking steroids when he used the substances former trainer Greg Anderson gave him. Anderson has served over a year in prison for declining to testify against Bonds in 2009 and is expected to be jailed for contempt of court for the duration of the trial that began today. Anderson was a key piece of the prosecutions’ case, but the absence of his testimony has weakened the government’s case because the judge has excluded some evidence which included drug test results linked to Bonds.

Both the prosecution and defense in this case understand the importance of the outcome. As stated by Travis Tygart, chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, “Too much time has been invested and the public’s expectations have been raised too high to accept anything less than a conviction.”

If Bond is convicted of perjury, would you care? Is this old news to the public who has most of their attention on relief efforts in Japan? Or is the Bonds case bigger than some might realize? Bonds is the all-time leader in home runs in Major League history. In a sport that has embraced stats more than any other league, would a conviction of Bonds lead to a decrease in baseball enthusiasts?

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March 14, 2011

Old Helmets No Longer

Filed under: Sports Law — Giorgio Varlaro @ 1:45 am

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With growing concerns in football participants head injuries, both amateur and professional, the National Athletic Equipment Reconditioners Association (NAERA) announced recently a change in the protocol in relation to the use of helmets. No longer can high schools and colleges have helmets which are outdated or 10-years or more old.

NAERA’s decision started rolling when Joy Conradt, whose stepson, Max, was permanently disabled in 2001 by concussions he sustained playing Oregon high school football in a 20-year-old reconditioned helmet. Due to the defect in the helmet, the family sued the school district, its insurance carrier and the reconditioning company and settled out of court for $3.2 million in damages toward Max’s lifelong medical care.

Before this recent ruling, coaches were only to have helmets refurbished at their own discretion, thus helmets of any age and condition could be worn despite concerns over how the stiffening of foam and the degrading of the polycarbonate shell could’ve made a player more susceptible to concussions.

The new ruling for refurbished helmets has met many notable concerns for parents and individuals who decide to participate in football. However, with this new ruling, more stress is put on a school’s budget which has decreased in most states in recent years due to the economic down turn. The price of refurbishing a helmet usually costs schools $30, but with this new ruling, schools could be looking at spending $150 to $300 on helmets.

With NAERA looking to enforce their new helmet rule this coming fall, schools have some issues that need to be sorted out within their annual budget. Is the decision by NAERA to have helmets replaced every ten years a good decision? Should school make students who want to play football responsible for buying a helmet that potentially relieves them from serious head injuries? Should schools look to get more tax money or fire teachers so students can have the opportunity to play football?

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March 7, 2011

Search Warrant Issued to Sports Agent

Filed under: College Football — Giorgio Varlaro @ 8:45 pm

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After losing a total seven players due to violations with NCAA regulations in 2010, investigations around the University of North Carolina (UNC) football team has revealed that NFL agent Gary Wichard, who was suspended by the NFL Players Association for nine months for his role with UNC, played a major role in having the school violate amateurism rules.

Investigators in the case issued a search warrant for Wichard’s financial records, specifically with his business Pro Tect Management LLC. Investigators say that Pro Tect paid $1,000 to reimburse a high school assistant coach, who had paid for former Tar Heel defensive lineman Marvin Austin’s flights to and from California in March 2009.

Austin traveled to train with Kentwan Balmer, a Wichard client and former North Carolina teammate of Austin, at a facility located a short drive from Pro Tect’s offices in Westlake Village, Calif. Once the NCAA found out this information, Austin was dismissed from the Tar Heel football team in October. Six other teammates missed the entire season after either being declared permanently ineligible by the NCAA.

Wichard has yet to comment on the subject at hand, but became important in the case once it was found that Wichard never renewed his sports agent registration in the state of North Carolina.  The state requires agents to register and prohibits them from offering gifts before a contract is signed with a potential client.

After digesting what has taken place with Wichard and Austin, does it surprise you at all that a situation like this happened with a Division I football program? What if I told you that agents couldn’t be punished by the NCAA (which they can’t), thus is why this stuff occurs so often. Do you believe there should be a rule change there? With less than half of the registered sports agents in the United States getting 100% of the professional athletes consideration, would you reach out to college athletes for future business even though it could tarnish that students athletes playing career?

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March 5, 2011

Defense makes its mark in ECAC Championship

Filed under: Women's Ice Hockey — Giorgio Varlaro @ 11:52 pm

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ITHACA, N.Y. – A team most notable for their offensive quickness and star power, used defense Saturday evening at Lynah Rink to capture an ECAC Ivy League Championship.

The Cornell Big Red (30-2-1) defeated the Dartmouth Big Green 3-0 and improved to 8-0 all-time in playoff games played at Lynah Rink. Netting goals for Cornell was Chelsea Karpenko and Hayley Johnson. Karpenko scored the Big Red’s first two goals on assists from Hughes and Laura Fortino while Hughes scored off the stick of Catherine White. All goals were scored early in each period (13:18 first period, 12:42 second period, 13:06 third period) thanks to defense which wouldn’t allow the Big Green deep into Big Red territory.

Dartmouth (22-12) beat the Big Red in their previous game played in Hanover 4-2, scoring all four goals on a power play. Saturday was a different story, seeing Dartmouth finish 0-for-5 in power plays. The Big Greens’ best chance to score in the game occurred in the second period when Cornell found themselves down one on three separate occasions in the span of 12 minutes. It was a total team effort, seeing numerous Cornell players dive in front of pucks and out hustle Dartmouth for position on the ice. They proved to want the win more when it counted most.

Outhustling and outworking opponents is nothing new to this team though. The Big Red at one point in the regular season went a perfect 64-for-64 in not allowing opponents to score on a power play. Breaking that streak was Dartmouth. Cornell’s 93.4 success rate in killing penalties, which is second in the nation, probably moved up a couple percentage points after shutting out the Big Green.

With the win over Dartmouth, Cornell earned an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament. Selections will be announced on Sunday (3/6/11) at 6:30 p.m. on

March 4, 2011

Reliving a Magicial Moment

Filed under: High School Basketball — Giorgio Varlaro @ 7:19 pm

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UTICA – The quest for perfection is still on. With 35 points from Jared Suderley, 21 coming in the fourth quarter and overtime, the West Canada Valley Indians came from 12 points down in the first half to beat the Immaculate Heart Cavaliers 67-65 at the Utica Auditorium on Friday (3/8/10).

West Canada (21-0) went into Friday’s Section III Class C-2 Final battle tested, beating the #4 seed Onondaga Tigers by two (59-57) in the semifinals.

Coming through for the Indians then was Suderley. Doing it again against the Cavaliers was Suderley.

After being held to eight points in the first half, one of his lowest point totals in the first half of any game this year, Suderley and fellow teammate Paul Atkinson put the team on their back and gave Immaculate Heart (19-2) a fight they hadn’t seen all season.

The Indians started to gain some confidence on their first possession of the second half when Xavier Maxwell hit his only three-point field goal of them game, bringing West Canada within singles digits of the Cavaliers 32-23.

It stayed that way until Immaculate Heart’s Connor Caldwell started breaking down the Indian defense, using his athleticism to score five points in the quarter and build the Cavalier lead to 13 points with 2:35 left in the third quarter.

A Kyle Humphrey three pointer and Suderley field goal gave the Indians a 5-0 run to end the quarter, and brought West Canada within six (45-39), the closest they had come since trailing by 21-15 in the second quarter with 4:23 left in the first half.

The fourth quarter started just like the third quarter for West Canada, with a three-point basket, this time from Atkinson.

Eight seconds into the fourth quarter, Atkinson took a contested shot at the top of the key and was fouled, putting him at the line where he would sink his only foul shots of the game and bring West Canada within three (45-42).

Ending the Indian 8-0 run, which began with Humphrey’s three-pointer, was Caldwell. A fast-break layup quieted the deafening Indian fans in attendance and increased their lead to five (47-42).

Answering right back on the next possession was Atkinson. Hitting his second three-pointer of the game from the right-side of the floor, lifting all the Indian faithful from their chairs, causing Immaculate Heart’s head coach Mike Delaney to call a full timeout with the Indians now within two (47-45).

The timeout, which was used to slow down the Indian attack, only worked for about one minute. The time allowed when a full timeout is called.

After the timeout, the final five minutes of regulation belonged to Suderley. After a defensive stop, West Canada finally had their first chance to tie the game after trailing for a total of 27 minutes.

A down-screen from Matt Butler, who screened from the strong side of the floor to the weak side (where Suderley was), opened Suderley up for a contested shot, which he made, tying the game, and was fouled in the process, putting him on the line with a chance to complete a three-point play and give West Canada their first lead of the game.

The automatic Suderley, who was 4-for-5 at that point from the foul line, made it 5-for-6 and put the Indians up by one with 4:08 left in regulation.

Suderley would go on a score the final eight points for the Indians in regulation, making his final basket of the fourth quarter with 23.8 left, tying the game at 58.

Immaculate Heart ran down the clock for the final possession of the game, and had Caldwell pass on a shot because of excellent defense by West Canada’s Matt Butler, forcing Mark St. Croix to take a contested jumper from the left corner, which rimmed out and forced the game into overtime.

In overtime, it was again the Jared Suderley show. Of the nine points scored in the quarter, Suderley scored eight, and sealed the game at the foul line, just like he did a week before against Onondaga when he went 17-for-19.

A couple of three-pointers early by Suderley kept the Indians ahead of the Cavaliers, eventually forcing them to put the career 87 percent free-throw shooter on the line with time running out.

Suderley ended up going 2-for-4 in overtime, but got a key offensive rebound by Butler and steal by Suderley on Caldwell on both misses, never allowing Immaculate Heart an offensive possession.

The game ended on a Brain Magovney 45-foot three pointer which rimmed out and brought not only the fans of the Indians to their feet, but the players and the coaches as well.

West Canada head coach Steve Porter could be seen after the buzzer fist-pumping after the win and jumping around like he was back in his high school days.

“I love the kids on this team!,” Porter said. “One through twelve, they never quit!”

When asked about Suderley’s performance, Porter responded saying, “he’s the man.”

“It’s been like this the last three years,” Porter said when referring to Suderley. “He’s always been there for us.”

Suderley wasn’t the only player Porter had high praise for after the win.

“Everyone played really well tonight, but my hat goes off to Matt Butler.”  “He was unbelievable. His defense on Caldwell was amazing. He (Butler) was probably the 12th man of the team back in ninth grade. Now he comes into the Sectional Finals as a senior and holds down the fort.”

West Canada had seven players contribute for them against the Cavaliers. Leading the way was Suderley, scoring 35 points, grabbing 26 rebounds and blocking five shots.

After Suderley, Xavier Maxwell had six points, Alex Maxwell had six points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals; Kyle Humphrey had three points; Paul Atkinson had 10 points and four assists; Matt Butler had seven points and Tyler Porter had three points.

“We played like we were on a mission in the second half,” Suderley said. “We had a lot of turnovers in the first half and weren’t playing to our capabilities. We gutted this one out and never quit.”

West Canada, with the win, now moves on to the Regional Finals. The Indians will take on Tully at Chittenango on Tuesday, March 9, 2010. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.

“If and when we go down,” Porter said. “We’ll go down swinging.”

Big Red Advance to the ECAC Championship

Filed under: Women's Ice Hockey — Giorgio Varlaro @ 6:02 am

Supplied via Google Images

ITHACA, N.Y. – Despite the fact that Cornell’s Rebecca Johnson was shut out in Thursday night’s semifinals matchup against the Quinnipiac Bobcats, the Big Red netted four goals in front of a packed crowd at Lynah Rink, and moved even closer to capturing an ECAC Women’s Championship.

Cornell (28-2-1) was led by Chelsea Karpenko, Jessica Campbell and Hayley Hughes on offense. Karpenko got the Big Red on the board with 1:47 left in the first period after seeing Quinnipiac’s goaltender Victoria Vigilanti stop a barrage of wrist shots.

Cornell wasted no time in the second period, netting their second goal of the game (2-0) within the first 13 seconds of the period. Scoring the goal from her forward position was Campbell.

Down, but not out, Quinnipiac (23-12-3) got back in the game with a one-timer off the stick of Freshman Erica Uden Johansson, just 2:15 after Cornell scored to go up by two (12:32 left in the period). Allowing the goal was Cornell’s Katie Wilson.

Giving the Big Red back the momentum was senior forward Hayley Hughes. After the Bobcats found themselves down two players, the Big Red went on the offensive. Up to the challenge was Vigilanti. Quinnipiac held off the Big Red for most of the power play, but allowed Hughes to score with just over 20 seconds left in the power play to put Cornell up by two goals (3-1) with 3:37 left in the second period.

Quinnipiac managed to net two goals in the final period to make it interesting, one by Brittany Lyon and Bethany Dymarczyk, but Hughes kept the Big Red up with her second goal of the game with 13:55 left in regulation. The final 10 minutes of regulation saw each team fight and claw to make it to the next round of the playoffs. Coming out on top and sweeping the season series was Cornell.

With the win, Cornell will host the winner of Dartmouth and Harvard on Saturday at Lynah Rink. Game time is scheduled for 3 p.m. and will also be televised on the NHL Network.

Television Revenues on the Side of the NFL

Filed under: Sports Law — Giorgio Varlaro @ 3:55 am

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With the Collective Bargaining Agreement expiring on Thursday, it seems as if the Players Union and owners aren’t even close to a deal. One of the reasons as argued in court last week by the Players Union was the fact that the league has $4 billion in television revenue to finance its operations in the event of a lockout.

The fact that the owners have money to rely on gives them a distinct advantage over the players. Once the current collective bargaining agreement ends on Thursday, players will not receive salaries, medical care and other services provided by the league. Some players obviously have endorsements, but that group is very small. With owners receiving some type of revenue without their main product, it gives them an advantage in being able to wait out the players for a deal they like, which includes a rookie salary cap, more sharing of revenue with the players, and an 18 game schedule.

The N.F.L. Players Association said that the league has long planned for a lockout and extended the television contracts to guarantee income if games were not played. That could be so, but Gregg Levy, a lawyer for the N.F.L., said the television revenue was actually a loan that must be repaid with interest if games are not played.

To determine if the N.F.L. is practicing illegally against the players is United States District Court Judge David Doty. Doty wanted to make a decision on the case last Friday, but hesitated to rule quickly because he hoped that labor negotiations between the N.F.L. and the union might make the case moot.

Which side do you believe? The players or the owners. Do you feel that Judge Doty felt this case was too big for the courts to decide? Can an agreement be sought out before Thursday’s deadline? Was the old collective bargaining agreement really that bad of a deal for the owners?


Vikings Lose Yet Again

Filed under: Sports Law — Giorgio Varlaro @ 3:51 am

It seems as if the National Football League (NFL) has won when it comes to suspending players for illegal drug enhancement. Kevin Williams and Pat Williams of the Minnesota Vikings lost in a Minnesota court last week upholding in a lower court that the league’s suspension of the two players for the 2009-2010 season was justified.

Both Williams and New Orleans Saints’ Will Smith were found to have taken StarCaps, a supplement that included a banned substance (bumetanide). All admitted to taking the supplement, but due to the fact that the two Vikings players were to be suspended for four games, they fought the charges in order to play throughout the rest of the season (probably because both players felt the team had high chances of making to the Super Bowl).

Both Kevin and Pat fought that as employees of a company in Minnesota, they were governed by the state’s drug-test rules, not those of the league. This was overruled when the court said that the NFL did not violate state law because Minnesota’s workplace drug-testing policy did not cover bumetanide.

With the decision made in Minnesota court, it makes it less likely that other players will make similar legal challenges within their state if they are suspended by the league for taking banned substances. It also raises the likelihood that the league will enforce its original suspensions next season upon both players, which was four games.

Furthermore, with a New Collective Bargaining Agreement yet to be signed, this win for the NFL could possibly force players into one of their suggestions, which was a better drug program in the league. Until both sides reach an agreement is another story. And when they might happen is too.

Bumetanide, which is a diuretic that can mask steroids, was the reason these two players went through the process of litigation. Is it unfair to judge players like Kevin and Pat who take performing-enhancing drugs like these? Should have Will Smith gotten pass? Do you feel that because of this case, it might make the players agree to a new drug testing regimen the owners proposed in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement?


NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement

Filed under: Sports Law — Giorgio Varlaro @ 3:22 am

With the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and its players set the end on March 3rd, things have started getting chippy between players and owners, causing the NFL and its owners to file an unfair labor practice charge against the player’s union on Monday (February 14th). The league alleges that the union has failed to bargain in good faith because it plans to decertify.

The player’s union, which has stated that they have not yet decertified, sought for approval of decertification from the players during the 2010 regular season. The players authorized the union to decertify if necessary. If the union chooses to decertify, it essentially puts them out of business as a negotiating body for players.

With the NFL filing an unfair labor charge and the union threatening to decertify, it looks as if both parties will be playing a cat and mouse game until a new agreement is established.

The filing by the NFL, which was expected by the union, is a procedural move intended to prevent decertification. The league doesn’t want the players to be able to decertify because then the players can file an antitrust charge against the league which could then avoid a lockout after the March 3rd deadline.

Arguments in the new collective bargaining agreement revolve around a new rookie salary cap, equal sharing of revenues between players and owners, a two-game increase of the regular season, and other formalities with salaries, insurance and retirement if the regular season is extended.

With the NFL and the players union seemingly to play games with each other, does this prove that there will be no NFL games played next season? Do you think that the owners are asking too much from the players? Do you believe that the owners, like the Packers should reveal how much money they’ve made with the signing of the last agreement? Will a lockout of the players hurt the NFL like it did the MLB in 1994?



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