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Beginning of the End of the NCAA?

I recently read  Inside O’Bannon Ruling and the Beginning of the End of NCAA Inc. by Paul Barret in the Bloomsburg Businessweek, and would love to start a discussion about what you think.  See my thoughts below.

The purported demise of the NCAA will not occur in the near future, but the practices of the NCAA will have to change.

First, let me say, I am against the NCAA allowing individual schools to pay its athletes, because I think it is a slippery slope that cannot be properly regulated or funds equitably distributed among all – and I mean all athletes.

The argument will be to pay those athletes on the teams that generate the most money for the “university” – which means football and basketball players – male athletes.  What can’t be quantified however, is prestige that a team may bring to a university.   For example, I recently visited the Duke campus, and saw very prominently a banner that recognized the Duke Women’s golf team and Men’s lacrosse team for winning National Championships.  I’m not sure how much money they made the university, but those national championships carry a lot of cache with most people.  I can say I’ve seen plenty of trophies and awards in trophy cases, but I’ve never seen gate receipts displayed in a school’s stadium or arena.

The Bloomsberg article highlights a bigger problem that the NCAA has on its hands – allowing schools to use a players name and face in promoting its programs and not allowing those players to benefit from their likeness.  I bet for the two years that Johnny Manziel played at Texas A&M, Texas A&M sold a lot of jerseys with Manziel’s name on it and whatever other merchandise they could put his name and face on.  That issue is not the same as paying players, because the university is using the player to make money outside of ticket sales, and that is a different problem.

I would recommend that the NCAA allow schools to set up trust funds for athletes, and if it can be determined that a school made a certain amount of dollars from selling an athlete’s likeness, 50 percent of those profits should be given to the athlete upon his/her graduation or leaving school.

You know the other problem with NCAA, I’ve written this entire post and the word “student” was not mentioned once!

I would love to hear your thoughts!  Please comment below.

Hobby Lobby’s Supreme Court Case

In this month’s video blog I wanted to share with you the ruling for the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court Case and invite you to discuss your thoughts.



How will GM Compensate Victims of Bad Ignition Switches?

Welcome to The Thomas Law Firm, PLLC blog!  Once a month I will be posting video blogs about personal injury law and worker’s compensation with my thoughts and opinions.  I encourage you to leave your opinion as well!  Hope you enjoy my first video blog on How GM will compensate victims of their bad ignition switches.

“You are going to need a warrant for that!”

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in the case of Riley v. California, that the police must first obtain a warrant before searching a person’s cell phone incident to an arrest. The Court recognized that a person’s cell phone is not just a phone, but an electronic storage device that more closely resembles your home computer or laptop, than the landline at your house.

In fact, the cell phone industry now refers to cell phones as “smart” phones, because they do much more than allow the users to make and receive calls. If you walked into any retailer, you would be hard-pressed to find a cell phone that only allowed the user to make and receive calls, because a data plan” is normally required for all new cell phones.

So, if you are in the unfortunate position of being arrested and the police want to search your cell/smart phone, remember the words of Jay-Z, “You are going to need a warrant for that!”

Click here for the Huffington Post article.



Jurors Asking Questions

In recent months the case of The State of Arizona v. Arias, raised an interesting question:  “I thought only the lawyers can ask questions; how can jurors be allowed to question a witness (in the Arias case, the defendant)?”

Brief facts for context:  Jody Arias was charged with murdering her boyfriend Travis Alexander.  Arias plead not guilty and provided a defense of “self-defense.”   Although she had a Fifth Amendment Right to “remain silent,” Arias took the stand in her own defense.

As the defendant, Arias was a defense witness, so her attorney was allowed to question her – direct examination.  The prosecutor was then allowed to question her – cross examination.  Following questioning by the attorneys, the jurors were then allowed to submit questions to the judge for the witnesses.  The jurors cannot ask the questions directly.  After the questions are submitted, the attorneys have a right to present argument to the trial judge on why the questions should or should not be asked.  After hearing argument from the attorneys, the trial judge decides which questions can be asked of the witness.  This will also provide some insight to the attorneys to which way the jurors may be swaying based upon the questions they want to ask:  For example if the question is “Can the defendant appeal the case if we find her guilty?;” then the defense may be in trouble.

Arizona where the Arias case was tried is one of at least three (3) states that allow jurors to ask questions of witnesses, which may include criminal defendants that take the stand.   Juror questions are also permitted in Colorado and Indiana.

Presently, Virginia does not permit juror questions.

For my money, I like the Virginia system, because it allows each participant to stay focus on his/her/its role:  the judge oversees the entire trial to make sure the rules and procedures are being followed; the trial lawyers make sure they ask the appropriate questions and present their best case according to the rulings of the court; and finally the jurors decide the case based upon the evidence presented.  The jurors already have enough on their plates, and do not need to be saddled with more responsibility that could detract from their ultimate goal of deciding the case on the evidence presented.

There are however, other states, pundits and writers that advocate that allowing jurors to submit questions to the witnesses is good and that other states should get on board.

What are your thoughts?   If you were on a jury, would you like to ask questions?