Plotting a course to a post-COVID-19 future isn’t the only challenge facing the sports and betting business. Goldberg Segalla’s Joseph M. Hanna also pointed to the NCAA’s recent proposal to allow Division 1 athletes to receive compensation for use of their name, image, or likeness (NIL). “What does this mean for 2021?” Joe asked. “If states are unimpressed with the protections provided by the NCAA, more states will legislate—like California—until the NCAA produces impactful legislation. Another option that is likely to gain support if states are forced to legislate is a rekindled interest in federal legislation.”
In two interviews with Law360, Joe, co-chair of Goldberg Segalla’s Sports and Entertainment and Retail and Hospitality practices, addressed legislation, cases, and regulation to watch in the world of sports and betting in 2021.
Joe discussed the debate around whether college athletes should be able to accept NIL compensation for sponsorship and endorsement purposes, which NCAA rules have long banned. In 2020, five states passed laws to negate these restrictions and, as a result, the NCCA unveiled a proposal, to be voted on in January 2021 that would allow Division 1 athletes to accept NIL compensation.
In addition to pending state legislation, Joe pointed to antitrust actions targeting the NCAA.
“I certainly believe House v. NCAA has merit and a chance to succeed,” said Joe of one proposed antitrust class action filed in June, citing the Alston v. NCAA ruling as laying the groundwork. “That is essentially the crux of the argument in House, as well, as the suit argues the NCAA and conferences have engaged in an overarching conspiracy to fix the amount student-athletes may earn at zero.”
“Coupled with the backdrop of the multitude of states simultaneously pushing for new NIL laws, House certainly has a chance to continue chipping away” at NCAA amateurism rules, Joe added.
“Sports & Betting Legislation to Watch in 2021,” Law360, January 3, 2021
“Sports & Betting Cases to Watch in 2021,” Law360, January 3, 2021
Joseph M. Hanna is a commercial litigator and legal adviser recognized for his work in retail and hospitality and sports and entertainment law. His clients include major-league sports franchises, professional athletes, movie studios, and others in the sports and entertainment world who rely on his counsel for matters involving licensing, contracts, and day-to-day business management. With a national practice and industry-wide reputation for leadership, Joe is consistently ranked among the top 10 attorneys based in Western New York in Business First’s annual Legal Elite, and in 2015, Joe was the youngest honoree ever to be named Lawyer of the Year in the Bar Association of Erie County’s 130-year history. Joe is also a leading voice for diversity in the legal and business communities. He is chair of Goldberg Segalla’s Diversity Task Force and has held multiple leadership roles in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) as well as diversity-related positions within the American Bar Association (ABA), DRI, and other organizations.