In recent years, lawsuits have become a common occurrence in the world of sports. From players suing teams for breach of contract to coaches suing universities for wrongful termination, athletes and organizations are using the court system to resolve disputes more than ever before. While some lawsuits are simply an attempt to gain an advantage over one’s opponents, others have had a far-reaching impact on the way sports are played and organized. Here are seven lawsuits that changed sports:
1. Brady v. NFL
In 2015, quarterback Tom Brady filed a lawsuit against the National Football League after he was suspended for four games as a result of the “Deflategate” scandal. Brady argued that the suspension was unfair and violated his right to due process. A federal court agreed, and Brady was allowed to play the entire 2015 season.
2. O’Bannon v. NCAA
In 2009, former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon filed a lawsuit against the NCAA, alleging that the organization’s rules prohibiting athletes from being compensated for their names, images, and likenesses violated antitrust laws. In 2014, a federal court ruled in O’Bannon’s favor, paving the way for college athletes to be paid salaries.
3. Kessler v. NCAA
In 2010, attorney Jeffrey Kessler filed a lawsuit on behalf of several current and former college football players against the NCAA, arguing that its rules limiting the number of scholarships that schools could offer violated antitrust laws. A federal court agreed, and the ruling led to a dramatic increase in the number of scholarships available for college football players.
4. Omalu v. NFL
In 2005, neuropathologist Bennet Omalu published a study linking chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) to professional football players. The NFL quickly disputed Omalu’s findings, but the controversy sparked by his research eventually led to a lawsuit. In 2015, the NFL reached a settlement with former players who had sued the league over its handling of head injuries.
5. Hart v. NCAA
In 1994, Amanda Hart filed a lawsuit against the NCAA, alleging that the organization’s rules limiting the number of women’s athletic teams violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. A federal court ruled in Hart’s favor, and the decision led to a dramatic increase in the number of women’s athletic teams at NCAA schools.
6. King v. Board of Regents of University of Georgia
In 1974, former University of Georgia football coach Wally King filed a lawsuit after he was fired for refusing to sign a loyalty oath to the university. The Georgia Supreme Court ruled in King’s favor, establishing the principle that public employees have the right to free speech absent a compelling government interest.
7. Haywood v. NCAA
In 1970, black basketball player Charlie Haywood filed a lawsuit against the NCAA, alleging that its rules prohibiting athletes from transferring to another school without losing a year of eligibility discriminated against African-American players. The U.S. Supreme Court sided with Haywood, and the ruling led to the abolition of NCAA transfer rules.
In conclusion, lawsuits have played a major role in shaping the world of sports. Whether it’s players challenging unfair suspensions or coaches fighting for their right to free speech, lawsuits have helped athletes and organizations push for change. So far, the courts have been largely sympathetic to the athletes, and it will be interesting to see how the trend plays out in the future.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a sports-related accident, please contact Napoli Shkolnik today at (844) 860-0949 to discuss your legal options. They are experienced attorneys that can help you seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries.