Monday, November 24, 2008

Turkey Day Break/ Studying At Home


 I am officially on break sort of, as I am now at home in the City of Dreams (Blacksburg,VA).  Thanksgiving break is only one day really.  I am skipping two make-up classes to come home for a week.  It is not all fun and games here however, as I am listening to the podcasts and lectures that I missed along with studying for upcoming finals in three weeks.  I am at a hookah shop in DT bburg now studying and memorizing torts.

I am glad that Cooley has podcasts for some classes.  We do not get many break as a law student and I plan on taking advantage of them by studying 500 miles away from the Cooley campus (where it is almost just as cold).

Friday, November 21, 2008

MSU-PSU, Rose Bowl On the Line


Penn State takes on Michigan State at Happy Valley this Saturday for the Big Ten title and a possibility of playing in the Rose Bow. Javon Ringer leads the surprising Spartans to PA in hopes of ruining Penn State's season and a chance at a BCS Championship game appearance. The Nittany lions are ranked #8 in the nation and the Spartans are #15. Sadly I will be on the road to Blacksburg, VA for Thanksgiving, and will be missing this game. NO worries however, TIVO is a wonderful invention that I could not live without...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Tie?????


First tie since 2002 an NFL game ended in a tie. The game this past Sunday between Philadelphia and Cincinnati ended up at a stalemate at 13. The teams struggled the entire extra period and after a sad looking overtime period ended in a tie. Cincinnati has won one game all year and Philadelphia has been slipping since RB Westbrook first became injured. I think the NFL needs to have some way to end a game without having a tie. It is so rare that it not only looks awkward, but feels awkward as well and hurts both teams records. Come on Roger Goodell, instead of only hearing your name for fines and extending the season, lets hear it associated with a new strategy for handling tie games...

Uruguay Championships Cancelled After RIOT

The Uruguay Championship tournament has been officially canceled on Monday, after a HUGE on the field riot between fans. The riot occurred after the top two teams in the league faced off, the visiting team won 1-0 and the fans came onto the field with metal and wooden fence posts ready to fight.

The conduct was so appalling that the league officials decided to cancel the rest of the championships for the season. Fighting and riots are common for soccer nations but not always on the field directly after the game. Leagues have taken action but not usually a full cancellation of the league championships. These measures are extreme but perhaps it will influence fans enough to finally deter these types of reactions.

I understand the passion these fans have for their teams but they have to do other alternatives when the team loses. Maybe Americans do not care about sports as much as other countries but the government and police need to regulate and enforce this bad behavior more and patrol more after games. I think the harsh action here is a good start to show fans no to riot and destroy property or cause death or serious bodily injury after games.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

CYA Bud Foster


According to several talented Hokie defenders (Sturdivant..), the Hokies defensive coordinator, Bud Foster, is going to leave Blacksburg. Some people are saying he is going to take the head coaching job at Clemson. Not only will Foster be leaving, but a lot of his defensive all star players are considering leaving for the NFL if Foster leaves. Doesn't that sound great for Hokie fans? Bud Foster and the Hokie defense has won many games for Frank Beamer almost single handedly in the past decade. Without Bud the Hokies will be in trouble. Nothing has been officially said by Foster, all this is just talk coming from the Hokie locker room.

http://www.wsls.com/sls/sports/college/college_football/article/tensions_show_from_hokie_defense_about_possibility_of_bud_foster_leaving/21528/

Redick Starts First NBA Game

JJ Redick made his first career NBA last tonight for the Magic in a 103-90 win against the Toronto Raptors. Redick had ten points total.


Mark Cuban Situation


As you might have heard by now, billionaire entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, has encountered a problem.  On Monday, Cuban was issued a civil complaint by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in federal court in Dallas, Texas.  The complaint charged Cuban with insider trading regarding his sale of 600,000 shares of Mamma.com stock in 2004 (Montreal-based Mamma.com changed its name in June 2007 to Copernic Inc).  Apparently, the SEC has been investigating this case for several years and has only now decided to go after Cuban.  According to the Associated Press, the facts of the case are as follows. 

 "Mamma.com decided in the spring of 2004 to raise capital in a so-called private placement in public equity offering, known as a PIPE, according to the SEC suit. In late June, as the PIPE moved toward closing, Mamma.com's investment bank suggested the company invite Cuban to participate.

On June 28, Mamma.com Chief Executive Guy Faure e-mailed Cuban asking him to call him "ASAP," the SEC said. Cuban called four minutes later from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, home of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, and spoke to Faure for about eight minutes.

Faure, who resigned last year, began the conversation by telling Cuban he was about to give him confidential information. Cuban agreed to keep it to himself, the SEC said.

Cuban became upset and angry during the conversation, and said that he didn't like PIPEs because they dilute the value of company stock for existing shareholders, according to the SEC."

 After Cuban got off the phone he then called his broker and traded all 6.3% of his Mamma.com shares.  Some reports said it was within only 8 minutes of the conversation ending, others claim it was hours later, but before the public announcement of the offering.  The federal regulators claim that by selling his shares when he did, Cuban saved losses of around $750,000.

 Scott Friestad, the SEC's deputy enforcement director claimed that "It is fundamentally unfair for someone to use access to nonpublic information to improperly gain an edge on the market."  In the SEC's statement, they urge that unless he is subject to an injunction, Cuban "is likely to commit such violations again in the future,"    Although the issue at law regards insider trading, the real issue that Cuban and his attorneys will question, asks if Cuban is being singled out by the SEC because of his high profile name?

In response to thee allegations, one of Cuban's attorney's Ralph Ferrara, said on Cubans blog, that the SEC's case "has no merit and is a product of gross abuse of prosecutorial discretion.  Mr. Cuban intends to contest the allegations and to demonstrate that the (SEC's) claims are infected by the misconduct of the staff of its enforcement division."

Cuban, in his own statement, said, "I am disappointed that the (SEC) chose to bring this case based upon its enforcement staff's win-at-any-cost ambitions. The staff's process was result-oriented, facts be damned. The government's claims are false and they will be proven to be so."

In a later post on Cuban's blog,  blogmaverick.com, Cuban's attorney, Stephen A. Best, claims that the conversation between Mr. Cuban and Mr. Faure had no agreed discussion of keeping the information private.  Below is the relevant interview regarding the phone conversation between the two.

Christopher Clark:

1) Q- We spoke earlier about you were telling Mr. Cuban in words or substance : “I have confidential information for you”.

A- Right.

2) Q- Do you recall anything Mr. Cuban said in response or reply to that statement by you ?

A- No, I do not.

Whatever defense Cuban and his attorney's use they had better make sure that he sticks with his story and does not lie in any way.  The charges against Cuban, currently, are only civil charges and not criminal.  Meaning that if he complies with the SEC he could get away with paying only restitution damages and no jail time.  On the other hand, if he lies the government is likely to press criminal charges, including obstruction of justice.  This could place him in the same situation that Martha Stewart was in.  The two cases are eerily similar, except that Martha fabricated a defense and was charged and jailed on that not on insider trading charges alone.

With the Mavericks off to a dismal start this season, Cuban has not had the greatest month of November. If he handles the civil complaint appropriately, he could only be forced to write a check, and will be allowed to go on and conduct business as usual. But will the charges have any further effect on Cuban's business?

David Stern and the NBA have the right to discipline/ fine team managers for their actions. As we have previously seen with Stern, he does not hesitate to issue fines and suspensions for criminal charges off the court.  He has even fined Cuban before for "comments" he made after a game.  So, if the SEC finds Cuban guilty, he can also face sanctions by the NBA.  

Another business area that might be affected by the complaint might be the potential buying of the Chicago Cubs.  Using my own "inside information" from Mr. Cuban himself in October, the potential deal buying the Cub's is off the table.  Mark told me it would have been a wonderful opportunity for him and the Cub's organization, but they both were unable to agree on future terms.  If the deal were still up in the air and assuming he is the highest bidder, before he could officially buy the Cub's he would still have to get approval by all other MLB owners.  And with a charge of insider trading hanging over his head, that task of getting other owners approval may be a little harder.

I was privileged enough to meet Mark this past October at the Entertainment Law Forum in Los Angeles.  Not only was I impressed with his overall knowledge and creative business ideas, but he was extremely personable and social.  With the economic situation in America today, I believe the SEC is looking to show American's that they are still present.  Like Martha's ordeal, charging a big name star, such as Cuban, brings added attention to the agency and gives Americans more belief that the government is trying to fix the economic situation.  The charges against Cuban are certainly shocking. As one of the richest individuals in the world (161st according to Forbes in 2007), Cuban is always looking for other business areas to break into and innovate. If he recognizes a potential loss, like any good businessman, he attempts to reduce the losses.  Hopefully, Cuban will can keep reducing his losses because this time he has a lot to lose.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Marshawn Lynch Celebration

After watching Marshawn Lynch run over people last night against the Browns.  I started to remember his days at Cal.  My roommate then made me aware his "joyriding" days after games at Cal where he would steal the gator cart after games and ride around the field.  After Lynch scored the game winning TD in OT he took the cart from the trainers and went around the entire field hooting and hollerin'.  He drives like a mad man and is close to hitting fans and players.  Although it looks like fun the school could definitely get in BIG trouble if he were to hit somebody.  We are learning about Negligence now in torts and this is a great example of it.  I'm glad the Buffalo Bills got him squared away on his conduct after games.  The link to watch the you tube video is below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqMsT_2teus&feature=related


Agent or Advisor: The Andy Oliver Dilemma


The Andy Oliver affair is a tragic account of a talented young athlete who was forced to suffer because the actions of one greedy agent, who believes he has a stake in the stars success.  On the other hand, the Oliver case highlights the thin line between agent and adviser, and will help distinguish between the two for future reference.

Andrew Oliver is a talented young pitcher who currently attends Oklahoma State University.  The facts of the case start when the Minnesota Twins drafted Andy after his senior year of high school.  At that time, Andy spoke with and was advised by Robert and Tim Baratta on whether to accept the offer from the Twins or attend college and play, where his stock could go up.  With the Barattas’ brother’s advice, Andy decided to attend OSU on an athletic scholarship.

Under section 12.3.4 of the NCAA Bylaws, it explicitly allows for adviser panels to exist. Importantly, it states that an adviser can review a proposed professional contract, help in securing tryouts with teams, and assist a student-athlete with the selection of an agent.  The purpose of allowing an “adviser” relationship to exist is to allow the student athlete to stay eligible as a collegiate athlete if they are considering going professional or if their contract does not work out.

Oliver went on to be a dominant pitcher at OSU, earning first team All-Big 12 honors his first season.  He helped the Cowboys receive a national top 25 ranking and a spot in the College World Series.

All was grand for Oliver until he decided to drop the Baratta brothers his sophomore season for legendary baseball super agent, Scott Boras.  Most baseball managers despise or are afraid of Mr. Boras because of his intimidating list of talented clients and the extremely hefty contracts he negotiates for them.  As soon as Boras was declared Andy’s official agent, the Barattas’ then mailed the Oliver’s a bill for over $100,000 for their previous services. The Oliver’s disputed the bill, claiming they had only agreed to pay the Barattas' a percentage of a future professional contract, something which Andy still has not received.

After the Oliver’s disputed, Robert Baratta wrote a letter to the NCAA, alleging Oliver had committed NCAA violations.  Claiming that he had paid them, and that they acted as his official agent. Baratta also claimed that Boras had offered Oliver inappropriate benefits, including pitching lessons and equipment. Oliver denies all of the allegations against him, and stated that he only used the Baratta brothers as advisers.

This was a rather slimy move by Robert.  Bringing an issue to the attention of the NCAA regarding a high power agent like Boras might require immediate attention, rather than allowing the complaint to go through the NCAA’s judicial process.

The letters sparked a joint investigation by the NCAA and Oklahoma State on Oliver and his communication with his adviser/agent, Robert Baratta (nothing of Boras was mentioned in the NCAA report).  This ultimately led to Andy’s suspension from NCAA athletics.  On May 31st, when Andy was to be pitching against Wichita State in hopes of advancing to the next round of the CWS, the NCAA declared him ineligible.  This not only disappointed Andy and his family, but his coaches and team were upset and disappointed that the NCAA took their ace pitcher during the most important part of the college baseball season.

After his suspension for violating the NCAA “no agent” policy, Oliver filed a legal malpractice suit against the Barattas’ for their original intervention.  However, the boldest decision by the Oliver’s came when they decided to file a suit against OSU and the NCAA amongst others, regarding the suspension and ultimate end of Andy’s season during that crucial time.

Andy and his attorney, Richard G. Johnson, refiled their complaint against the NCAA several times now and eventually got a temporary restraining order (TRO) issued against the NCAA.  This means that the NCAA immediately reinstated Andy Oliver’s collegiate eligibility, allowing him to participate this pre-season and season until his case is finally decided.

The trial of Oliver v. NCAA is set to be heard December 8th, 2008.  Andy recently took another small step in his battle, as the court dismissed the defendant’s request for the trial to be heard by a judge and not a jury.  The main issue in this case is if Oliver broke NCAA regulations by obtaining the Barattas’ as an agent.  Andy’s other argument is that he was denied due process when he was suspended from the team during the end of the season on these allegations alone.

I happen to agree with Andy’s argument.  In the NFL and other professional sports, athletes are not punished for their actions until they are convicted of the wrongdoing.  A recent example of this is Matt Jones.  The Jacksonville Jaguars receiver was charged with possession of cocaine this summer in Arkansas and is yet to miss an NFL game this year. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell waited for his trial to finish before instituting a suspension to Jones on that particular offense.

Allegations or investigations alone should not prohibit an athlete from participating.  If that were the case, agents or even other competitors who want to get back at athletes could send the NCAA letters and get those players banned. On that logic, this could be a simple case of a jealous agent trying to get back at a client who has left him for other representation. Imagine the chaos that regulation would cause in collegiate athletics.  Back ups athletes could write letters to the NCAA with fictional allegations about the athletes in front of them on the roster in order to get a starting spot.

The underlying facts show that not all agents are self-absorbed, bad people with horns, who only look out for their own skin.  Many in fact, are the opposite; specifically ones who act as advisers first and then become agents.  Advisers get no finances until fruition of a contract and can do a lot of research without pay.  In Andy’s situation, the details are unclear regarding what the Baratta brothers actually did for Andy and if those actions crossed the line from adviser to agent.  Maybe the Baratta brother’s aren’t the bad guys they are portrayed to be?  An agent does deserve his fair share when he represents a client. This is what the court will have to decide when looking at Andy’s many complaints.

Always Sunny In Philly Season Finale Preview

For all of you who are fans of the show It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, like myself, here is a preview of the season finale that will be airing this Thursday on FX....

It involves a night man musical and looks ridiculous. I can't wait!!  The link is below as I still can not add it as a video link for some reason...


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Follow Me To America


Swedish sensation, Freddie Ljungberg is now in Seattle representing the recently formed Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer.  Ljungberg was a former Arsenal Gunner for many years, playing in the EPL.  He also helped Sweden in many international matches.  The left footed winger can play midfield or up top and will be very touch to guard in MLS play.  

Many internationals are now leaking into the MLS to play professionally.  Following the act of Beckham, big names like Freddi are now giving the MLS consideration.  Is this a good thing for the MLS or will players soon leave and go back overseas, sending negative signs to the rest of the world about American soccer?  

Beckham and Ljungberg are not young stars like Ronaldo and Rooney and Messi, but their fabled names have caused many to take a second, or first, look at the MLS as a possible option.  Although, they might be looked at as over the hill by many in the soccer world, Beckham, Ljungberg, Blanco and others have all improved the MLS and its reputation.

19 3's, O My!!


The New York Knicks hit 19 three pointers in there 132-103 win against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night.  That was a franchise record for 3' pointers made by the Knicks.  Defense was certainly not a focal point in that game as the Knicks outshot the Grizz'.  Chandler for the Knicks was the teams high scorer with 27.  My boy Nate Rob' came in off the bench and had 21 pts with 5 rebs and 5 assists.  Another nasty game as usual for Nate.  He is the teams second leading scorer so far the first 6 games, behind J Crawford, who averages almost 21 a game.  Nate averages 2.6 steals a game and is tops in the league in that category so far.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

BIG Trouble With GM


General Motors has said they are losing $2 Billion dollars A MONTH and will certainly need some type of government bail out in order to stay open next year. Locally, many Michigan plants have had layoffs here in Michigan. The worsening economy will only cause for more layoffs during this holiday season and make many unhappy workers and families. When will the government finally step in and do something to help the car companies out? GM is the largest car manufacturer that is effected by this economic times, and has already made significant changes. Gas prices are currently on the decline, however all companies in this industry are struggling. Will this "depression" be the end of GM and other American car companies?

Young Money $$$$


Here is an interview by Young Money with Dynasty's Darren Heitner.  Darren is one of the up and coming talented young agents in the industry.  They ask him some great questions about becoming an agent and what his path was.  

Dynasty Athlete and Entertainment is growing as we speak.  With Darren leading the charge the future looks bright.  He is a great story for any young potential agents out there.  Congrats on the interview DH and I look forward to many more in the future.

MLB Free Agency Looms Large


Sixty-five players including many talented ones like, K-Rod, Mark Texiera, Bobby Abrea, CC, and Kevin Youkilis are all free agents now. Matt Holliday has recently signed with the Oakland Athletics. Teams hold exclusive negotiating rights with their own free agents until Nov.14, when all 30 clubs can begin discussing dollars with the agents and players. That date is now rapidly approaching this Friday.

As I stated in my previous post, President Elect Obama's tax increase is scheduled to take place this January, which will significantly increase the taxes for MLB free agent players signing. Many agents have already touched on this issue and have met with agents regarding potential players and quick signings.

The real question is if any of the big names will sign quicker with smaller teams because of this? Or will the money larger teams can offer have an overbearing effect and make the tax issue moot? Only time will tell and that time is coming shortly.

How Higher Taxes Will Effect Agents


Below are some of the thoughts and words of Darren Heitner regarding Obama and his new tax ideas and how they will hurt/help agents. I happen to agree with Darren on most of the issues stated below. I believe the tax increase will make agents/ team managers to try and do some deals prior to the upcoming deadline where their taxes will get increased. This will not hurt all clubs, but the significant tax increase can and will still hurt their overall budget and since the MLB has no salary cap, teams will not think to much about it when signing big name players they need to fill the roster.

In short I believe the tax increase will have an impact but not a negative one, as teams will still be forced to sign big contracts for big name players. It will only cost GM's more money now, as agents will now include the higher tax rate as consideration in their negotiations.

"Agents are looking to what the future may hold in taxes now that Obama has been declared the next President of the United States. Obama would like to raise the top federal income tax rate from 35% to 39.6%. At this point, it is merely a wish. There is no knowing whether such a plan ever goes into effect. If the tax rate were to be increased for the next fiscal year, then signing bonuses paid before Jan. 1 should not be taxed at the higher rate. Thus, some agents are thinking about getting their free-agents into an established uniform earlier this time around due to potential tax breaks over signing later on.

My thoughts are that the teams who notoriously spend money will continue to do so, while the Marlins, Rays, Royals, etc. keep their low payrolls. The real change may be seen with those clubs that spend somewhere in the middle. If sponsorships and/or ticket sales go down, expect those teams to cut salaries. However, I do not see teams adopting such measures proactively. Instead, I think that any salary cuts will be based off of lower figures once they start rolling in next year (if numbers are indeed down at all). As far as the federal income tax rate, it should be interesting to see if free-agents tend to sign earlier this year due to the potential of a raise in rate by the new Democratic administration."


To read the rest of Darren's article on SportsAgentBlog.com
click here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Law School Update

I am now in week number 11, of my first term at law school here in Michigan. Everything is going well so far. A lot of reading, as expected, but nothing I can't handle. We had midterms for the first and only time in our law school careers about 3/4 weeks ago. I did decent but expect a lot better from myself on the final exam.

Cooley has 3 terms or trimesters, unlike most law schools who only have two semesters. This makes the law school life a little different and more compact as everything is crammed into about three months or so, giving students less time to do anything but work. Cooley is the only law school I have heard of that has midterm exams, only for first term students. I don't know if that hurts or helps, with the midterms only counting for 10% of students overall grades. It is more like a checkpoint to wake up law students half way between your first term and make sure they are keeping up. No worries here, as I am already studying for final and finishing my outlines. I need to get all A's this first semester, anything less will be a huge disappointment.

I have my first Moot Court Bailiff opportunity today in a little. As a bailiff you do not do much with the Moot Court. It is only to get a look at the competition and decide it that is for you in the future. I have not taken evidence or Crim Pro and can not compete in the competitions yet either. I will let you know how it goes today...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

CALI Rescinds Gay Marriages


Proposition 9 on the ballot this year asked CA residents to consider rescinding, last years recent law allowing gays and lesbians the right to marry.  The fact that it is on the ballot a year after it was passed is  insult enough, but the actual ruling, reversing the previous decision, is even more insulting to Gay's.  

CA voters went out of their way to campaign against gay rights, even more so than the gay/lesbian community did the prior year when the proposition was passed.  Either way you look at it, Cali is extremely liberal, but not liberal enough to actually allow gay marriages consistently.  CA is viewed as a state that leads the way in reform, I wonder which message this will send the rest of the nation.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama Politics Already Effecting Agents

It has only been one day since Barack Obama was declared the 44th President of the USA and his proposed policy changes are already causing discussion. Not only on the political forefront in Washington, but also in the offices of sports agents and general managers. In the article below, sports agent Scott Boras speaks about the Obama tax increases.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3683448

OBAMA In the White House







After a hard faught campaign Barack Obama is the 44th President of the free world, and the first African American President in history. I am proud to say I played my part making history. I do not agree with all of Obama's policies ideas but I believe he will make a good President in our current climate. Change is certainly good and is much needed for the American economy and other current ways we live.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

We Know KG And T-Mac Voted


"I’m Obama all day, every day,” McGrady said. “I endorse him. I actually met him this summer, me and my wife. When he was down here, he wanted to meet and I went to his hotel to meet him. A very nice gentleman. I believe in what he believes in.”

Those are the words of Tracy McGrady,the  Houston Rocket's star, who will be honoring his candidate and sending a message to everyone out there on Tuesday.  T Mac along with Kevin Garnett will be wearing red, white and blue shoes with stars and stripes, and a  special insignia on them.  The shoe reads "Change Is Needed, Vote 08" and is certainly a reference to Obama's slogan "Change We Need."

McGrady and the Boston star KG are sponsored by adidas shoes.  They said this decision was to “emphasize the importance of this historic election,” according to an adidas statement

According to adidas, “The words were chosen by both KG & Tracy and reflect their political views. "This is not about partisanship. Rather, this is vehicle to encourage people to get out and vote.”

VOTE!!


Get out there and VOTE!!!!! This year looks to be the highest turnout for young voters.  So, continue the trend, get out there and vote.  If you are going to BaROCK the Vote or choose the beautiful Sarah Palin with JMac, have your voice heard.

Plus you get those I Voted stickers....

Monday, November 3, 2008

DETROIT Basketball


My current local hometown NBA team, the Detroit Pistons has officially traded for 33 year old PG Allen Iverson, from the Denver Nuggets.  AI was traded to Motown for Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess and Cheikh Samb.  I do not know if this deal will help either of the teams.  I believe it will only mess up the chemistry of both teams, and slow them down to start the season.  With high profile athletes like this being traded so early in the season, I only expect imminent problems.  I believe the Nuggets could have the better season if Billups falls into his usual role as a leader and scorer with the Nuggets.  Carmello could have made out the best on this deal.  He now has someone that will pass it to him more than AI would, along with some added defensive pressure to help tire out thos western conference teams.

I do not know if Allen Iverson is the right answer in Detroit.  Joe Dumars has always gone out on a limb with his draft picks and decisions and so far they have almost all been correct.  AI will make his Piston debut in Toronto on Wednesday night.  To read the rest of the ESPN article click HERE.