© 2009-2017 by Matthew Harris Law, PLLC | All rights reserved

Legal Disclaimer/Notice | Third Party Links

Matthew Harris Law’s Blog

 

Texas laws that every Texan should know

1001 Main Street, Suite 200, Lubbock, Texas 79401

Tel: (806) 702-4852  |  Fax: (800) 985-9479

www.MatthewHarrisLaw.com

www.Facebook.com/MatthewHarrisLaw

Matthew Harris Law, Divorce Attorney Lubbock, Lawyer Lubbock TX, Lawyer Lubbock Texas, Law Blog, Attorney Lubbock Texas, Matthew Harris, Attorney Lubbock TX, Adoption Lawyer, Adoption Attorney, Adoption Lawyer Lubbock, Adoption Lawyer Lubbock, Divorce Lawyer Lubbock, Legal Blog

*DISCLAIMER* - This page is created for informational purposes meant for public consumption. This page is not an advertisement and is not meant to provide any legal advice or create an Attorney-Client Relationship.  You should consult directly with an Attorney for individual legal counseling that is tailored to your specific facts.

Collegiate Sports Madness (Monday, March 6, 2017)

Violation of Collegiate Athletic Association Rules

You probably know that when a college athlete violates the applicable collegiate athletic association rules, he can be punished with severe penalties.  Those might include loss of his scholarship, banishment from game play, or even affect his ability to go pro.

 

What you may not know is that in Texas, you, as a non-collegiate athlete, can be liable for damages by violating a rule of a national collegiate athletic association. 

 

How is This Possible?

The Texas Legislature has adopted each national collegiate athletic association’s rules that were in effect on January 1, 1987.  

 —See Adoption of Rules—Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 131.002

 

The legislature has failed to update this statute to adopt the newer rules of national collegiate athletic associations.  It might initially seem odd that the Texas Legislature would adopt the rules of a sports organization into law in the first place.  However, anyone familiar with the Death Penalty imposed on the Southern Methodist University Football Program on February 25, 1987, will appreciate the timing of this law.  ESPN’s 30 for 30 film, Pony Excess, tells the story of the SMU Football Program in the 1980s.

 

What is a National Collegiate Athletic Association?

This law applies to national collegiate athletic associations with one or more member institutions in forty or more states, including Texas.  The largest and most recognizable association is the NCAA.

—See Definitions—Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 131.001(1) 

 

Under this law, the term “person” does not include a government or governmental subdivision or agency. 

—See Definitions—Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 131.001(2) 

 

A regional collegiate athletic association is one that has one or more of its member institutions in Texas. 

—See Definitions—Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 131.001(3) 

 

An institution is a public or private institution of higher education, including any senior college, university, community college, technical institute, or junior college.  An example is Texas Tech University.  (Wreck ‘em Tech!). 

—See Definitions—Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 131.001(4) 

 

What Does This Mean?

If you violate a rule of a national collegiate athletic association, then you are liable for damages to a regional collegiate athletic association.  However, you have to have known or reasonably should have known that a rule was violated, and the violation of the rule is a contributing factor to any disciplinary action taken by the national collegiate athletic association.

—See Cause of Action by Regional Collegiate Athletic Association—Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 131.003 

 

Additionally, you can be sued by an institution (i.e., college, university, etc.).   If you violate a rule of a national collegiate athletic association, then you are liable to the institution if you knew or reasonably should have known that a rule was violated, and the rule violation is a contributing factor to disciplinary action taken by the national collegiate athletic association against the institution or a student at the institution.

—See Cause of Action by Institution—Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 131.004

 

This means that if you knowingly violate a national collegiate athletic association rule, you can be sued by the regional collegiate athletic association and the institution if the regional collegiate athletic association, a member institution, the institution, or a student are punished with disciplinary action based on your violation of that rule.

 

How Much Could I Be Sued For?

There is big money in collegiate sports, so a lot of money is at stake when a rule is violated.  The regional collegiate athletic association or institution may claim lost television revenues and lost ticket sales of regular season and post-season athletic events.

—See Damages—Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 131.006

 

The regional collegiate athletic association or institution is also entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.

—See Attorney's Fees & Costs—Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 131.008

 

Do I Have Defenses Available?

Texas law offers several defenses for violating a rule.  The first defense available is that at the time of the  violation of the rule, the rule was not a current rule, or the rule had been substantially changed by the national collegiate athletic association.  This is probably the most important defense since the rules that have been adopted are nearly thirty years old.

—See Defenses—Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 131.005(a)

 

The next defense applies only to an action by a regional collegiate athletic association.  It is a defense if at the time of the violation of the rule, the defendant was an employee of either the national collegiate athletic association, the regional collegiate athletic association, or a member institution, or a student at a member institution.  This means that the regional collegiate athletic association cannot sue its employees or students for violating a rule.

—See Damages—Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 131.005(b)

 

The final defense applies only to an action by an institution.  It is a defense if at the time of a violation of the rule, the defendant was an employee of either the national collegiate athletic association, the regional collegiate athletic association, or the institution, or a student at the institution.  This means that the institution cannot sue its employees or students for violating a rule.

—See Damages—Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 131.005(c)

 

Because of these defenses, it appears that this statute is aimed primarily at school supporters who are violating the rules.

 

What Are the Odds?

While this law has been in place for thirty years, there appear to be no cases that have cited to it.  Just because it seems like no one has been sued under this law does not mean that someone won’t be sued. So, show some sportsmanship though you are just a college sports fan and supporter.

 

--Authored by Carrie A. Harris, Esq.,

 

Matthew Harris Law, PLLC  - Civil Litigation Division

1001 Main Street, Suite 200, Lubbock, Texas, 79401-3309

Tel: (806) 702-4852 | Fax: (800) 985-9479

FrontDesk@MatthewHarrisLaw.com 

NCAA, NCAA Sports, NCAA Football, NCAA Basketball, NCAA Baseball, NCAA March Madness, NCAA Laws, NCAA Rules, Texas Law, Lubbock Lawyer, Sports Lawyer, Sports Law, College Sports, College Sports Rules, College Football, College Basketball, College Baseball, College Fan Rules, NCAA Fan Rules

Blog Home

Estate Management Posts

§

Business Law Posts

§

Civil Litigation Posts

§

Family Law Posts

§

Return to Law Firm

§

Criminal Law Posts

§

§