Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

January 2019 Archives

Depending on who you ask, a series of workouts imposed by then-new Oregon football coach Willie Taggart in January 2017 were either "a physically impossible exercise regimen of squats and told the student athletes that the workout 'would demonstrate who wanted to be on the team,'" or "akin to military basic training, with one said to include up to an hour of continuous push-ups and up downs," and not all that strenuous.

For three of the players subjected to the workouts, however, they were potentially life-threatening. Offensive lineman Doug Brenner, tight end Cam McCormick, and offensive lineman Sam Poutasi were hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis, a condition that causes byproducts of rapidly breaking down skeletal muscle to be released into the bloodstream, possibly damaging the kidneys. Brenner is now suing Taggart, strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde, the University of Oregon, and the NCAA after suffering permanent kidney damage that reduced his life expectancy by ten years.

Athlete's Suicide Blamed on Sorority Hazing in Lawsuit

All suicides are tragic, but especially ones that could have been prevented. Jordan Hankins' may fall into that category. Hankins, a sophomore guard for the Northwestern University women's basketball team, was found hung in her dorm room nearly two years ago. Her mother alleges that Hankins became severely depressed and anxious after severe hazing by the sorority she was pledging, Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA).

She has now filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division against the local chapter and national organization of AKA, as well as nearly a dozen members and former members that were serving as advisors at the time of Hankins' death. Causes of action include negligent supervision, wrongful death, and negligent entrustment.

Former USC assistant basketball coach Tony Bland pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery for accepting cash to steer his players to specific agents and financial advisors. "I knowingly and willfully conspired with others to commit federal funds bribery," Bland told a federal judge in New York on Wednesday. "I knew that my conduct was wrong."

Bland's plea is the first of four indicted college basketball coaches targeted in a massive corruption scandal that has rocked the sport.