by Travis Normand
In light of the accusations against Johnny Manziel of getting paid for autographs, the following concerns a cause of action that would apparently be available to Texas A&M if Manziel and/or Texas A&M is found to have violated a NCAA rule. The cause of action is not necessarily available to the Manziels despite the NCAA ruling earlier this year that they (or their corporation) can profit from a trademark lawsuit.
However, none of this addresses the jurisdiction question of whether or not any of the autograph brokers who could be potentially liable under this statute, are subject to the jurisdiction of the State of Texas. The brokers who orchestrated the reported signings with Manziel that allegedly happened in Connecticut and/or Florida might be out of reach for Texas law. However, there was one signing that was reported to have happened in Houston, which would probably make the broker involved subject to Texas jurisdiction.
The State of Texas passed legislation in 1987 that could hold the autograph hounds liable for their actions if they paid Manziel for his autograph in violation of NCAA legislation. Section 131.004 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code states “a person who violates a rule of a national collegiate athletic association adopted by this chapter is liable for damages in an action brought by an institution if (1) the person knew or reasonably should have know that a rule was violated; and (2) the violation of the rule is a contributing factor to disciplinary action taken by the national collegiate athletic association against the institution or a student at the institution.” This would give Texas A&M University the authority to file suit against the autograph hounds if it or Manziel receives punishment from the NCAA. Accordingly, pursuant to Sections 131.006 and 131.007 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Texas A&M University’s damages may include “lost television revenues and lost ticket sales of regular season and post-season athletic events” and “reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.” Certainly, if Manziel is not on the field for the Aggies, there could be substantial losses in revenue.
In short, autograph hounds might want to consider how loudly they express their purported shortcomings and alleged payments to Manziel. There is a Texas statute that can provide a hammer for their alleged actions.
The above block quote was taken from an article that can be found HERE.