Players Need for Protection or a Piece of the Pie

By Zachary Nastro

The treatment of college athletes by the NCAA has been a contentious topic for fans, students, universities, and now the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NCAA rakes in billions of dollars in revenue, while the athletes are compensated through conditional athletic scholarships. Last March, the NCAA men's basketball Final Four brought in $198.5 million in advertising revenue, which is eclipsed by the $10 billion contract CBS and Turner Sports signed for the broadcasting rights until 2024.

This fiscal oil well is contingent on one crucial factor, the athletes' performance. If the athletes do not perform, the NCAA money machine ceases to exist. In light of this well-known dependent relationship, shouldn't these student athletes be entitled to more than the scholarships that are currently distributed? The Northwestern Wildcats Football program seems to think so. The College Athletes Players Association (CAPA), on behalf of the football players at Northwestern, challenged the athletes' status in an effort to establish their role as employees of the university.

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About Elissa

Elissa D. Hecker practices in the entertainment and business fields. Her practice focuses on copyright, trademark and business law.  Her clients encompass a large spectrum of the entertainment world. In addition to her private practice, Elissa edited the books Entertainment Litigation - Know the Issues and Avoid the Courtroom, In the Arena and Counseling Content Providers in the Digital Age.

Elissa is Chair of the Board of Directors of Dance/NYC. She is also a Member of the Advisory Board of MARACAS and the Legal Advisory Committee of Safe Football. She is Past Chair of the Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law (EASL) Section of the New York State Bar Association, Editor of the EASL Journal, member of the Editorial Board of the NYSBA Bar Journal, and Co-Chair and founder of the EASL Pro Bono Committee. She is also editor of the EASL Blog. Elissa is a frequent author, lecturer and panelist, a Trustee of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. (CSUSA), a member of the Board of Editors for The Journal of the CSUSA, and the CSUSA’s Newsletter Editor.

Elissa was selected repeatedly as a New York Super Lawyer and Top Attorneys – New York Metro Area’s Outstanding Lawyers. In addition, she was selected for Top Women Attorneys in New York Metro and Top Attorneys – Westchester Area’s Outstanding Lawyers, was the inaugural recipient of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A.'s 2011 Award for Excellent Service, and received the 2005 New York State Bar Association's Outstanding Young Lawyer Award. She was previously Associate Counsel with The Harry Fox Agency, Inc. and its parent company, the National Music Publishers Association, Inc.

Practice Areas include:

Entertainment Law • Copyright • Trademark • Intellectual Property
Television • Production • Music • Dance • Photography • Internet
Media • Business • Corporate issues • Contracts • Publishing

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Photos By: Stefy Hilmer (headshot) and Christopher Duggan (Dance/NYC)