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Tennessee Retains Top Attorney to Take on NCAA: A Game-Changing Move

CEO Khai Intela
Introduction In a bold move, the University of Tennessee (UT) has hired a seasoned and respected lawyer to tackle the NCAA head-on. UT has chosen William "Bill" Burck, a highly regarded partner at Washington D.C.-based...

Introduction

In a bold move, the University of Tennessee (UT) has hired a seasoned and respected lawyer to tackle the NCAA head-on. UT has chosen William "Bill" Burck, a highly regarded partner at Washington D.C.-based law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, to represent their interests in an NCAA investigation. Burck's impressive track record includes prosecuting Martha Stewart and representing prominent figures like New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and former White House adviser Steve Bannon. This unexpected move demonstrates UT's commitment to fight for fairness and integrity in collegiate athletics.

The University of Tennessee has hired well-known attorney William Burck as it fends off NCAA interest in how the athletics department handles name, image, and likeness deals. The University of Tennessee has hired well-known attorney William Burck as it fends off NCAA interest in how the athletics department handles name, image, and likeness deals.

Contract reveals when NCAA investigation got serious

The timing of UT's engagement with Burck speaks volumes. The engagement contract, reviewed by Knox News, was signed by UT's general counsel Ryan Stinnett on December 4, almost two months prior to the public acknowledgment of the NCAA's investigation into UT's alleged rule violations regarding name, image, and likeness (NIL) benefits for athletes. This indicates that the NCAA had shown interest in the allegations against UT for several months, with December being a turning point.

How UT’s lawyer worked for President Bush, prosecuted Martha Stewart

Burck's credentials exemplify his expertise and authority in legal matters. As a former official in President George W. Bush's White House, Burck provided legal guidance on congressional investigations, national security concerns, financial crises, and complex constitutional issues. He also served as a federal prosecutor in New York City and played a pivotal role in the Martha Stewart stock-trading case. Additionally, Burck has represented clients such as FIFA, Robert Kraft, and figures involved in the Robert Mueller probe into President Donald Trump. His vast experience and impressive track record make him the ideal choice to take on the NCAA.

Why did UT change lawyers for this NCAA investigation?

UT's decision to switch legal representation for this NCAA investigation is significant. In the previous NCAA investigation involving the Jeremy Pruitt recruiting scandal, UT sought assistance from Bond, Schoeneck & King, a firm specializing in NCAA cases. However, for this new investigation, UT opted for a different approach. By hiring Burck, an attorney specializing in white collar crimes and government and regulatory litigation, UT is poised to challenge the NCAA's rules on antitrust grounds. This strategic move aligns with Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti's federal lawsuit, which questions the lawfulness of NIL rules and runs concurrently with the NCAA investigation into UT.

How much will UT spend in legal fees?

Legal representation doesn't come cheap, and UT understands the stakes involved. Burck's standard billing rate is $2,250 per hour, with his junior associates charging $880 per hour. However, UT negotiated a 15% discount on their standard hourly fees for this matter. In addition to these fees, UT must cover travel expenses, paralegal services, word processing, meals, research costs, filing fees, expert and consultant fees, and other related expenses. Previous NCAA cases have proven costly for UT, with the university paying $10.4 million in fines to the NCAA at the conclusion of the Jeremy Pruitt case. Despite the financial burden, UT remains resolute in its pursuit of fairness and justice.

In a time when collegiate athletics face scrutiny and questions surrounding the treatment of student-athletes, UT's decision to hire a powerhouse attorney sends a clear message. They are committed to upholding integrity and protecting the rights of their athletes. With Bill Burck at the helm, UT is positioning itself to challenge the NCAA's rules and regulations, potentially reshaping the landscape of collegiate sports. This bold move serves as a declaration that UT refuses to back down and will fight for what they believe is right.

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