Loeb & Loeb LLP achieved an appellate victory for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) when the California Court of Appeal affirmed a trial court’s judgment striking a defamation complaint related to claims arising from the NCAA's publication of an Infractions Report involving the University of Southern California (USC) and former USC basketball player O.J. Mayo.
After a two-year long investigation into recruiting rules violations committed by USC, the NCAA published a Public Infractions Report in 2010, which detailed improper inducements and benefits provided to Mayo by the Plaintiff who was acting as a USC representative and booster in an effort to recruit Mayo to the university. The Plaintiff sued NCAA for defamation, alleging that while statements in the report describing the cash, gifts and other benefits he provided to Mayo were true, the report mischaracterized his relationship with Mayo and with USC. The trial court granted the NCAA’s motion to strike the complaint under the anti SLAPP statue, which protects the report as a matter of public interest, and determined that the Plaintiff would be unlikely to prevail at trial because he admitted to providing Mayo with the benefits in question.