Pelicans star Zion Williamson asked in lawsuit to admit he received illicit benefits at Duke
Pelicans star Zion Williamson and Gina Ford/Prime Sports are suing each other.
Williamson signed with Prime Sports as he left Duke last year then terminated the contract before the Pelicans drafted him No. 1 overall. Now with CAA, Williamson claims that agreement was unlawful because it didn’t comply with North Carolina’s Uniform Athlete Agents Act (which restricts agents’ ability to sign eligible college athletes).
Ford now appears to be setting up a case that Williamson wasn’t actually an eligible college athlete when he signed with Prime Sports.
Daniel Wallach of The Athletic:
NEW: Zion Williamson’s former marketing agent has served requests for admission in their lawsuit asking him to admit that he received “money, benefits, favors or other things of value” to attend Duke University and to wear and/or use Nike and Adidas.— Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL) May 10, 2020
Wow. That escalated quickly. pic.twitter.com/59gWX5bNKX
Zion Williamson will NOT have to answer those requests for admission or interrogatories. At least not for several months. They were filed in a Florida lawsuit that is on hold against him while he challenges personal jurisdiction on appeal. He’s under no obligation to answer them.— Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL) May 11, 2020
Of course, Gina Ford will eventually serve the same requests in the North Carolina federal lawsuit - but only after the parties have had their initial scheduling conference. And then she won’t be allowed to file them publicly. And relevance will be decided by a NC judge.— Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL) May 11, 2020
Remember: NCAA rules are not laws. Just because the NCAA built a cartel to limit athletes’ compensation, it’s not actually good that high-level basketball players aren’t paid market rate.
By the time players reach the NBA, college-time payments are usually just banter. NCAA violations can be a big deal for colleges left behind, but professional players rarely face consequences.
The lawsuits involving Williamson make him an exception. This is a real issue for him as he sets off on his NBA career.