At least one of the two athletes recently dismissed from the Nebraska wrestling program is planning to take legal action against the university.
An expert onFirst Amendment rights believes both men may have a legitimate legal case. Paul Donahoe and Kenny Jordanwere dismissed from the teamlast week after posing nude for a gay pornographic Web site, Fratmen.
University of Nebraska-Lincolnofficials have not pointed to any particular bylaw the athletes violated. However, Fratmen. Athletes are ineligible for competition if they accept compensation. John Zelezny, a California communications lawyer and author of textbooks covering First Amendment law, said the dismissal of both athletes may constitute an infringement of their First Amendment rights.
Zelezny said it's not enough to have a rule in print; athletes have to be able to interpret the rule and understand its application. Under the pseudonyms "Nash" and "Cal", Donahoe and Jordan appearednude, separately,and shot solo masturbation videos.
Zelezny cited the precedent set by similar instances in sports programs not receiving public money. In those cases, he said, the organizations were within their legal boundaries in dismissing those athletes.
Cal State Fullerton student-athlete Leilani Rios found herself in a situation similar to the wrestlers' in The hurdler who worked at a strip club threatened the university with a federal lawsuit after officials dismissed her from the athletic program. Her head coach said her employment "portrayed CSUF athletics in a bad light. Zelezny said UNL would have a difficult time enforcing moral conduct if the student-athletes did not have a clear understanding of what they could or could not do.
Paul donahoe nash
Nebraska's only official remarks regarding the dismissals came Aug. Nebraska's Sports Information Office didn't provide a specific rule in the Student-Athlete Handbook that was used in the decision to dismiss Donahoe and Jordan. Sports Information Director Keith Mann only pointed to the student-athlete code of conduct, which covers topics such as alcohol abuse, proper dress attire and acquaintance rape.
Two phone messages left for the NCAA were not returned.
Messages left for Gary Bargen and Josh White, NU associate athletic directors in charge of compliance, and an e-mail to White also were not returned. The NCAA policy is a side issue.
I haven't seen any of the team rules. Jordan seems to be a step ahead. In a message sent Tuesday through the social networking Web site Facebook.
So when i settle down I want to take some legal action. Marsh said Jordan's original statement was likely a shock reaction and an attempt to handle any disappointment or anger his parents may have had. Jordan and Donahoe will have to wait for an official ruling from the NCAA to determine if they actually violated an NCAA bylaw, and what, if anything, they would need to do to restore their eligibility.
Marsh declined to give specific wages paid to Donahoe and Jordan, but said they were "the going rate" for pornography models and "consistent with what we pay all our models. If they appeared as NCAA wrestlers, they'd be in violation of the bylaw. If they appeared as amateur models, they would likely retain eligibility.
Donahoe's and Jordan's characters Nash and Cal are among 15 models featured on the home of Fratmen. Links to their profile s have been disabled and all media has been removed from the Web site. Marsh said the use of their photos is a technical violation but not a violation of the spirit of the bylaw, which is intended to prevent college athletes from profiting off endorsement deals.
Marsh said White suggested this was the solution Nebraska would seek. Both wrestlers are intent on wrestling this season, Marsh said. Donahoe had been hoping his situation could be rectified with Nebraska, so he could re the team rather than deal with the problems of transferring programs as a senior.
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But after his recent discussions with White and Bargen, including a phone conversation with Bargen on Tuesday afternoon, Marsh concluded that the scenario was unlikely. Donahoe and Jordan both returned to their respective homes in Michigan and Illinois, weighing opportunities at other schools and waiting to see how the NCAA investigation turned out, Marsh said. On Tuesday, Bargen called Jordan and asked him to return to Nebraska and " some papers", Marsh said, adding that Jordan was working to get his transcripts released to send them other schools. Jordan, who has two years of eligibility remaining, placed fourth at the Big 12 championships at pounds.
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Jordan and Donahoe didn't answer phone calls from the Daily Nebraskan. Donahoe declined to respond to a message sent through Facebook. Donahoe, the national champion at pounds, had chosen a school to transfer to Wednesday, while Jordan had received interest from "three or four" schools, Marsh said. Both athletes will have to wait for a NCAA ruling to determine what their eligibility might be.
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