Federal judge rules in favor of Zion, deems college marketing deal void
Rocky Widner / National Basketball Association / Getty

A federal judge in North Carolina granted New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson partial judgment on Wednesday in his lawsuit against Gina Ford and Prime Sports Marketing, according to ESPN's Mark Schlabach.

The judge ruled that the deal Williamson signed with the agency in April 2019 after his season at Duke is void because it fails to meet the requirements of North Carolina's Uniform Athlete Agent Act (UAAA).

The UAAA aims to protect student-athletes in the state from signing contracts with disreputable representation. It requires agents to be registered in North Carolina and for all contracts with amateur players to contain - among other things - a warning that their college eligibility will be revoked after signing.

The judge determined that Ford wasn't registered in North Carolina at the time of the agreement and the contract didn't contain the required cautionary language.

Ford said Williamson wasn't protected under the UAAA because his family accepted improper benefits while he was at Duke. However, the judge denied a motion from Ford to supply evidence for that argument.

"Although Defendants assert that their pleadings make clear that they contest Plaintiff's status as a student-athlete at the time that the Agreement was entered, this assertion is in direct conflict with their admission that Plaintiff was actively engaging in an intercollegiate sport - namely, men's basketball - which is one of the ways the UAAA provides that an individual can be deemed a student-athlete," the judge wrote. "The Court is not required to assume the truth of legal allegations or conclusions because they are packaged in the form of factual allegations."

Williamson sued Ford and Prime Sports Marketing in June 2019 to break their contract. Ford responded with a lawsuit of her own against Williamson and Creative Artists Agency (CAA), which the player hired to represent him ahead of the NBA draft that year. Ford, who's seeking $100 million in damages in her suit, said CAA interfered with Prime Sports' agreement with Williamson.

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Federal judge rules in favor of Zion, deems college marketing deal void
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