William C. Odle

(816) 753-5400
(816) 753-9996

An experienced trial and appellate lawyer, Bill Odle’s practice focuses on issues relating to amateur and intercollegiate athletics. He has represented sports clients in numerous high-profile cases in the areas of antitrust, defamation, civil rights, intellectual property and business torts. Bill’s clients include colleges and universities, non-profit associations and school districts, as well as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which he has successfully defended in a wide variety of litigation, including cases involving student-athlete eligibility, amateurism, drug testing, student-athlete health and welfare, civil rights and antitrust claims. In addition to litigation, Bill has served as outside counsel to NCAA Presidential Working Groups and assisted in the development and implementation of amendments to the NCAA Division I enforcement program. He also regularly counsels clients on association law and governance issues, management of emerging risks in the sports industry, and public policy.

Representative Matters:

Cohane v. National Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, __ F. Supp.3d ___, 2014 WL 1279151 (W.D.N.Y. 2014) (granting summary judgment in favor of the NCAA on defamation and civil rights claims by former basketball coach).Spirit Lake Tribe of Indians ex rel. Committee of Understanding and Respect v. NCAA, 715 F.3d 1089, 293 Ed. Law Rep. 689 (8th Cir. 2013) (affirming dismissal of antitrust, breach of contract and infringement claims brought by Indian Tribe challenging policy banning hostile or abusive Native American imagery or nicknames at NCAA championship events).

McAdoo v. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 736 S.E.2d 811, 288 Ed. Law Rep. 930 (N.C. App. 2013) (affirming dismissal of suit by student-athlete seeking reinstatement of athletics eligibility forfeited for academic fraud).

Victory Through Jesus Sports Ministries Foundation v. Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, 640 F.3d 329 (8th Cir. 2011) (upholding school district’s student “backpack flyer” program against religious discrimination claim).

Maloney v. National Collegiate Ass'n, 379 Ill.App.3d 1088, 957 N.E.2d 594 (Ill. App. 4 Dist. 2008) (rejecting challenge to Native American mascot policy).

J.M. v. National Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 594 Pa. 714, 937 A.2d 446 (Pa. App. 2007) (affirming dismissal of student-athlete’s suit challenging results of positive test for performance enhancing drugs).

United States v. Peoples, 250 F.3d 630 (8th Cir. 2001) (landmark case on the inadmissibility of non-expert opinion evidence under the Federal Rules of Evidence).

Dufrene v. Browning Ferris Industries, Inc., 207 F.3d 264 (5th Cir. 2000) (rejecting FLSA class action challenging overtime wages calculated under “day-rate” policy).

Lam v. Curators of the University of Missouri, 122 F.3d 654 (8th Cir. 1997) (overturning jury verdict on Title IX sexual harassment claim by former student where alleged harassment did not occur in connection with an “educational program or activity”).


Panelist, College Athlete Compensation and Unionization and The Impact of Concussion Litigation,
Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association Hot Topics in Sports Law CLE, Apr. 20, 2016

Distinction selection information

Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association - Appointed as 2018 Chair of the Sports and Entertainment Law Committee

American Bar Association
Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, Legal Adviser and Board Member (2003-2004)
Sports Lawyers Association
The Kansas Bar
The Missouri Bar