ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -A nonprofit group that hands out the Butkus Award to the nation's top college linebacker will stop presenting it after a yearlong legal battle with the Hall of Famer.
Dick Butkus sued in Los Angeles federal court in 2007, demanding the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando relinquish control of the Butkus Award, which it had given out for 23 years and trademarked in 1987. He said the club didn't raise enough money for charity and in April won a summary judgment.
In exchange for returning the trademark to Butkus, the club will be able to use his name in conjunction with other fundraisers. The settlement was reached this week.
``Dick is thrilled,'' Butkus lawyer Robert Helfing said.
Butkus' family will begin presenting the award in January 2009 in Chicago, where he grew up and played eight Pro Bowl seasons for the Bears.
``The point of this whole lawsuit was to use this award to raise charitable funds, and he feels he will be able to do that better in Chicago than down in Florida,'' Helfing said.
Club officials said the cost to defend the lawsuit was no longer justifiable and the money could be better used to serve youth.
``We're glad it's over, but we're sad,'' club president Chip Landon said in a statement. ``You hate to give up when you know you're in the right. But there comes a point when we really had to think about the kids who won the award the past 23 years. They're proud of that. We didn't want to see that go away.''
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