New Cases and Developments

NACUA's Legal Resources staff summarizes current higher education cases and developments and provides the full text of selected cases to members. New cases and developments are archived here for up to 12 months.  Cases provided by Fastcase, Inc.

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Athletics Compliance (NCAA & more); Student Athlete Issues; Athletics & Sports

In re Nat’l Collegiate Athletic Ass’n Athletic Grant-In-Aid Cap Antitrust Litig. (N.D. Cal. March 28, 2018)

Order granting-in-part and denying-in-part cross-motions for summary judgment. Plaintiffs, consisting of current and former student-athletes, allege that Defendants, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and eleven participating conferences, conspired under the Sherman Act to suppress competition by agreeing to and enforcing NCAA bylaws that capped the amount of financial aid (grant-in-aid) awarded to students-athletes to the cost of attendance, with a few exceptions for additional benefits. To pursue a successful claim under Section 1 of the Sherman Act, Plaintiffs must show that there was a contract, that the agreement unreasonably restrained trade, and that the restraint (here, limitations on grant-in-aid for student-athletes) affected interstate commerce. Defendants must then provide evidence of the restraints’ procompetitive effects, and Plaintiffs must show that any legitimate objectives can be achieved in a substantially less restrictive manner. Determining that neither res judicata nor collateral estoppel barred the action despite the court’s ruling O’Bannon, the court turned to the merits. Preliminarily, the  court found that Plaintiffs met their initial burden of showing that Defendants’ restraint on grant-in-aid compensation produced significant anticompetitive effects and affected interstate commerce within the market for student-athletes’ athletic services. The court declined to hold that the two pre-competitive effects identified in by the Defendants in O’Bannon—namely, “integrating academics with athletics” and “preserving the popularity of the NCAA’s product by promoting its current understanding of amateurism” –applied to the case as a matter of law, and also concluded that Defendants failed to meet their burden as to the remaining procompetitive justifications.  Last, the court found that the two possible less restrictive alternatives proffered by Plaintiffs were not foreclosed by O’Bannon, and a genuine issue of material fact remained regarding whether Plaintiffs could meet their evidentiary burden under the last prong of their Sherman Act claim.

Athletics Compliance (NCAA & more); Athletics & Sports

NCAA Sexual Violence Policy Announcement (Aug. 10, 2017)

Announcement issued by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) stating that its Board of Governors has adopted a new policy on sexual violence. The NCAA’s Commission to Combat Sexual Violence, convened a year ago by the Board to address sexual violence on campus, recommended the new policy to the Board. Among other things, the new policy requires coaches, administrators, and athletes to undergo sexual violence prevention training on an annual basis, and for campus leaders to attest annually that such trainings took place.   

Student Athlete Issues; Athletics Compliance (NCAA & more)

McCants v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (M.D.N.C. Apr. 26, 2017)

Memorandum Opinion and Order remanding the case to state court. Plaintiffs filed a putative class action in state court against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill), contending that the University steered them and other student athletes into courses that lacked rigor to ensure continued academic eligibility under NCAA rules. The NCAA removed the case to federal court pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), and UNC-Chapel Hill moved to dismiss on Eleventh Amendment grounds. The court concluded that the University did not waive sovereign immunity because the NCAA, not UNC-Chapel Hill, unilaterally invoked federal jurisdiction. Because UNC’s defense of Eleventh Amendment immunity barred federal courts from asserting jurisdiction over UNC in the case, the court found that it was required remand the case back to state court.
Athletics Compliance (NCAA & more)

NCAA Changes Basketball Eligibility Rules

Announcement by the National Association of College Athletics (NCAA) adopting a proposal that changes the date by which a student must remove his name from the NBA draft. The proposal enables students to attend multiple NBA draft related events while retaining NCAA eligibility. The flexibility embedded in the rule is designed to assist college basketball players make better informed decisions on pursuing professional basketball.
Athletics Compliance (NCAA & more)

NCAA Committee on Infractions: University of Louisiana at Lafayette Public Infractions Decision

Decision by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Committee on Infractions related to its investigation of NCAA violations by the University of Louisiana Lafayette (ULL). Following the investigation of the ULL's football program, the Committee found that a former assistant football coach violated NCAA rules. According to the Committee, the assistant coach helped recruits obtain fake test scores and committed unethical conduct by providing false and misleading information. The Committee accepted ULL's self-imposed sanctions and added additional penalties, including a $5000 fine, two-year probation, and other recruiting limitations.