7th Circuit to hear arguments in NCAA price-fixing lawsuit

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals hears arguments Monday in a case brought by two former NCAA athletes whose scholarships were revoked after injuries. The litigants claim that they were wrongly denied multi-year scholarships that would have covered the cost of their bachelor’s degrees.

In the case of Joseph Agnew, et al. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, No. 11-3066, a federal appellate panel will hear arguments in the case from the Southern District of Indiana following a removal from the Northern District of California. U.S. Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson ruled Sept. 1 in favor of the Indianapolis-headquartered NCAA, dismissing the challenges to two bylaws that dealt with a one-year scholarship limit for student-athletes and a cap on athletic-based discounts that a school can offer per sport each year.

The judge found she was bound by Banks v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, 977 F.2d 1081, 1087-88 (7th Cir. 1992), which examined that lawsuit under the “Rule of Reason” analysis. She declined to apply the “quick look” version of the rule as the plaintiffs argued, and found that the plaintiffs failed to plead a relevant product market. Magnus-Stinson wrote, “… the ‘market’ for bachelor’s degrees is implausible as a matter of law because people cannot simply purchase bachelor’s degrees at Division I colleges and universities.”

 After that ruling dismissed the suit with prejudice, plaintiffs Joseph Agnew and Patrick Courtney filed an appeal.

In appellate briefs filed with court, the plaintiff-appellants argue that the NCAA is trying to reach beyond the District court’s holding by contending not only the financial aid rules are valid, but all the NCAA rules involving student-athletes are presumptively pro-competitive.

“In essence, the NCAA claims an exemption from the antitrust laws for all but a small portion of its rules dealing with television broadcast or coaches’ salaries,” the brief states. “This is a dangerous perversion of the Supreme Court’s rulings….is unsupported by any precedent, and would result in giving the NCAA carte blanche to violate the antitrust laws regardless of the anticompetitive motivation or effect of its rules. The NCAA’s arguments on this appeal should be rejected.”

The NCAA didn’t file a brief prior to the arguments, which are scheduled for 9 a.m. Central Time. Each side has 15 minutes to make their arguments, and there is no timeline on when the appellate panel must make a decision.



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  1. Great observation Smith. By my lights, speaking personally, they already have. They counted my religious perspective in a pro-life context as a symptom of mental illness and then violated all semblance of due process to banish me for life from the Indiana bar. The headline reveals the truth of the Hoosier elite's animus. Details here: Denied 2016 petition for cert (this time around): (“2016Pet”) Amicus brief 2016: (“2016Amici”) As many may recall, I was banned for five years for failing to "repent" of my religious views on life and the law when a bar examiner demanded it of me, resulting in a time out to reconsider my "clinging." The time out did not work, so now I am banned for life. Here is the five year time out order: Denied 2010 petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): (“2010Pet”) Read this quickly if you are going to read it, the elites will likely demand it be pulled down or pile comments on to bury it. (As they have buried me.)

  2. if the proabortion zealots and intolerant secularist anti-religious bigots keep on shutting down every hint of religious observance in american society, or attacking every ounce of respect that the state may have left for it, they may just break off their teeth.

  3. "drug dealers and traffickers need to be locked up". "we cannot afford just to continue to build prisons". "drug abuse is strangling many families and communities". "establishing more treatment and prevention programs will also be priorities". Seems to be what politicians have been saying for at least three decades now. If these are the most original thoughts these two have on the issues of drug trafficking and drug abuse, then we're no closer to solving the problem than we were back in the 90s when crack cocaine was the epidemic. We really need to begin demanding more original thought from those we elect to office. We also need to begin to accept that each of us is part of the solution to a problem that government cannot solve.

  4. What is with the bias exclusion of the only candidate that made sense, Rex Bell? The Democrat and Republican Party have created this problem, why on earth would anyone believe they are able to fix it without pushing government into matters it doesn't belong?

  5. This is what happens when daddy hands over a business to his moron son and thinks that everything will be ok. this bankruptcy is nothing more than Gary pulling the strings to never pay the creditors that he and his son have ripped off. they are scum and they know it.