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Federal judge keeps alive Rock case vs. NCAA

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A federal judge has left the door open for a former Division I college football quarterback to pursue his claim that the NCAA constitutes an illegal college sports monopoly, allowing him to amend a complaint that had been dismissed.

Former Gardner-Webb University quarterback John Rock sued the National Collegiate Athletic Association in July 2012 and sought a class action challenging the Indianapolis-based governing body’s prohibition of multi-year college athletic scholarships.

Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson of the Southern District of Indiana dismissed the complaint in March, writing that the complaint “reads more like a press release than a legal filing.” Magnus-Stinson granted the NCAA’s motion to dismiss because Rock had failed to identify a relevant market in his antitrust claim.

On Friday, Magnus-Stinson issued an order allowing Rock to amend the complaint by fixing that defect in the original filing.

“(F)or the first time, the proposed complaint challenging the bylaws at issue limits the relevant market to Division I college football and further pleads two subdivisions of that market – the Football Bowl Subdivision (‘FBS’) and the Football Championship Subdivision (‘FCS’),” Magnus-Stinson wrote. “While the Court makes no pronouncement on the sufficiency of the relevant market Mr. Rock now proposes, given the Seventh Circuit’s observation that ‘[i]t is undeniable that a market of some sort is at play in (Agnew v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, 683 F.3d 328, 2012) ... the Court cannot conclude that the proposed amendment is futile.

“Justice requires giving Mr. Rock a final chance to amend his complaint,” Magnus-Stinson wrote. “The NCAA must answer or otherwise respond to Mr. Rock’s amended complaint.”

Rock claims he was assured a four-year scholarship at Gardner-Webb as long as he remained eligible, but that he lost his athletic scholarship after a coaching change at the North Carolina school.

Seattle-based Hagens Berman LLP brought the lawsuit that was represented locally by Price Waicukauski & Riley LLC. Hagens Berman also filed the Agnew antitrust action, which was dismissed by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in September 2011.
 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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