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Judge dismisses challenge to NCAA bylaws

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Two former NCAA athletes whose scholarships were revoked following injuries have lost their suit that argued without certain NCAA Division I bylaws, they would have received multi-year athletic scholarships that would have covered the cost of their bachelor’s degrees.

Joseph Agnew and Patrick Courtney originally filed their suit, Joseph Agnew, et al. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, No. 1:11-CV-293, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, but the suit was moved to the Southern District of Indiana at the request of the NCAA, which is headquartered in Indianapolis. After the suit was removed, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint challenging two bylaws – the one-year scholarship limit, which prohibits NCAA member institutions from offering multi-year athletic-based discounts to student-athletes; and the cap on the number of athletic-based discounts a school can offer per sport each year.

The plaintiffs claim without these two bylaws, they would have been able to get multi-year athletic scholarships that would have covered the cost of their degrees.

The NCAA’s motion to dismiss argued that the two didn’t allege a relevant product market, geographic market, or anti-competitive effect on a relevant market to survive the motion to dismiss. The organization also claimed the plaintiffs lacked antitrust standing to challenge the bylaws.

Judge Jane Mangus-Stinson, bound by Banks v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, 977 F.2d 1081, 1087-88 (7th Cir. 1992), examined the suit 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 for the bachelor’s degrees as a matter of law.

“The Court agrees with the NCAA that 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,” wrote Judge Magnus-Stinson, noting that student-athletes must still fulfill certain academic requirements to get the degree.

She dismissed the suit with prejudice Sept. 1, finding that the plaintiffs have already had two opportunities to plead their claims against the NCAA and did not cure deficiencies in their pleadings. They also didn’t give any indication that they could fully amend their complaint to cure the defects Judge Magnus-Stinson found in the amended complaint, if they were given that opportunity.

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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