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Judge tosses suit against NCAA that reads ‘like a press release’

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A federal judge on Friday dismissed several former college athletes’ attempt to bring a class-action lawsuit against Indianapolis-based NCAA, writing in a 25-page order that the complaint “reads more like a press release than a legal filing.” The judge left open the possibility that an antitrust claim may survive.

Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana issued the ruling in John Rock, et al. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, 1:12-cv-1019-JMS-DKL. Rock contended the NCAA’s prohibition of four-year scholarships and limits on scholarships constituted illegal restraints of trade. The suit also alleged the NCAA constituted an illegal college sports monopoly.

Rock was a quarterback at Gardner-Webb University whose scholarship was not renewed after a change in coaches at the North Carolina school. Rock claims in the suit that he was assured a four-year scholarship as long as he remained eligible.

Other student athletes named in the suit are former college basketball and hockey players Tim Steward and Kody Collins. “Mr. Collins is dismissed from this action for failing to allege direct antitrust injury,” Magnus-Stinson wrote. “Although the court concludes that Mr. Rock and Mr. Steward have standing to pursue their claims, the Court grants the NCAA’s motion to dismiss.”

Magnus-Stinson dismissed with prejudice allegations regarding Division III prohibition on athletics-based financial aid but left open an avenue to a possible antitrust case for the same attorneys who filed Agnew v. NCAA, 1:11-CV-0293, which was dismissed by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in September 2011.

“I am pleased that … the District Court for the Southern District of Indiana granted the NCAA motion to dismiss the Rock v. NCAA case involving the NCAA grant in aid rules,” NCAA general counsel Donald Remy said in a statement.

“Hopefully, after having both Agnew and now Rock dismissed, these same attorneys will find a more appropriate cause.”

Seattle-based Hagens Berman LLP brought the suit that was represented locally by Price Waicukauski & Riley LLC. A message seeking comment from Hagens Berman was not immediately returned.

Magnus-Stinson’s order opens with an observation that the NCAA’s bylaws at issue in Rock were the same as those contested in Agnew. “As the poignant refrain from a popular duet cover laments, here we go again,” the judge wrote.

“If counsel wants this claim to proceed, the moment has come to spend the time and undertake the potentially complicated task of the ‘proper identification’ of a relevant market,” she concluded in giving Rock 28 days to amend the antitrust complaint.

“Mr. Rock’s amended complaint should not make conclusory legal allegations or cite cases but, instead, should provide a short and plain statement detailing the necessary factual allegations supporting a plausible claim for relief. Failure to do so will result in the Court denying the motion to amend and closing this case.”

The Rock suit is one of several legal challenges the NCAA faces. In an Indiana Lawyer interview in November, Remy said he was confident that the suit, like Agnew, would be dismissed. “It was the same theory, the same principles, and I think we’ll see the same results,” Remy said.


 

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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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