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Plaintiffs fail to prove NCAA violated Sherman Act

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a District Court in dismissing a lawsuit two former college athletes brought against the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

The men, Joseph Agnew and Patrick Courtney, both received one-year scholarships to play football at NCAA schools, with the caveat that the scholarships must be renewed annually. When injuries they sustained prevented them from playing, their schools chose to not renew their scholarships.

In Joseph Agnew v. NCAA, No. 11-3066, the men claimed that the NCAA policies capping the number of scholarships per school and prohibiting multi-year scholarships had an anticompetitive effect on the market for student athletes and therefore violate the Sherman Act. The NCAA filed a motion to dismiss, and finding the plaintiffs did not sufficiently identify a commercial market, the District Court dismissed the suit.

The NCAA argued that the plaintiffs did not identify any market, including a bachelor’s degree or labor market, in which its bylaws restrained trade. And the 7th Circuit panel found that the difference between a market for educational services and a market for a bachelor’s degree was of vital importance in the case, holding that a student is owed educational instruction upon payment of tuition, but whether that instruction leads to a degree is up to the student.

The 7th Circuit held that it is undeniable that a market of some sort exists in the relationship of student athletes and the university issuing scholarships based on athletic performance. But the plaintiffs presented no discussion about a relevant market for student athlete labor, even after having an opportunity to amend their complaint. The appellate panel affirmed the District Court’s finding that without identifying a cognizable market, the men failed to prove the NCAA’s policies violate the Sherman Act.

 

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  • Wrong
    "7th Circuit holds NCAA did not violate Sherman Act." That is absolutely NOT what the court held. All it concluded was that the plaintiffs' complaint failed to state a claim.

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  1. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  2. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  3. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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