This one’s on the transfer rule.
A federal judge in Indiana on Tuesday dealt a significant blow to a lawsuit that has been seeking to challenge the NCAA’s rules that prevent some Division I football players from transferring to other schools without losing a season of athletics eligibility.
The case is being pursued primarily by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP on behalf of Peter Deppe, a punter who had planned to transfer from Northern Illinois to Iowa in 2015. The suit alleges that Iowa accepted Deppe academically but that Iowa’s athletics department declined to pursue a waiver that would have allowed Deppe to become eligible immediately and the NCAA would not consider a waiver request from Deppe. The suit alleges that Iowa then turned its attention toward another punter who would be eligible immediately without a waiver.
It wasn’t a broad ruling in favor of the NCAA, but it was a win.
However, at issue in Tuesday’s ruling was the NCAA’s bid for dismissal of the part of Deppe’s case pertaining to the so-called “year-in-residence” rule, which generally requires football players who transfer to sit out a year and their new school.
The lawyers for Deppe argued that this constitutes “an unreasonable restraint on trade,” and this violates antitrust laws.
As she did in Pugh’s case, U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt sided with the NCAA. Citing a prior ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and other precedents, Pratt ruled that since the NCAA transfer rule is an eligibility rule connected to education — as opposed to a restraint on trade — it does not violate antitrust law.
Interesting reasoning, since a player going from FBS to FCS doesn’t have to deal with the “year-in-residence” rule. Does that mean every FBS school is a tougher academic environment than any FCS school? Eh, who knows.
In the meantime, enjoy Donald Remy taking a victory lap.
The NCAA’s chief legal officer, Donald Remy, said in a statement: “It is unfortunate that plaintiffs’ lawyers continue to file meritless lawsuits while ignoring multiple court decisions that uphold NCAA transfer rule.”
Except for all those cases those lawyers keep winning, Donald is exactly right.