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The Electric Seventh Circuit and Its Impact on NCAA Compliance Issues

 |  March 28, 2019

Posted by Social Science Research Network

The Electric Seventh Circuit and Its Impact on NCAA Compliance Issues

By Adam Epstein (Central Michigan University)

Since 2016, there have been several significant decisions emanating from the Seventh Circuit involving the NCAA as a named party. Naturally, given that the NCAA’s headquarters are in Indianapolis, Indiana, the fact that litigation appears in the Seventh Circuit should be no surprise since it consists of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. Three cases are explored Deppe v. NCAA, No. 17-1711, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 17244 (7th Cir. June 25, 2018), NCAA v. Kizzang LLC, No. 1:17-cv-00712-JMS-MPB, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83180 (S.D. Ind. May 17, 2018), and Berger v. NCAA, 843 F.3d 285 (7th Cir. 2016). These three decisions were not the only decisions since 2016 in which the NCAA was a named party in a decision in the Seventh Circuit. Another includes the District Court decision in Pugh v. NCAA (2016) in which Devin Pugh unsuccessfully challenged the “year-in-residence” requirement after losing his one-year football scholarship at Weber State University, transferring to an FCS school and then challenging the NCAA bylaws under the Sherman Act by “prohibiting multi-year Division I football scholarships and capping the number of athletic scholarships that could be awarded by Division I member institutions.” As the Deppe case noted-a year later as it was at the District Court level-Pugh’s case was “virtually identical” to Deppe’s and that there were “no legal issues that distinguish” the two cases. Accordingly, Deppe – just like Pugh – had his claimed blocked. For now, the NCAA and its eligibility rules appear to be on solid ground from legal challenges under violations of antitrust law. There is no doubt that the Seventh Circuit will continue to address major NCAA-related decisions in the future.