Antitrust Law

NCAA transfer rules don’t violate Sherman Act, says 7th Circuit panel

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A year-in-residency rule from the National Collegiate Athletic Association—which requires student athletes who transfer to Division I schools to wait a full academic year before they can play on teams—was upheld Monday by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Chicago.

The opinion focuses on the idea that college athletes in theory are amateurs and cites the 1984 U.S. Supreme Court opinion NCAA v. Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma, as well as Agnew v. NCAA, a 7th Circuit opinion from 2012, Forbes reports.

Attorneys for Peter Deppe, a football player who wanted to transfer from Northern Illinois University to the University of Iowa, argued that the NCAA rules amount to Sherman Act violations because student athletes would receive better scholarships if they could transfer more freely. The lawsuit also challenged a NCAA rule capping how many athletic scholarships universities can award yearly.

The 7th Circuit opinion upholds a lower court ruling that dismissed the lawsuit.

“Uninhibited transfers with immediate eligibility to play would risk severing the athletic and academic aspects of college sports, threatening the character of intercollegiate athletics. The year-in-residence rule guards against that risk … ” Judge Diane Schwerm Sykes wrote for the panel.

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