AGs Fight for Fair Play in College Sports

  • A bipartisan group of seven AGs filed a lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) alleging that the organization’s Transfer Eligibility Rule violates federal antitrust law by unjustifiably restraining the ability of Division I college athletes to engage in the market for their labor. The rule requires college athletes who transfer among Division I schools more than once to wait one year before competing in games, unless granted a waiver.
  • The AGs allege that the rule harms athletes by deterring transfers to different institutions that may provide better opportunities and artificially disadvantaging second-time transfers, who will not know if they will be granted a discretionary waiver until after a transfer is complete. The AGs also argue the rule negatively affects consumers of college athletics, in part because it makes teams less competitive by rendering certain athletes ineligible and prevents parity among teams that would create a higher quality experience.
  • On December 13, the federal court issued a 14-day temporary restraining order against enforcement of the rule, and it also prohibited the NCAA from enforcing its Restitution Rule which would allow it to vacate wins and records for athletes who play during the pendency of this action. The AGs ultimately are seeking a permanent injunction prohibiting the NCAA from enforcing the Transfer Eligibility Rule.
  • In a separate effort to support college athletes, Florida AG Ashley Moody announced an investigation into whether any state or federal antitrust violations occurred in connection with the College Football Playoff Selection Committee’s decision to deny the Florida State University football team a spot in the College Football Playoff despite being undefeated this season. AG Moody’s Civil Investigative Demand to the Committee seeks information and documents related to the deliberations regarding the selection of playoff participants, compensation of Committee members, and the committee’s standards relating to ethics and conflicts of interest, among other things.