United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY ON PARTIAL MOTION TO DISMISS
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE United States
matter is before the Court on the Defendant, National College
Athletic Association's (“NCAA”) Partial
Motion to Dismiss. (Filing No. 34.) On November 5,
2015, the Plaintiff, Devin Pugh (“Pugh”), filed a
class action complaint alleging anti-trust violations against
the NCAA. Count II of the Complaint alleges that Division I
Bylaw 126.96.36.199 (the “year-in-residence bylaw”)
violates the Sherman Act by requiring Division I
student-athletes to forego a year of athletic eligibility
when transferring to another Division I school. On January
15, 2016 the NCAA filed a motion to dismiss Count II of the
Complaint. For the following reasons, the Court grants the
NCAA's partial motion to dismiss.
2010, Pugh accepted a Division I grant-in-aid to play
football at Weber State University, a Division I
school. (Filing No. 1 at 25.) A full grant-in-aid is
the amount of scholarship that sometimes is referred to as a
full ride. It includes the cost of tuition, fees,
room, board and required textbooks for student athletes. The
period of an award cannot exceed one year. Weber State's
head coach, Ron McBride, pledged to Pugh that his
grant-in-aid would be renewed annually so long as he did well
academically and remained eligible for NCAA competition.
(Id.) In December 2011, after Coach McBride retired,
Weber State named a new head football coach, Jody Sears.
(Id. at 26.) Around the same time, Coach Sears
informed Pugh that Weber State would not be renewing his
grant-in-aid and that he should look into transferring to
sending highlight tapes to numerous schools, Pugh was offered
full grants-in-aid at several FBS and FCS schools.
Id. at 27-28. However, all of the grants-in-aid were
contingent upon his ability to play two more years of NCAA
football. Id. Because the NCAA's
“year-in-residence” bylaw required that Pugh sit
out of competition for a full season, he only had one year of
competition left. Id. at 28. As a result, Pugh
applied for a “hardship waiver, ” which would
have allowed him to play immediately and for the two years
remaining on his five-year clock. Id. The NCAA,
however, denied the request for a hardship waiver and, as a
result, every grant-in-aid offer was rescinded. Id.
2013, Pugh transferred to Colorado State University-Pueblo.
Id. Because Pugh transferred from a Division I
school to a Division II school, he was eligible for a
one-time transfer exception and did not have to sit out for a
year, giving him two seasons left to play NCAA football.
Id. However, Pugh's new grant-in-aid award was
less than at Weber State, covering only tuition, but not
books, housing, or any other costs. Id. at 29. As a
result, Pugh's school loans increased from approximately
$3, 000.00 per year to $6, 000.00 per year. Id.
Following a football injury and job offer, Pugh left school
with nine credits left to graduate, which he intends to
finish. Id. at 29.
Count II of this cause of action, Pugh argues that the
NCAA's transfer bylaws violate the Sherman Act as an
unreasonable restraint on trade. Id. at 36-37. He
focuses his challenge on the “year in residence”
requirement, which is listed in Article 14 of the NCAA
Division I Manual, entitled “Academic
Eligibility”. (Filing No. 34-2 at 7, 34;
Filing No. 35 at 7: Filing No. 43 at 7.)
bylaw reads, in relevant part, as follows:
188.8.131.52. General Rule. A transfer student from a four-year
institution shall not be eligible for
intercollegiate competition at a member institution until the
student has fulfilled a residence requirement of one full
academic year (two full semesters or three full quarters) at
the certifying institution.
(Filing No. 34-2 at 34) (emphasis added).
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) authorizes dismissal if the
complaint fails to sets forth a claim upon which relief can
be granted. “The purpose of a motion to dismiss is to
test the sufficiency of the complaint, not to decide the
merits.” Gibson v. City of Chi., 910 F.2d
1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990). Accordingly, when analyzing a
Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a court construes the
complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff,
accepts all factual allegations as true, and draws all
reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Tamayo
v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 2008).
minimum, the complaint must give the defendant fair notice of
what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests; and
the factual allegations must raise a right to relief above
the speculative level. See Bissessur v. Ind. Univ. Bd. of
Trs., 581 F.3d 599, 602-03 (7th Cir. 2009);
Tamayo, 526 F.3d at 1081, 1083. While a complaint
need not include detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff
has the obligation to provide the factual grounds supporting
his entitlement to relief; and neither bare legal conclusions
nor a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action will suffice in meeting this obligation. Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); see also
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“the
pleading standard Rule 8 . . . demands more than an
accusation” and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice”).
this does not require heightened fact pleading of specifics,
it does require the complaint to contain enough facts to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.
Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S. at 570; Tamayo,
526 F.3d at 1083 (“[a] plaintiff still must provide
only enough detail to give the defendant fair notice of what
the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests, and,