United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
DEVIN PUGH on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
THE NATIONAL COLLEGIATE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION, Defendant.
ENTRY ON MOTION FOR FINAL JUDGMENT OR CERTIFICATION
OF INTERLOCUTORY APPEAL
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Devin Pugh's
(“Pugh”) Motion for Final Judgment pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) and Certification of
Interlocutory Appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b).
(Filing No. 49.) On November 5, 2015, Pugh filed a
two-count class action complaint alleging that Defendant
National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”)
violated the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1. In particular,
Count I is applicable to Pugh's claims regarding the
NCAA's prohibition of multi-year scholarships and the
NCAA's cap on athletic scholarships, and Count II is
applicable to Pugh's claims regarding the NCAA's
transfer rules. On September 27, 2016, the Court granted
NCAA's Motion to Dismiss Count II of the Complaint.
(Filing No. 48.) Pugh now seeks final judgment or,
in the alternative, certification of interlocutory appeal on
Count II in order to permit immediate appeal to the Seventh
Circuit. (Filing No. 49.) For the reasons
set forth below, the Motion for Final Judgment and
Certification of Interlocutory Appeal is
2010, Pugh accepted a Division I grant-in-aid to play
football at Weber State University (“Weber”), a
Division I FCS 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 and
FCS schools may not award more than sixty-three full
grants-in-aid. Id. at 8. 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.
Coach Sears informed Pugh that Weber State would not renew
his grant-in-aid and that he should consider transferring to
sending highlight tapes to numerous schools, Pugh was offered
full grants-in-aid at several Division I 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 NCAA's “year-in-
residence” bylaw required Pugh to sit out of
competition for a full season, he only had one year of
competition left. Id. at 28. Pugh applied for a
“hardship waiver, ” which would have allowed him
to play immediately, however, NCAA denied the request. As a
result, every grant-in-aid offer was rescinded. Id.
2013, Pugh transferred to Colorado State University-Pueblo, a
Division II school. 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 and covered
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 remaining to
graduate, which he intends to finish. Id. at 29.
November 5, 2015, Pugh filed a class action Complaint
alleging anti-trust violations against NCAA. (Filing No.
1.) Count I of his Complaint asserts that NCAA bylaws
violated 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. Count II of the Complaint alleges that Division
I Bylaw 22.214.171.124 (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, amounting to
an unreasonable restraint on trade. The pertinent section of
the bylaw states:
126.96.36.199. 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).
January 15, 2016, NCAA filed a partial motion to dismiss,
seeking only to dismiss Count II of the Complaint. On
September 27, 2016, the Court granted NCAA's partial
motion to dismiss, concluding that NCAA's eligibility
bylaws are “presumptively procompetitive” and,
therefore, do not violate the Sherman Act. (Filing No.
48.) Pugh now seeks final judgment or, in the
alternative, certification of interlocutory appeal on Count
II in order to permit immediate appeal to the Seventh
Circuit. (Filing No. 49.)
28 U.S.C. § 1291, federal appellate courts “have
jurisdiction over all final decisions of the district courts
of the United States, and orders resolving fewer than all the
claims in a case are not ‘final' for purposes of an
appeal.” General Ins. Co. v. Clark Mall Corp.,
644 F.3d 375, 379 (7th Cir. 2011) (internal quotations
omitted). However, Fed. Rule Civ. P. 54(b) provides the
When an action presents more than one claim for relief -
whether as a claim, counterclaim, crossclaim, or third-party
claim - or when multiple parties are involved, the court may
direct entry of final judgment as to one or more, but fewer
than all, claims or parties only if the court expressly
determines that there is no just reason for delay. Otherwise,
any order or other decision, however designated, that
adjudicates fewer than all the claims or the rights and
liabilities of fewer than all the parties does not end the
action as to any of the claims or parties and may be revised
at any time before the entry of a judgment adjudicating all
the claims and all the parties' rights and liabilities.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b). A Rule 54(b) order requires the
district court to make two determinations: (1) that the order
in question was truly a “final judgment”, and (2)
that there is no just reason to delay the appeal of the claim
that was ...