Asks for Injunction Pending Court Decision
West Virginia Press Association
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, working with a coalition of seven states led by Ohio, has filed a lawsuit against the NCAA that challenges the association’s Transfer Eligibility Rule.
The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia Clarksburg Division, comes on the heels of the NCAA’s decision to deny RaeQuan Battle a transfer waiver so he can play basketball for West Virginia University.
“The NCAA’s transfer policy, for far too long, has been flawed. The Association has failed to maintain a consistent and defensible transfer rule,” Attorney General Morrisey said, writing in the lawsuit that “the connection between the Rule and academic well-being or athletic amateurism is tenuous at best and is outweighed by the harm it does to college athletes and consumers of college athletics.”
The coalition contends the NCAA’s transfer rule “artificially deters players and teams from achieving optimal matches by forcing college athletes to weigh the one-year ineligibility period against the benefits of moving to a better matched school. It is ironic that this rule, stylized as promoting the welfare of college athletes, strips them of the agency and opportunity to optimize their own welfare as they see fit.”
The lawsuit alleges the NCAA violated Section 1 of the Sherman Act.
In a separate filing, the Attorney General asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order and bar the NCAA from enforcing the transfer rule. The motion explains: “Division I college athletes subject to the Transfer Eligibility Rule will suffer irreparable harm by continuing to be barred from competing this season in their respective collegiate sports and by facing transfer decisions burdened by the risks of ineligibility that the Rule imposes on second-time transferring college athletes.”
“Real issues are at stake here for the citizens of West Virginia, and they implicate my duties as the state’s chief antitrust officer,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “The NCAA also failed to recognize the underlying issues involving RaeQuan and many other student athletes in similar situations—there’s no reason for the NCAA to deny this young man the ability to play the sport he loves and that helps him with his mental health.”
“RaeQuan’s background, what he had to go through to achieve his dream, shows the determination he has.”
Earlier this year, the Attorney General explained that the NCAA’s decision to restrain transfers by hundreds of student-athletes each year—thus depriving them of the chance to pursue the athletic and educational opportunities of their choice—raised serious questions under the antitrust laws, adding that those missed opportunities are often tied to name, image and likeness agreements that in turn provide substantial commercial benefits to athletes at Division I institutions like WVU.
Attorney General Morrisey joined the Ohio-led lawsuit with Colorado, Illinois, New York, North Carolina and Tennessee.
Read a copy of the filing: https://bit.ly/3t4kRdb.
To view Morrisey’s statement: https://bit.ly/3NhB6KE