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Deppe v. NCAA

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
893 F.3d 498 (2018)


Facts

Peter Deppe (plaintiff) was a punter for Northern Illinois University’s football team. Deppe was a walk-on player and thus was competing to earn an athletic scholarship at the school. When Deppe realized that his chances of earning a scholarship were low, he sought to transfer to another school. The University of Iowa expressed interest in Deppe, but only if he would be able to play immediately. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) (defendant), which governed college athletics, required transfer students to wait one year after transferring before they could play for their new school. Several exceptions existed to this rule, but Deppe did not qualify for any of them. Because Deppe would be ineligible to play in the upcoming season, Iowa decided to pursue another punter who was immediately eligible. Deppe brought suit against the NCAA, arguing that its transfer restriction violated the Sherman Act’s prohibition on anticompetitive practices. Deppe claimed that the NCAA’s allowance of exceptions to the rule indicated that the restriction was not required to protect the NCAA’s mission. Deppe also argued that the rule was intended for the NCAA’s economic benefit. The trial court dismissed the case. Deppe appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Sykes, J.)

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