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National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Muhammed Lasege and University of Louisville

Supreme Court of Kentucky
53 S.W.3d 77 (2001)


Facts

Lasege (plaintiff), a citizen of Nigeria, enrolled at the University of Louisville (U.L.) (plaintiff) with the intention of playing on the men’s basketball team. However, Lasege had previously entered into professional basketball contracts in Russia which compromised his amateur status and thus was declared ineligible to play for U.L. by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) (defendant). The University asked the NCAA to reinstate Lasege’s eligibility because he was not aware of NCAA’s regulations prohibiting the receipt of compensation outside of the educational institution. NCAA refused to reinstate Lasege, citing “case precedent” and the extensiveness of Lasege’s compensation related to his Russian contracts. The University appealed the decision to the NCAA’s Division I Subcommittee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement (Subcommittee). The Subcommittee, comprised of representatives of other Division I universities, found that Lasege’s actions exhibited a clear intent to become a professional basketball player and affirmed the decision. Lasege and U.L filed suit in state circuit court seeking a temporary injunction requiring the NCAA to reverse its decision and to immediately reinstate Lasege’s eligibility to play basketball. The trial court granted the injunction and the NCAA appealed to the court of appeals seeking interlocutory relief. After the court granted the injunction, Lasege played basketball for U.L. during the 2000-2001 season. The court of appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial court and the NCAA appealed to the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Keller, J.)

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