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National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Tarkanian

United States Supreme Court
488 U.S. 179 (1988)



The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) (defendant) adopted rules governing the way its member college universities could engage in recruiting of athletes. After a lengthy investigation into the recruiting practices of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) basketball team led by Coach Jerry Tarkanian (plaintiff), the NCAA investigative committee found that UNLV officials had committed 38 rules violations, including 10 by Tarkanian. The university decided to reassign Tarkanian rather than fire him. Thereafter, Tarkanian filed for an injunction, alleging the NCAA violated his due process rights. The trial court granted Tarkanian the injunction which prohibited UNLV from suspending him from coaching on the basis that he had been deprived of procedural and substantive due process. Tarkanian then filed suit against UNLV and the NCAA for violating his due process rights. The trial court held the NCAA’s actions did violate Tarkanian’s due process rights because it was a “state actor.” The NCAA appealed. The Nevada Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the trial court and the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Stevens, J.)

Dissent (White, J.)

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