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Sain v. Cedar Rapids Community School District

626 N.W.2d 115 (2001)

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Sain v. Cedar Rapids Community School District

Iowa Supreme Court

626 N.W.2d 115 (2001)

Facts

Bruce Sain (plaintiff) was a high school student who excelled at basketball. After high school, Sain intended to play basketball on scholarship at a Division I university in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Larry Bowen (defendant) was Sain’s guidance counselor at Jefferson High School in the Cedar Rapids Community School District (the district) (defendant). Among other things, the NCAA required incoming student-athletes to have completed three years of approved English courses in high school. To obtain approval, high schools submitted courses to the NCAA, and the NCAA issued a list of approved courses, known as Form 48-H. While a senior, Cain did not like his English class. Cain met with Bowen for advice on taking a different class. Bowen suggested Technical Communications, stating the NCAA would approve it. Cain enrolled in Technical Communications. The district did not include Technical Communications on the list of courses it submitted to the NCAA for approval, and Technical Communications was therefore not on Form 48-H. Cain accepted a full basketball scholarship at Northern Illinois University. Shortly after graduation, Cain received a letter from the NCAA informing him that he had not fulfilled his English course requirements because Technical Communications was not an NCAA-approved class, making Cain ineligible to play Division I basketball. Sain therefore lost his basketball scholarship and could not attend Northern Illinois University. Sain filed suit against Bowen and the district, asserting claims for negligence and negligent misrepresentation. The trial court granted the district’s motion for summary judgment, holding that a negligent-misrepresentation claim could only be asserted in a commercial context and not an educational one. Sain appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Cady, J.)

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