Peter Deppe, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellant,
National Collegiate Athletic Association, Defendant-Appellee.
September 13, 2017
from the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. No.
1:16-cv-00528-TWP-DKL - Tanya Walton Pratt, Judge.
Bauer, Rovner, and Sykes, Circuit Judges.
case raises an antitrust challenge to the NCAA's
"year in residence" rule, which requires
student-athletes who transfer to a Division I college to wait
one full academic year before they can play for their new
school. A Division I football player filed a class-action
lawsuit alleging that the rule is an unlawful restraint of
trade in violation of § 1 of the Sherman Act. The
district court dismissed the suit on the pleadings.
affirm. The year-in-residence requirement is an eligibility
rule clearly meant to preserve the amateur character of
college athletics and is therefore presumptively
procompetitive under NCAA v. Board of Regents of
University of Oklahoma, 468 U.S. 85 (1984), and
Agnew v. NCAA, 683 F.3d 328 (7th Cir. 2012).
case comes to us from a dismissal on the pleadings,
see Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), so we take the
following factual account from the complaint, accepting the
allegations as true. Peter Deppe was a star punter in high
school, and several schools recruited him to play college
football. He chose Northern Illinois University
("NIU"), a Division I school, and enrolled in June
2014 as a preferred walk-on. In other words, NIU invited him
to join the football team but did not offer him an athletic
scholarship. Deppe decided to "red shirt" his first
year; this meant that he practiced with the team during the
2014 season but did not compete, and the clock did not run on
his four years of NCAA athletic eligibility.
after Deppe enrolled, an NIU football coach told him that he
would start receiving an athletic scholarship in January
2015. That coach soon left NIU, however, and the head
football coach later informed Deppe that he would not receive
the scholarship after all. Sometime in 2015 NIU signed
another punter, reducing Deppe's chances of getting
playing time or receiving an athletic scholarship, so in the
fall of 2015 he started shopping around for a new football
University of Iowa, another Division I school, was
interested. Coaches at Iowa told Deppe they wanted him to
join the team if he would be eligible to compete during the
2016-2017 season. Deppe's parents asked the NCAA about
their son's eligibility to play. The NCAA responded that
under its year-in-residence rule, Deppe would be ineligible
to compete for one year following his transfer.
year-in-residence bylaw appears in the eligibility section of
the NCAA Division I Manual. It provides:
184.108.40.206 General Rule. A transfer student
from a four-year institution shall not be eligible for
intercollegiate competition at a member institution until the
student has fulfilled a residence requirement of one full
academic year (two full semesters or three full quarters) at
the certifying institution.
NCAA Division I Manual, 183,
NCAA permits a one-time transfer with immediate athletic
eligibility in certain limited circumstances. The so-called
one-time transfer exception is available to a Division I
football player only if he transfers from a school in the
Football Bowl Subdivision to a school in the Football
Championship Subdivision with two or more seasons of athletic
eligibility remaining, or if he transfers from a Football
Championship school that offers athletic scholarships to a
Football Championship school that does not. Id.,