Attorney General Phil Weiser sues NCAA over unfair athlete transfer restrictions
Dec. 7, 2023 (DENVER) – Attorney General Phil Weiser announced today his office is filing a lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association, challenging a rule that imposes a one-year delay in player eligibility to transfer between Division I college athletic programs. The attorneys general named in the multistate suit say the rule violates U.S. antitrust laws.
“The spirit of athletic competition at the heart of college sports is undermined by this rule, which is another in a long line of NCAA policies that courts have overturned for harming the rights of athletes to develop freely and fairly,” Weiser said. “By restricting mobility of athletes, the NCAA is adversely hindering student athletes from finding the best opportunities for themselves. We support having all of our Colorado higher education institutions to be able to recruit and build their best possible teams without the transfer restrictions.”
The NCAA’s transfer eligibility rule at the center of the lawsuit restricts student athletes from transferring between Division I schools by requiring one year of academic residency before transfer students can be eligible for athletic competition. Excepted from the rule are first-time transfer students and students who are granted waivers, primarily for health reasons, through a system the lawsuit says the NCAA administers inconsistently.
The complaint, filed today in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, says the one-year waiting period is the equivalent of athletes forgoing 20% of their eligibility to play college sports. Additionally, the NCAA is harming sidelined students who are unable to reap the benefits of athletic competition. While the NCAA claims the rule is necessary to promote the welfare of student athletes, it strips them of their ability to promote their own lives and careers and imposes an overbroad and unjustified restriction on their freedom and autonomy.
The lawsuit is necessary, say the states, to ensure free competition between colleges and universities for top talent, top-notch on-field products for sports consumers, and for freedom of economic opportunity for athletes and the multibillion-dollar business of Division I college athletics.
Joining Weiser on the lawsuit are the attorneys general from Ohio, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
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