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Bassett v. NCAA

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

March 13, 2008, Submitted; June 9, 2008, Decided; June 9, 2008, Filed

File Name: 08a0209p.06

No. 06-5795


 [*428]   [***1]  BOYKO, District Judge. Appellant Claude L. Bassett ("Bassett") was an assistant football coach for the University of Kentucky ("UK") from 1997-2000 when he resigned due to allegations of The National Collegiate Athletics Association ("NCAA") rules infractions. Bassett filed suit against NCAA, the Southeastern Conference ("SEC") and the University of Kentucky Athletic Association ("UKAA"), alleging conspiracy to violate antitrust laws, fraud, civil conspiracy and tortious interference with contract. The district court granted NCAA's, the UKAA's and the SEC's motions to dismiss the antitrust  [**2] and civil conspiracy claims and granted NCAA's and the SEC's  [***2]  motions to dismiss Plaintiff's fraud claims. Later, the district court granted summary judgment for NCAA and the UKAA on Plaintiff's remaining claims. Bassett now appeals the district court's granting of  [*429]  NCAA's motion to dismiss the antitrust claim and the district court's granting of summary judgment on the UKAA's fraud and alleged breach of contract claims.

The Appellant's appeal is not well taken. We find the district court correctly determined Appellant's antitrust claim was not commercial in nature and failed to allege an antitrust injury. Furthermore, Appellant failed to demonstrate reasonable reliance and causation on his fraud claim and Appellant failed to plead a breach of contract claim and, even if he did, such contract would be void ab initio as against public policy.

Appellant Claude L. Bassett was an assistant football coach for the University of Kentucky ("UK") from 1997-2000 when he resigned due to allegations of NCAA rules infractions. Bassett coached at Brigham Young University for twelve years prior to joining the UK football program and thereafter, Bassett was hired by the UK head football coach, Hal  [**3] Mumme, as recruiting coordinator and assistant coach. Bassett's employment contract was with the UKAA, which serves as the athletic department for the UK. On November 19, 2000, Larry Ivy, the UK's athletic director, called Bassett and Mumme to a meeting, wherein Ivy confronted Bassett about alleged rules violations. In the course of the meeting, Ivy asked Bassett to resign in light of the allegations of impropriety. In exchange for Bassett's resignation, Ivy assured Bassett no further actions would be taken against him. As a result of the November 19, 2000 meeting Bassett resigned. The following day, the UK disclosed that Bassett, along with several other assistants, had been fired. The UK conducted an internal investigation of its football program to determine if any NCAA rules violations occurred. The investigation proceeded with assistance from the SEC Commissioner and lasted through February 2001. On February 28, 2001, the UK turned over the results of its internal investigation to NCAA. As a result, NCAA issued official inquiry letters to Bassett, regarding alleged infractions, who responded in writing through his counsel. Bassett declined to appear at the hearing before NCAA,  [**4] to address allegations which included, improper recruiting inducements provided to prospective student athletes and high school coaches and academic fraud in aiding enrolled student athletes by preparing their papers or having student assistants type papers for enrolled student athletes. Shortly thereafter, NCAA imposed sanctions against the UK for violations of NCAA rules. In addition to the sanctions against the UK, NCAA issued a show cause order requiring Bassett and any NCAA member institution seeking to hire him in an athletically related position, from January 21, 2002 through January 30, 2010, to appear before NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions to "consider whether the member institution should be subject to the show cause procedures of Bylaw, which could limit the coach's athletically related duties at the new institution for a designated period." On September 17, 2004, Bassett filed his Complaint against the SEC, NCAA and the UKAA.

On appeal, Bassett claims the district court erred in granting Appellee NCAA's motion to dismiss Bassett's antitrust claim on the basis of its finding that NCAA's enforcement of its rules did not affect commerce and Bassett  [**5] had failed to state an antitrust injury. Bassett further contends the district court erred in granting the UKAA's summary judgment motion on Bassett's fraud and breach of contract  [*430]  claims when it found Bassett failed to demonstrate causation and reasonable reliance.

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528 F.3d 426 *; 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 12248 **; 2008 FED App. 0209P (6th Cir.) ***; 2008-1 Trade Cas. (CCH) P76,180


Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky at Lexington. No. 04-00425--Joseph M. Hood, District Judge.

Bassett v. NCAA, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17570 (E.D. Ky., May 3, 2005)Bassett v. NCAA, 428 F. Supp. 2d 675, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20944 (E.D. Ky., 2006)


district court, coaches, allegations, violations, antitrust, contends, Sherman Act, resigned, athletics, football, infractions, conspiracy, antitrust claim, obligations, sanctions, motion to dismiss, anticompetitive, promise, reasonable reliance, summary judgment, student athlete, anti trust law, contract claim, public policy, fraud claim, non-commercial, recruiting, void, commercial activity, breach of contract

Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Failure to State Claim, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Judgments, Summary Judgment, Evidentiary Considerations, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Genuine Disputes, Antitrust & Trade Law, Sherman Act, Claims, Regulated Practices, Private Actions, Sherman Act, Price Fixing & Restraints of Trade, Per Se Rule & Rule of Reason, Prioritizing Resources & Organization for Intellectual Property Act, Torts, Fraud & Misrepresentation, Actual Fraud, Defenses, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Clear & Convincing Proof, Elements, Pleadings, Complaints, Requirements for Complaint