Devin Pugh

Antitrust lawsuit against NCAA targets transfer rules, scholarship limits

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The transfer policies enforced by the NCAA have always been open for criticism. Now they are one fo the subjects of a new antitrust lawsuit filed against the NCAA this week. A lawsuit filed against the NCAA claims the governing body’s ability to restrict transferring options is patently unlawful.

The lawsuit has been filed by a law firm representing a former Weber State cornerback, Devin Pugh. Pugh claims he was promised a four-year scholarship at Weber State, but the scholarship was pulled following the retirement of head coach Ron McBride in 2011. The legal team representing Pugh claim he was unable to secure a transfer waiver and as a result could no longer stay in school.

The lawsuit also targets the scholarship cap limit placed on programs, which is quite an interesting development. The cap on scholarships is in part a result of Title IX rules regulating the number of scholarships that can be offered to male and female student-athletes, which is why teams with 120 scholarship players is not allowed. FBS programs are capped at 85 scholarships, while FCS programs may allow 63 scholarships per football program. Division 2 schools can award 36 scholarships, while no scholarships are distributed in Division 3.

This lawsuit may not make much ground changing the number of scholarships a football program can award, because Title IX would likely squash that, but the ability a player has to transfer from one program to another without losing a year of eligibility could be another story.