Circuit Tosses Kentucky Ex-Coach’s Antitrust Case

     CINCINNATI (CN) – A college football coach who was asked to resign cannot sue the University of Kentucky and the National Collegiate Athletic Association for violating antitrust laws, the 6th Circuit ruled.

     Claude L. Bassett was an assistant coach at the University of Kentucky from 1997 to 2000. He resigned amid allegations that he violated NCAA rules.
     The Wildcats were hit with sanctions in 2001 after the NCAA alleged that Bassett had offered improper inducements to high school students and coaches. Bassett was also accused of arranging for athletes’ schoolwork to be done for them.
     Bassett claims the NCAA allows member schools to deflect blame onto coaches, affecting the labor market for their services.
     Judge Boyko disagreed.
     “We find Bassett’s complaint lacks the critical commercial activity component required to permit application of the Sherman Act,” Boyko wrote.
     The circuit also upheld the district court’s summary judgment for the NCAA and the Kentucky Athletic Association on Bassett’s allegations of fraud.
     Bassett says he relied on athletic director Larry Ivy’s promise that if Bassett resigned, no further actions would be taken against him. The coach’s contract stated that he would be terminated for NCAA rules violations.
     Also, Boyko ruled that “because of Bassett’s knowledge that (the university) was required to self-report, he could not reasonably rely on Ivy’s promise.”

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