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HS Promoter Challenges NCAA Recruiting Rule

Bleid Sports, a now-defunct promoter of high profile tournaments between high school basketball teams, is suing the NCAA in federal court for antitrust violations involving Bylaw That bylaw prohibits Division I campuses from hosting nonscholastic football and basketball tournaments involving prospects.

Bleid Sports essentially argues that the rug was pulled out from under the company. Events were permitted in 2009 and 2010, but the event in November 2011 had to be cancelled at the last minute. Part of this is due to the protracted legislative history of Proposal 2009-100-A, which created that bylaw.

The proposal was added late in the 2009-10 legislative cycle as part of the Board of Directors initiative to clean up men’s basketball recruiting. The NCAA also only grandfathered in only those contracts signed prior to when the bylaw was proposed, not when it was passed or became effective. But 2009-100-A was not passed until April 28, 2011, 18 months after it was proposed. It then received 35 override requests, triggering another process that did not end until December 16, 2011.

That created an odd limbo for over two years. New contracts would be impermissible, but only when the legislation was passed and effective. That did not occur until April 28, 2011, and even then the override kept doubt alive until almost the end of that year.

Because both core NCAA rules like those governing recruiting and potentially the NCAA’s normal legislative process will be under the microscope, this case could likely mean more changes to how the NCAA does business. A broad, sweeping defeat for the NCAA could mean losing the ability to regulate recruiting and much stricter limits on how legislation can be enacted.

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