UNC, NCAA ask to dismiss academic scandal lawsuit filed by former students
Posted March 30, 2015
Updated March 31, 2015
Chapel Hill, N.C. — The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the NCAA have asked a federal judge to dismiss a class-action lawsuit filed by two former UNC students seeking educational reforms and financial compensation for student athletes, according to court documents filed Monday.
The NCAA argues it does not have a duty "in regulating and monitoring its member institutions," that the students have no standing to seek financial damages and that "the specific injunctive relief they seek is far broader than the harms they allege in their complaint," according to court documents.
"And, finally, even if plaintiffs’ allegations were not otherwise facially insufficient to state a claim for relief, plaintiffs’ claims against the NCAA would be barred by the applicable three-year statutes of limitations," the NCAA said in its motion to dismiss.
UNC-Chapel Hill's motion was filed on similar grounds, also stating that claims against the school are barred by the 11th Amendment, which prohibits federal courts from hearing cases where a state is sued by an individual from another state or country.
The suit, filed in January on behalf of former women's basketball player Rashanda McCants and former football player Devon Ramsay, alleges that the NCAA and member institutions breached their duties to the student-athletes "in spectacular fashion," highlighting the no-show class scandal at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein was hired to conduct an outside investigation into academic fraud at the university. His findings showed academic advisers steered student-athletes for 18 years toward classes that never met and required only a short paper to pass in order to keep their grades high enough to remain eligible to play on their teams.
The NCAA should have known about the academic fraud, the lawsuit contends, but the organization sat by as college sports programs "operated as diploma mills."
Ramsey was kicked off the football team back in 2010 for getting improper help from a tutor, but he was allowed back on the team after his attorney convinced the NCAA he'd done nothing wrong. In July, he testified in a U.S. Senate hearing about college athletics.
"I've come to realize that there's a void in college athletics," Ramsey told senators. "The NCAA, as an institution, no longer protects the student-athlete. They're more concerned with signage and profit margins."