SBD/Issue 46/Collegiate Sports

Appeals Court Says NCAA’s “Two-In-Four” Rule Is Legal

Court Upholds NCAA’s Right To
Limit Tournament Play

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati yesterday ruled it is “legal for the NCAA to restrict how often basketball teams can play in ‘exempt’ tournaments such as the Maui Invitational and Great Alaska Shootout,” according to Mark Alesia of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. The ruling upholds the NCAA’s “two-in-four” rule, which “limits schools to two such tournaments in any four-year span.” A group of promoters had filed an antitrust lawsuit, “seeking the freedom to invite any teams they wanted.” The decision reverses a court decision in favor of promoters last year that said the two-in-four rule was an antitrust violation (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 11/16).

CHANGES IN THE WORKS: NCAA VP/Division I David Berst said that there is “strong momentum among Division I coaches and the rest of the membership” for a proposal “calling for 27 regular-season games, plus a conference tournament, plus a certified and exempt event of up to four games every season.”’s Andy Katz noted two current restrictions “would stay intact –- teams still couldn’t participate in the same event more than once every four years and no event could have more than one team from a conference.” Berst, on Monday’s ruling: “The decision was important because we need the antitrust law. The case was about ‘Can you limit the season?’ and the answer was ‘Yes, you can limit the season in some fashion.’ That was helpful to us. Now the issue is to figure out what everybody wants and get it accomplished” (, 11/15).

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