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US: Point Guard files antitrust lawsuit against Northwestern and NCAA

 |  November 15, 2016

Former Northwestern point guard Johnnie Vassar has filed an antitrust lawsuit against the University and the NCAA, alleging that the NCAA’s transfer rules allowed Northwestern to intimidate him into transferring to another school.

The complaint, filed Monday in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, alleges Vassar was “berated” by Northwestern staff, including head basketball coach Chris Collins, and was put “through a campaign of harassment, pressure, and deception,” leading to his eventual transfer.

Although he announced his intention to transfer on March 30, 2015, Vassar was unable to find a school that would accept him to play basketball if he was not eligible to play right away. Thus, he remained at Northwestern, and on scholarship.

The suit describes a variety of measures the program and athletic department used to free up Vassar’s scholarship, which was eventually transferred from athletic grant-in-aid to an academic scholarship. The University, the complaint alleges, went so far as to offer Vassar a cash payment in March of 2016 so he would “go away.”

The suit also alleges that Northwestern placed the three-star recruit in an “internship” so he could retain his athletic scholarship. The program, called the “Wildcat Internship Program” involved him working in a janitorial capacity. It also claims that Northwestern tried to falsify Vassar’s timesheets during the internship “in an effort to create grounds for revoking [Vassar’s] guaranteed athletic scholarship.”

The suit also attacks the NCAA and its transfer rules and is part of a larger lawsuit put forth by Hagens Berman against the NCAA in 2012.

Full content: Inside Nu

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