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HOWARD UNIV. v. NCAA

November 27, 1987

Howard University, Plaintiff
v.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association, et al., Defendants


John Garrett Penn, Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: PENN

JOHN GARRETT PENN, Judge

 The plaintiff filed this action, in which it seeks declaratory and injunctive relief and damages, on November 25, 1987. The plaintiff asserts that the case is filed pursuant to the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, specifically, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1 and 2, the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201 and 2202, 11 D.C. Code § 11-921 and 28 D.C. Code §§ 28-4502 and 28-4503.

 The case is now before the Court on plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order in which it seeks to have the Court restrain the defendants "from continuing to exclude the Howard University football team from post-season Division I-AA competition and from holding any Division I-AA Championship games until this action is decided."

 I

 Briefly, the underlying facts are as follows: The plaintiff is an institution of higher learning with its principal place of business in the District of Columbia. The defendant National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is an unincorporated athletic federation of colleges and universities, and the individual defendants, Bernard Cooper, Benny Hollis, Walter Reed and Rick Taylor are members of the NCAA Division I-AA Football Committee and serve respectively as chairpersons of the advisory committees for the Central Region, West Region, South Region and East Region.

 The plaintiff is one of seven teams in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). Each of the seven teams are classified as NCAA Division I-AA schools and all of the institutions in the MEAC are known to be historically Black colleges and universities. At the conclusion of the regular football season, the plaintiff's football team was declared to be the champion of the MEAC after having defeated all of the teams in that conference that it competed against. *fn1" In addition to winning all of its conference contests, the plaintiff defeated all of its non-conference opponents except for Towson State (of Maryland). It completed its regular season with a record of 9 wins and 1 loss, one of the best records of all Division I-AA teams. *fn2"

 The statistics achieved by the plaintiff's football team demonstrated outstanding athletic performance. During the year it gained an average of 381.6 yards per game rushing, was first in rushing offense and second in total offense, had the highest average yards per rush, scored the most touchdowns by rushing per game, kicked the fewest number of punts per game and earned the most first downs per game by rushing. The plaintiff also had the number one rushing player in the country, Harvey Reed, who averaged 151.2 yards per game and 7.2 yards per carry. *fn3"

 The Division I-AA Football Championship provides for a maximum field of 16 teams. The top two independent teams, as evaluated by the Division I-AA Football Committee, automatically receive berths and six (apparently stated erroneously as seven in the 1987 National Collegiate Championships, Division I-AA Football (1987 Handbook)) allied conferences receive automatic qualifications for the 1987 Championship. The remaining teams are selected at-large by the Football Committee.

 Howard University's football team does not participate in a conference that receives an automatic qualification for the 1987 Championship; therefore, to participate in the post-season Championship, it must rely on an at-large invitation.

 Prior to its last regular season game, which was held on November 21, 1987, the plaintiff's football team was ranked number 20 in the official ranking of the Football Committee, and tied with North Texas State. Both teams had one final regular season game. Howard was scheduled to play Delaware State University which had been ranked number 14 prior to the final game, while North Texas State was scheduled to play Louisiana Tech, which the Court understands had a record of 3 wins and 7 losses. Louisiana Tech was not ranked and had not been ranked on October 26, November 2, 9, and 16. *fn4" Howard defeated Delaware State by a score of 12 to 7, while North Texas State defeated Louisiana Tech by a score of 10 to 5. Based upon those records, Howard received a final ranking of number 18, while North Texas State received a final ranking of number 16. Since Holy Cross could not participate in the playoff, any ranking of 17 or better placed a team in the Championship playoffs. Howard had missed by one place.

 The plaintiff now seeks to have this Court restrain the defendants from beginning the Championship playoffs until after the Court has decided this case. *fn5"

  II

 In order to be entitled to injunctive relief, the plaintiff must demonstrate that it is likely to prevail on the merits, that it will suffer irreparable harm if injunctive relief is not granted, that other parties to the action will not suffer substantial harm if injunctive relief is granted, and that the public interest would be served by the granting of such relief, or in any event, that the granting of such relief would not be adverse to the public interest. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Commission v. Holiday Tours, Inc., 182 U.S.App.D.C. 220, 222, 559 F.2d. 841, 843 (1977). See also, Virginia Petroleum Jobbers Association v. FPC, 104 U.S.App.D.C. 106, 110, ...


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