I was suspended from my college basketball team for reasons I do not think are fair. Is there anything I can do?

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Question:

Question: I am a collegiate athlete at a state university who was suspended from participating in athletics for a year. I wasn’t allowed to have a hearing on the suspension, because it was supposedly an NCAA decision. Shouldn’t the school allow me the chance to appeal since my scholarship is essentially a basketball player contract ?

Response: Not necessarily. Typically, when someone is suspended from school, the US Constitution provides due process rights to that individual if such punishment was considered a long enough period to warrant a hearing on the suspension. In your case, if you were suspended specifically by the school, a state university, you would definitely have a due process claim when the university did not grant you a hearing. However, if the school is merely following the enforcement of rules and recommendations by the governing collegiate athletic body, then it becomes a different situation.

However, because your suspension was based on an NCAA decision/ruling, you’re more than likely not entitled to due process, because the NCAA is a private organization, and not considered a “state actor” required to provide due process. This situation would likely be analogous to a Supreme Court case, NCAA v. Tarkanian, where the Supreme Court stated that a state university’s decision to suspend a coach based on the recommendations of the NCAA did not constitute a need for due process.

Your situation will mostly like depend on whether it was the NCAA or the state university whom suspended you. It may be wise to speak with an attorney to find out whether or not your rights have been violated based on your situation.

            Answered by Bert Gonzalez

Additional Resource:  School Due Process Resource

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