NCAA Antitrust Litigation: Iowa State Disputes Discovery Demands

Iowa State University recently voiced its objections to discovery requests made by a class of student-athletes in an antitrust litigation against the NCAA. The university contends that the discovery requests are burdensome, over broad, and involve protected private information.

The antitrust suit, brought by a certified class of student-athletes, challenges the NCAA rules that bar students from receiving financial aid beyond cost of attendance. Although Iowa State is not a named party to the suit, it objected to a subpoena it received from the class, asking it to disclose a comprehensive list of students who participated in sports and received any form of financial aid dating back to 2010. The plaintiff class not only seeks a list of student names but it also requests that the school disclose what sport each student played, how much they received in scholarships, where the scholarship money came from, and how the cost of attendance was calculated.

In raising its objections to a California federal judge on Monday, the school stated, “Iowa State University objects to this request because it seeks documents over multiple years which requires unreasonable and overbroad searches, collections, and productions of duplicative and unnecessary documents . . . [t]his request is thus unduly burdensome relative to the value of such information to determination of the facts and legal questions at issue in this litigation.”

Iowa State not only contends that the request is overly burdensome in relation to its value, but the school also argues that the information is protected by privacy laws, such as the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERP).

The university agreed to respond to the request and produce relevant documents relating to financial aid distributions, however, will retract information identifying students as to maintain privacy pursuant to HIPPA and FERP.

Iowa State also objected to parts of the subpoena that requested the production of squad lists and information relating to student-athletes who have received aid from either the NCAA student assistance fund, the athlete opportunity fund, or the special assistance fund. The university similarly objects to these requests as being over broad and involving information protected by privacy laws.

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