Federal appeals court upholds NCAA fine

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A federal appeals court said a judge was within her power to fine the NCAA $100 a day for every school that is late in turning over financial documents related to restricted-earnings coaches.
U.S. District Judge Kathryn H. Vratil ruled last month that the NCAA violated federal antitrust laws by holding the coaches’ earnings to $16,000 per year.
Vratil then ordered NCAA Division I schools to turn over financial documents to the coaches so that damages could be calculated. The NCAA resisted the order, but was ordered to comply in a ruling earlier this week from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.
The sanctions proposed by Vratil if schools do not comply could amount to $1 million or more, lawyers in the case said.
Meanwhile, the 10th Circuit is still considering a motion from Texas officials to block Vratil’s order. Texas Attorney General Nan Morales said the order violated Texas’ right of sovereign immunity under the 11th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The motion was filed on behalf of the 14 state-funded schools in Texas that play Division I.
The NCAA has vigorously resisted Vratil’s May 29 order to provide the financial information by Friday.
The NCAA first said it did not have and could not get the information and advised member schools not to provide it.
After Vratil announced her intent to begin fining the NCAA on July 6 if the information was not provided, the NCAA then advised the schools to comply with the order while it sought relief in the 10th Circuit.
The NCAA said in its appeal that Vratil had made repeated errors in her rulings, abused her discretion and violated federal court rules. The NCAA also said it had no other legal remedy and would be irreparably harmed unless Vratil’s order was overturned.
The appeals court disagreed on every point.
The NCAA referred questions to its lawyers, who did not return telephone calls.
A lawyer for the coaches, W. Dennis Cross, said some schools had already provided the information and that he was confident others would follow suit.