Former Northwestern basketball player sues NCAA, university over transfer rule


On Monday, via a report by The Daily Northwestern's Max Gelman, former Northwestern basketball player Johnnie Vassar filed a class-action lawsuit against the university and the NCAA organization.

Vassar says in the lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, Northwestern officials forced him to forfeit his scholarship by deceiving and subsequently intimidating him.

The complaint said Northwestern put Vassar on an “internship,” during which he worked as a janitor, and “berated” Vassar, alleging coach Chris Collins told the player he had no future with the team.

The class-action suit argues that an NCAA rule requiring student-athletes to sit out a year after transferring to another program violates antitrust law. The complaint said Vassar, who is a current Northwestern student, reached out to multiple Division I basketball programs in hopes of transferring, but the programs said they would only accept Vassar if he could play immediately.

Furthermore, the complaint goes on to elaborate the details of the “internship”

“Johnnie picked up trash and leaves, operated a leaf blower, put salt on sidewalks and under cars, wiped down the outside tennis court bleachers, swept the baseball diamonds, and lifted heavy metal planks near the football field (hurting his shoulder),”

In response to the allegation and imminent legal action, Wildcats Head Coach Chris Collins expectedly didn't comment during a press conference on Monday other than:

“We’ll let those things be handled behind closed doors,”

While the University's stance remains fixated against any wrongdoing, per University Relations Vice President Al Cubbage:

“We do not believe this claim has any legal merit … We will defend the University vigorously.”

Vassar arrived at Northwestern in 2014 as a part of Collins’ first recruiting class as the team's head coach, and by March 2015 — the university announced Vassar’s desire to transfer. However, the complaint filed Vassar elaborates his claims that he did not sign any documents to transfer during this time period.

Needless to say, this major allegation is far from a conclusion. Stay tuned for further updates.