Indiana Supreme Court gives NCAA ticket policy win
The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that the NCAA’s
ticket-purchasing lottery for the men’s Final Four does not violate
state law because buyers received no prize other than the tickets
they pay for.
Four fans filed the suit on behalf ”themselves and all others
similarly situated,” contending that the way tickets were doled
out for the 2009 national semifinals and championship game
constituted an illegal lottery under Indiana law. The NCAA is based
The state’s high court ruled 5-0 in favor of the NCAA.
”The NCAA randomly allocated championship sporting event
tickets to applicants who had offered to purchase tickets by
submitting the face value of the tickets along with a nonrefundable
handling fee,” Justice Frank Sullivan wrote in the decision
released late Thursday. ”The face-value amount (but not the
handling fee) was refunded to applicants whose offers were not
The NCAA has used the same system for years to determine which
fans get tickets to the organization’s most visible championship
event, in which ticket demand far exceeds what’s available.
In addition to submitting the face value for the tickets,
potential buyers were also required to pay the nonrefundable
handling fee of $6 per ticket.
But the court determined that because the ticket winners were
selected randomly and that only the handling fee was given back to
those who did not get tickets, the system did not meet Indiana’s
definition of an illegal lottery.
”Contrary to the plaintiffs argument, the fact that the fee is
nonrefundable means that both groups receive the same amount after
the blind draw,” Sullivan wrote. ”Those applicants whose offers
to purchase tickets are accepted receive tickets for $150 per
ticket, whereas those applicants whose offers are rejected receive
$150 in cash per ticket.”
A similar case is currently pending in the 7th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals. The NCAA said it hoped the Indiana decision would
lead to the dismissal of the other case.
”We have long maintained that our fans have access to NCAA
championship tickets in a manner that is fair and legal, and with
this opinion, we believe the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals should
dismiss this case,” NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson said in a