Oklahoma defensive end Amani Bledsoe’s lawsuit against the NCAA took a downturn when the NCAA was granted a summary judgement in the case.
The decision, made public through court documents Friday but initially ruled Dec. 11, could mark the end of Bledsoe’s college career after this season. He was suing the NCAA for eligibility lost after it suspended him for a failed a random drug test administered in 2016, when he tested positive for a banned substance he says he took unknowingly.
Bledsoe argued the NCAA’s one-year suspension of him, which included a lost year that has him with no remaining eligibility after this season, infringed upon his substantive property and liberty rights under the Oklahoma Constitution’s Due Process Clause.
Cleveland County judge Jeff Virgin ultimately ruled in favor of the NCAA, that it is not a state actor subject to the clause.
Bledsoe, who has started all 13 games this season, is third on the team in sacks (3) and pass breakups (7). He has been on the team since 2016. Tuesday, the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl announced Bledsoe had committed to playing in the game.
His lawsuit filed in August 2017 sought reinstatement of his lost year of eligibility, plus court costs and attorney fees.
Bledsoe alleges he took the substance unknowingly when a teammate offered him contents from an unopened container of whey protein. Clomiphene was not listed among the product’s ingredients, according to OU, but independent lab testing of the container of revealed the powder had been contaminated with the banned substance.
According to court documents, the lab, Aegis Sciences Corporation, reported that it purchased a new container of the same brand of protein and it tested negative for clomiphene.
The NCAA denied an appeal to the suspension on Dec. 1, 2017.
Bledsoe’s side argued in a court document filed late last month that the NCAA drug testing appeals policy contains two exceptions it denied Bledsoe, one being the “knowledge challenge” exception; it allows appeal if the university of a student athlete demonstrates he or she was not aware they had been administered a substance by another person, if the substance is later found to have a contained banned ingredient.
Bledsoe’s attorney argued the exception applies because Bledsoe later submitted the container to OU athletic trainer Scott Anderson, who approved it for safe use because of the package's labeling.
Though Bledsoe provided Anderson the container after his failed drug test, Bledsoe’s side argued the result would have been the same and the NCAA should recognize that detail.
The two sides participated in a summary judgement Dec. 10 in Cleveland County County court, during which both parties sought a decision. The NCAA wanted the suit dismissed while Bledsoe’s attorneys wanted a favorable judgement, or, to see the case through in trial.