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Chris Ledlum, Jordan Dingle suing NCAA for extra year of eligibility at St. John’s



As Rick Pitino and the St. John’s coaching staff look to hit a few home runs in the transfer portal, recruiting a number of high-end talents to fortify the roster, they could have more returning players than initially expected.

Chris Ledlum and Jordan Dingle, Ivy League players who transferred into the program last offseason and were starters most of the year, are suing the NCAA for an extra year of eligibility, according to a lawsuit filed with the Queens Supreme Court.

Since the Ivy League didn’t play in 2020-21 — the season that was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and didn’t count as part of a student-athlete’s four years of eligibility — Ledlum and Dingle never got a fifth year like others.

Chris Ledlum is suing the NCAA for an extra year of eligibility at St. John’s. endell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Their waivers for a fifth year have been denied by the NCAA, and so the two are taking the NCAA to court.

They are seeking injunctive relief, claiming that the governing sports body is in violation of New York antitrust and NIL laws and alleging that they are suffering “irreparable harm” from losing out on a fifth year, according to the filing by attorneys Joseph J. DiPalma and Nicholas R. Bonelli.

“I definitely don’t think it’s a slam-dunk case by any means,” Mit Winter, an attorney for the Kansas City law firm Kennyhertz Perry who specializes in college sports law, said in a phone interview. “On the antitrust issue, I think there’s a valid argument that it’s a responsible restraint of trade to limit the number of years, especially in this instance. But I could see a court also saying it’s not responsible, that it was arbitrary in this instance when everyone else got to play five years and these guys got to play four.”

The NCAA has been losing a lot of antitrust cases lately.

Jordan Dingle (3) celebrates with teammates during St. John's win over Seton Hall in last season's Big East quarterfinal game.
Jordan Dingle (3) celebrates with teammates during St. John’s win over Seton Hall in last season’s Big East quarterfinal game. AP

In late February, it lost a court ruling brought by Virginia and Tennessee, arguing that it could not enforce rules that prevent schools from using Name, Image & Likeness (NIL) as recruiting inducements.

The NCAA did win an amateurism case in January against twins Matthew Bewley and Ryan Bewley.

The brothers sued the NCAA for their eligibility after they were denied based on contracts they signed to play in the high school league, Overtime Elite.

The league, launched in 2021, began by paying players, but has since audibled to offering a scholarship option instead of a salary.

“I think this one could possibly be more akin to that than the other ones they’ve lost,” Winter said. “Like I said, I don’t think it’s a clear cut slam-dunk case. But it’s interesting nonetheless to see what the court will do with it.”

After adding transfers Vince Iwuchukwu (USC) and Aaron Scott (North Texas), St. John’s has three open scholarships remaining.

It is firmly in the mix with three difference-makers: Point guards Kadary Richmond (Seton Hall) and Deivon Smith (Utah) and forward Norchad Omier (Miami).

St. John’s has worked with Ledlum and Dingle throughout this process, it should be noted.

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