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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Joscelin Yeo, a world-class swimmer from Singapore, enrolled in the University of California at Berkeley and became a member of the school’s swim team in 1999. In the summer of 2000, the Berkeley swim coach, who was also the coach of Singapore’s Olympic team, of which Yeo was a member, took a job at the University of Texas at Austin. Yeo then transferred to UT. The National Collegiate Athletic Association requires student-athletes who have transferred from one four-year college to another to sit out for a full academic year before resuming competition. The restriction may be lifted in certain circumstances if the school from which the athlete transfers consent to an early resumption of competition. Yeo did not register for classes in the fall of 2000, instead participating in the Olympics. Because UT thought this missed semester counted towards the one-full-academic-year moratorium, UT mistakenly allowed Yeo to compete in four events in the fall of 2001. Berkeley complained, and UT agreed that Yeo should sit out the rest of the semester. The NCAA added that Yeo should not participate in the first four events upcoming in the spring, either, though Yeo was not informed of these discussions. UT added three new events to the beginning of its spring schedule. Yeo sat out of those events, plus the first event of the original schedule. When she attempted to swim in the fifth event (which would have been the second event of the original schedule), Berkeley again complained. The NCAA again agreed. UT appealed, then notifying Yeo for the first time of the ongoing negotiations. UT lost its appeal. UT told Yeo she should get her own attorney. She did, and that attorney negotiated a waiver from Berkeley. The NCAA nonetheless rejected to reverse its decision. Yeo sued UT on March 20 to enjoin the school from preventing her participation in a March 22 meet. She also asked for a declaration that UT had denied her procedural due process. The trial court issued a temporary restraining order against UT. On March 21, the NCAA intervened, but the trial court granted Yeo’s motion to strike the intervention. On March 22, the NCAA sought mandamus relief from the appeals court, which was also denied. Yeo competed in the meet. Eight months later, the trial court heard the rest of Yeo’s suit and rendered judgment for her, ruling that UT violated her procedural due process rights. The NCAA appealed from the order striking its intervention, and UT appealed the trial court’s judgment. The appeals court affirmed both rulings. HOLDING:Reversed and rendered. The court first concludes that the case is not moot, even though Yeo has graduated, ended her college-swimming career and become a Rhodes Scholar. The injunction imposed against the NCAA prevents it from imposing retroactive sanctions. The court next turns to the judgment for Yeo on her procedural due process claim, noting that it first has to decide whether Yeo has a protectable interest under the Texas Constitution. The court points out that it ruled in Spring Branch I.S.D. v. Stamos, 695 S.W.2d 556 (Tex. 1985), that students do not have a constitutionally protected interest in participating in extracurricular activities. The court notes that Yeo does not challenge the Stamos holding, but she argues only that the case does not apply in this case because of Yeo’s unique status as a world-class swimmer. If she had been disqualified from swimming in the March 22 meet, her reputation would have suffered because people may have thought she had committed some ethical violation. Further, the damage to her reputation could affect her earnings potential as the most decorated athlete in Singapore’s history. She concedes that an athlete with less prestige would fall under Stamos. The court fully acknowledges Yeo’s special international status and agrees that Yeo has a liberty interest in her reputation as an athlete entitled to due course of law. The court rejects UT’s argument that recognizing a due process interest in this case would open the door to recognition in every case, noting that the case is in a unique procedural posture. Nonetheless, the court disagrees that Yeo’s stellar reputation deserves more procedural protection than a more modest reputation. Yeo’s claimed interest in future financial opportunities is too speculative for due process protection. There must be an actual legal entitlement, the court writes. The court notes that in University of Texas Medical School v. Than, 901 S.W.2d 926 (Tex. 1995), it held that a medical student charged with academic dishonesty had a protected liberty interest in a graduate education. But, the court says, since then, it has refused to accord a student’s interest in athletics with the same protection. “We decline to equate an interest in intercollegiate athletics with an interest in graduate education,” the court concludes. In light of its reversal, the court says there is no need to address the NCAA’s arguments on appeal. The court then reiterates its prior reminder to lower courts that judicial intervention in student-athlete disputes “often does more harm than good,” and that courts should not intervene in such day-to-day conflicts in the administration of school systems. OPINION:Hecht, J.; Jefferson, C.J., O’Neill, Wainwright, Brister, Medina, Green and Johnson, JJ., joined.

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