Michael McAdoo is suing the University of North Carolina. The premise of his case is simple-- UNC promised him an education in exchange for his services as an athlete, and they violated that agreement when the shoved him into essentially fake classes with no educational value.
UNC's problems with "paper classes" and what has been called "eighteen years of academic fraud" were already large. This will not help.
But Time's coverage of the case notes that, while this may seem like an easy win, case law is not on McAdoo's side, and they refer to a 1992 case based on a similar premise.
In 1992, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit largely
upheld a lower court decision to dismiss a case involving Kevin Ross, a
former basketball player at Creighton University who sued the school for
negligence and breach of contract for failing to educate him. “We agree
— indeed we emphasize — that courts should not ‘take on the job of
supervising the relationship between colleges and student-athletes or
creating in effect a new relationship between them,’” the judges wrote.
Courts are reluctant to judge the quality of a student’s education,
because “theories of educations are not uniform.” How can you
objectively measure the quality of a student’s academic experience? It
may be a ‘practical impossibility to prove that the alleged malpractice
of the teacher proximately caused the learning deficiency of the
The emphasis is mine. The case deals with the college level and not third graders. But it would be interesting to see if the court's reluctance to rule on what constitutes a quality education, or a teacher's role in providing it, would hold up in lawsuits over current evaluation systems being used to cripple and end teaching careers.