lease arrangement, the Court held that the state and the restaurant were interdependent, such that when the restaurant later engaged in racial discrimination, its conduct was state action for purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment. See id. at 723-25.
The benefits that, according to Plaintiff, flow from Cheyney's relationship with Defendant and other Cheyney football players, fall short of establishing such a symbiotic relationship. Although Defendant received a scholarship, liability insurance, and a uniform free-of-charge, and although Cheyney, the PSAC, and even the NCAA may have imposed certain requirements on Defendant in connection with his varsity status, "the symbiotic relationship test requires that the plaintiff allege significant state involvement with [the acting party] beyond state funding and regulation." Imperiale, 776 F. Supp. at 197. The fact that the Cheyney-East Stroudsburg game program and Defendant's uniform identified Defendant as being associated with Cheyney does not show significant state involvement.
Plaintiff's reliance on Wilson is misplaced. In Wilson, the Commonwealth Court held that even though "a high school football player is not a school district's 'employee' as that term is defined under standard usage," the defendant, a public high school football player who allegedly injured a spectator during a game, nevertheless was the district's employee under a "much broader" definition of the term found in 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 8501 (1997). See 553 A.2d at 536-7. The Commonwealth Court's findings have no binding effect on this court, however, because "a state court construction of a state statute has no bearing on whether an entity that is connected with the state is a 'state actor' for purposes of the fourteenth amendment and § 1983." Krynicky, 742 F.2d at n.12.
2. Nexus Approach
Plaintiff's argument under the nexus approach also fails. Although Plaintiff alleges some involvement by the state in Cheyney's football program, Plaintiff has not established that playing football at Cheyney is, at its core, anything more than a student activity. The hiring of a coaching staff and the provision of liability insurance, even when considered along with the other factual assertions contained in Plaintiff's affidavit, do not show the close connection, between the state and Defendant's actions on the football field, required for the court to treat Defendant's conduct as that of the state. As the court of appeals stated in Groman, "[a] private action is not converted into one under color of state law merely by some tenuous connection to state action." 47 F.3d at 638.
3. Government-Function Approach
Finally, although Plaintiff's brief does not discuss the government-function approach, the court finds that Defendant is not a state actor under this approach. The challenged activity in this case is vastly different from, for example, the provision of fire protection, which is a government function. See Mark, 51 F.3d at 1145. As the court suggested above, playing college football is in essence a student activity. The establishment or maintenance of a college football program is neither traditionally nor exclusively the prerogative of the state, and the state imposes no duty to establish or maintain such a program. Thus Defendant furthered no state objective and performed no public function when he played football for Cheyney.
For the reasons described above, the court finds that this case involves the allegedly tortious conduct of a private individual, not a state actor.
The court's holding is limited to the facts of this case. Here, Plaintiff has not met the "under color of state law" requirement for actions filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Accordingly, the court dismisses this case, without prejudice, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff may seek redress for Defendant's allegedly tortious conduct in the courts of this Commonwealth.
An appropriate order follows.
BY THE COURT:
Edward N. Cahn, C.J.
AND NOW, this 2 day of February, 1998, upon consideration of Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Federal Subject Matter Jurisdiction, and for the reasons expressed in the court's memorandum, it is hereby ORDERED that the case is DISMISSED, WITHOUT PREJUDICE, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Clerk is directed to close the docket for statistical purposes.
BY THE COURT:
Edward N. Cahn, C.J.