SI Article on NCAA Screwups

Submitted by CRex on January 24th, 2013 at 9:47 AM

I found this SI article to be a fairly interesting read on how dumb the NCAA and how many dumb things have been caused by their byzantine rules system.  It also does an excellent job casting light into why it has taken so long for Miami to be killed, long story short the NCAA was paying Shapiro's attorney to depose witnesses for the NCAA at one point.  

Hopefully Emmert at least managed not to screw up the PSU sanctions so sadly that the NCAA loses the court case on that one.  



January 24th, 2013 at 9:53 AM ^

Inconsistent is the word I would use.  It was the end of the world as Michigan was stretching for an extra 10-20 minutes a practice which warranted "severe" penalties, but then Ohio State players are caught in a cash/benefits-for-memorbilia scam that the head coach knew about and lied to cover up and they got what, a 1 year postseason ban?

Just doesn't make sense to me.


January 24th, 2013 at 10:00 AM ^

I get that they are limited and can't make people talk that have no current association w/ the NCAA, but what sold me on them being inept is when they basically said academic fraud concerning athletes at UNC was out of their jurisdiction. And when it took them months and months to investigate USC, OSU & Miami while it took about 2 months to investigate PSU and bring their war hammer down like Robert Baratheon.


January 24th, 2013 at 10:26 AM ^

Could be wrong, but I believe that the NCAA based their PSU ruling/sanctions on the Freeh Report, not their own investigation. Which would explain why the report didn't take 5 years to assemble and wasn't a total waste of time when it was done.

(Also, I believe the Freeh Report investigation was also done without subpoena power, just like NCAA investigations.)


January 24th, 2013 at 11:02 AM ^

Actually the NCAA told PSU that if PSU fought it and made the NCAA do a full report, there would be a death penalty of at least four years, possibly longer based on what law enforcement agencies turned up.  If PSU has more skeletons in the closet, getting the NCAA to embrace the Freeh report as the foundation was a big win.  More stuff might surface from the DoJ investigation or the Spanier trial.  


January 24th, 2013 at 11:19 AM ^

"I was struck by how thorough the (Freeh Report) was," he says. "We could not have duplicated it if we had done our investigation."  (link at bottom).


I viewed that statement as an indictment of the NCAA.  Their investigative arm couldn't have produced a report that was that strong?  


It's definitely, IMO, time for the NCAA to do two things: (1) random audits of member schools on compliance issues, and (2) voluntarily out-source their enforcement efforts to an outside agency (law firm, investigative agency, et cetera).  Both would make their enforcement efforts stronger.…


January 24th, 2013 at 11:20 AM ^

Yeah, anothert reason they are a joke. I was always in the camp that PSU shouldn't have received heavy football sanctions b/c of the impending civil and federal suits the school will face. But they saw a ball on a tee and took a big swing. If you're going to hand out one of the largest athletic sanctions you've ever given, I don't understand only taking someone else's word for it, no matter how credible they are. Meanwhile, they're running toothless investigations of Cam Newton, Oregon, UNC, and botching up Miami.


January 24th, 2013 at 10:02 AM ^

Seeing the cases for UNC and now Miami being what it is, the NCAA might as well undo all the damage they have done the past few years and start afresh.


January 24th, 2013 at 10:34 AM ^

"The conduct in question apparently centers around the December 2011 testimony of former Miami equipment staffer and Shapiro conduit Sean Allen, who told CBS Sports last September that he was shocked to find NCAA investigator Ameen Najjar in the room upon arriving to his deposition in Shapiro's bankruptcy case. Even after Allen asked that Najjar leave, he still faced a barrage of Miami-related questions with seemingly little relevance to bankruptcy. And unlike in his NCAA interviews, he was now under oath." - from the article

It seems here that the NCAA investigator specifically took advantage of the deposition and the fact that Allen was under oath to get information about rule violations, if this is the case. As I recall, Allen's account relates heavily to one of the more severe allegations in the case against Miami as well.

If it turns out that things like this are the "small portion" of things that might be thrown out that Emmert describes, then sadly Miami wins big here because of what seems like an abandonment of principle by the NCAA. How a thorough review of problems this large could only take two weeks, by Emmert's figuring, is beyond me.


January 24th, 2013 at 10:41 AM ^

the inmates are running the asylum, but they aren't. its more like each inmate is running his own asylum however the hell he wants and the asylum inspector is just spinning around playing blindfold whack-a-mole with a tooth pick.


January 24th, 2013 at 11:01 AM ^

Question here is the same as in courts: If you get evidence illegally, do you excise the bad evidence or throw out the whole case? Who's to say what other evidence was obtained based on the "tainted" evidence? Sadly, sometimes the cost of justice is that the guilty go free in order to limit prosecutors and investigators from overreaching. Better that than tyranny of the state (or NCAA). In this case, the NCAA would be better off throwing everything out, bringing in an independent investigator and starting from scratch.


January 24th, 2013 at 11:28 AM ^

That's always confused me with regard to NCAA enforcement.  It seems the logical setup for the NCAA would be to have a single law firm on retainer as a pseudo-DA.  When there are infractions you have the law firm investigate and act as the prosecutor in front of the infractions committee.  The school can show up with its GC to defend itself.  This scattergun hiring of law firms and investigators seems to make it so some schools walk simply because a moron was hired to handle this one.  


January 24th, 2013 at 11:47 AM ^

Can somebody with legal knowledge please explain to me exactly why the NCAA has to follow ANY standard protocol for evidence accumulation?  It's a club, not an agent of our judicial process, and can't a "club" get evidence anyway they so chose?

Seriously - if my 8 year old's "recess spy club" (actual organization) at Ellsworth Elementary decides to boot one of it's members cause they heard from one of the other kids that they didn't spy good enough and it turns out they got the evidence of the poor sypying by bribing a kid with snacks does that mean the spy club can't kick the kid out?  Isn't that kinda what's happening here with the the NCAA v Miami?


January 24th, 2013 at 12:02 PM ^

My first reaction to reading this story was "So what?"  The NCAA doesn't need to live up to legal standards of evidence.  They obviously didn't in previous cases (PSU, USC).  Not sure why they suddenly need to start now.

I'm not saying this investigation, and especially the NCAA, don't have other major issues, but this seems like a non-issue.


January 24th, 2013 at 11:32 PM ^

...It's a private organization and is not subject to rules of evidence, etc. At the same time, it is subject to its own rules, and its contracts with its members. As such, to the extent its agreements with members schools and organizational charter limit the organization, it has to comply with those or face suit.


January 25th, 2013 at 12:47 AM ^

So it doesn't have to follow outside rules.... but creates its own rules and then breaks its own rules it imposed on itself so it then has to investigate itself to see if it wasn't in accordance with its own self-imposed guidelines?


Go home NCAA, you're drunk.

03 Blue 07

January 25th, 2013 at 12:09 AM ^

Civil litigator; wholeheartedly agree. I don't think the NCAA did anything egregious, and I kept saying "so what?" to myself. Don't get me wrong: I really dislike the NCAA. That being said, it's a private association; essentially, it's a trade association (nonprofit). I also think that the other attorneys in the room should have stopped the deposition if the questions were as "irrelevant" as what is being claimed. They didn't did they? He answered, didn't he? The investigator apparently left the room; that means Shapiro's attorney/who was also on the NCAA payroll was almost certainly the one posing questions. No one- no one- would ever have let the investigator, a non-attorney not representing a party to the litigation, ask a question or say anything at all out loud, frankly. Also, w/r/t the attorney for Shapiro/the NCAA: Is there a direct conflict of interest? I don't think so, not legally; the NCAA's beef is with Miami, and not in the courts; it is a proceeding in the NCAA's own, private system.  Shapiro's beef at this point is also with Miami. Sounds like they should be on the same team to me. And again- if it was so irrelevant, where the hell were the attorneys for the creditors? I assume they were present and allowed the line of questioning to continue.

The NCAA doesn't have teeth, so when it has the opportunity to acquire them- i.e., when there's an actual legal proceeding involved- the NCAA does all it can to take advantage of it. Not just in this instance; in every instance. Think about Webber/Ed Martin case, for example.

Now, the issue I think is that the NCAA isn't just a "party" to the litigation; it's also judge and jury. I get why that rubs people the wrong way, and CRex has a good point above. That being said, I don't understand why they can't use UNDER OATH TESTIMONY- better than any other evidence they're ever going to get- to prove their case. The NCAA isn't the federal judiciary. Or any sort of judiciary. 

The NCAA's power to do these things could ultimately be challenged in court, and I could see how they'd lose. But until then, unless there's an NCAA bylaw that was violated (other than bad PR), I honestly don't think there is any NCAA procedural authority (because, again, this isn't in court; this is in the NCAA's private quasi-budget-not-really-at-all-a-judiciary-more-like-a-normally-impotent-police-force) barring the NCAA from using this evidence. If anyone should have a beef with it, it could be Miami, because I guess they'd say they didn't get the opportunity to cross-examine the guy. But, again, there's no expectation of due process in the NCAA system, is there? Is it codified that Miami gets to "cross-examine" or also question any witnesses? I kind of doubt it. As such, tough shit, Miami. So if I'm the NCAA, I use every damn piece of the evidence. Don't like the rules, member institutions? Change them.