These new developments are really alarming. They show the depth that the NCAA will go to keep their thumb on USC.
Can the NCAA be any more corrupt?
First, a quick review...
When the NCAA hammered USC back in June our attention turned to just how and why the NCAA was able to hand down the ruling that many see as a modern day death penalty.
In reviewing the the NCAA's findings many were stunned and astonished at just how weak and flawed the NCAA's findings were when based on the totality of the charges. Not that the anger of that day has ever worn off but subsequent reviews of the case and then the NCAA either looking the other way to other possible infractions of Auburn's Cam Newton or the barely looked at LaMichael James car swap reveal a double standard by the NCAA.
As we know, USC is now preparing its appeal. The guidelines set within the appeals process only allow the school to address issues within the ruling...they are not allowed to bring in any NEW evidence.
That narrows the window for 'SC to get the findings reversed, more on that in a bit, it is an important standard that the NCAA has set.
Within the last two months the NCAA separated the appeal of former USC running backs coach Todd McNair from USC's appeal.
That development alone is significant!
McNair is the key to both the NCAA's case against USC and USC's appeal against the findings.
We have already seen the NCAA trash any sense of fair process in their ruling up to this point so it really should not surprise anyone that they made this move to make it even tougher for both USC and McNair to get a fair hearing.
But the NCAA goes a step further...
And this one is a doozie.
From Dan Weber at USCFootball.com...
The former USC football assistant says the Committee has made a flawed case far worse by bringing in, contrary to its own rules of procedure and evidence, new, mistaken, immaterial, irrelevant, contradictory and false allegations against him, even to the point of inventing quotes and making a first-ever "phantom finding."
A "fundamental violation of due process," is how McNair describes what the NCAA has done here.
The Infractions Committee's response "confirms that the findings against McNair are clearly contrary to the evidence," McNair and his attorney, Scott Tompsett of Kansas City, say in a November rebuttal to the Infractions Appeals Committee that was obtained by USCFootball.com.
It is pretty clear that the NCAA will ANYTHING to keep USC from challenging the NCAA's findings.
I can see how USC AD Pat Haden was dumfounded by the Newton findings last month and the lack of consistency in the NCAA enforcing their own rules.
I have issues with McNair and have said so in the past. I understand that McNair is/was a mentor to his players. He is a sounding board and an extra pair of eyes to help his players get through the rigors of playing D-1 football while trying to get an education.
But my issues with McNair were that he took things a bit too far in partying with his players. In my eyes that is a line that should not be crossed.
With that being said, it doesn't mean that McNair should not get a fair hearing, his fair process rights within the organization should not be trashed and the goal posts should not be moved mid-process.
Here is what the NCAA is now claiming...(emphasis added)
The Committee also revealed in its response to McNair that, contrary to what it ruled in the June Infractions Report, it had found that McNair knew about improper benefits being given by Lake to Bush before the late-night Jan. 8, 2006 phone call from Lake to McNair that it depended on in the original case. It now says that McNair knew earlier because he saw "Lake get hotel rooms for xxxx's friends" and Lake said "he was told by xxxx that McNair knew about certain things . . . "
The problem here, McNair and his attorney contend, is that "These allegations were not alleged in the Notice of Allegations and, therefore, McNair never provided a defense to these vague, unsubstantiated allegations" in his appeal. And that all these months later, this is "the first time the COI [Committee on Infractions] informed McNair that it based its unethical finding on Lake's claims."
How do you defend against something that was never alleged the first time around? If new evidence isn't allowed during the appeals process for the defendant (McNair) then how can the plaintiff (the NCAA) introduce new "evidence" even if said evidence is flawed (more fruit of poisonous tree?)? There is lot more in Weber's piece but I won't copy and paste it all so please go read it.
As you will see the NCAA's interpretation of one persons "opinion" seems to be the rule and not hearsay.
The NCAA hammered 'SC because "they should have known". Lake is hardly a credible witness but there was enough evidence out there (Ornstein) that shows Reggie Bush's family took the money.
No one will dispute that.
What is in dispute is how or why McNair could have known.
The NCAA goes a long way to coach and cajole Lake along to cobble together a story...a story where Lake has never produced a single receipt of the alleged money given. I am not talking about living rent free in a house.
The NCAA is playing with fire here and it is clear that it doesn't care. Until the appeals process is over USC is not going to entertain filing a lawsuit. If they do decide to go that route I would not expect USC to be successful but winning isn't always goal...pulling back the curtain of one of the most corrupt organizations we have ever seen could go a long way.
I realize that some will call this whining or think we are chasing conspiracy theories but even USC's most ardent detractors have be concerned with this. It is going to get worse if this organization is left unchecked.
But then again, how much worse can it really get?