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The NCAA's Selective Reasoning (lies?)

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There is a chance that the NCAA is going to be put under the microscope when the new congress takes over in the next session.

The funny thing is the NCAA actually set themselves up and somebody took notice.

It's no secret to anyone who followed the USC verdict closely that the NCAA clearly went against its own rules and procedures to nail USC. Many USC haters have said that any talk like that is simply a conspiracy theory of USC fans who want to keep their heads in the sand over the Bush/Mayo investigations.

But the NCAA's own actions are why many have taken up the cause to expose the corrupt nature of the NCAA.

Lets go with recent developments first.

This is the NCAA's statement on why the tOSU Tattooed FIve are allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl...

There have been questions as well since last week related to the withholding policy and student-athlete reinstatement for NCAA championships and bowl games. This policy was developed and implemented by the Division I membership, specifically the Division I Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement and approved by the Division I Academics/Eligibility/Compliance Cabinet, in 2004. It allows for suspending a reinstatement condition in specific instances involving NCAA championships or bowl games. It recognizes the unique opportunity these events provide at the end of a season, and they are evaluated differently from a withholding perspective for student-athlete reinstatement. In the Ohio State situation, the facts are consistent with the established policy.

If that is true then maybe they can explain why the above statement is in conflict with this...

15. The student-athlete reinstatement lead administrator in consultation with the division- specific chair has the ability to suspend a reinstatement condition in very limited circumstances if the next contest is the NCAA championship. The general practice is that student-athletes are withheld from the next contests even if the next contests are part of the NCAA championship and that policy remains in place. The ability to suspend is only to be used in limited circumstances where the student-athlete is innocently involved, no competitive advantage was gained and withholding from the championship does not seem appropriate. Further, the suspension can only be used if the student-athlete has eligibility remaining the following academic year.

Innocently involved?

This happened in 2009 and the tattooed five kept their mouths shut...that is what supposedly got them the fifth game of suspension. Clearly they they were not "innocent" and that portion of the NCAA policy went out the window as well.

Here is what is more interesting...there is NO mention of suspending the general reinstatement conditions for BCS bowl games or postseason play in THEIR own policy? Last time I checked, the Sugar Bowl wasn't a championship game, and the BCS "National Championship Game" isn't even a sanctioned NCAA championship.

Nothing new here...this is more evidence that the NCAA moves the goal posts as they see fit to further its own interests.

But things could take an interesting turn in the coming months...

From Dan Weber at USCFootball.com

Could the next stop for the troubling NCAA case against USC and Todd McNair be Washington?

If one very busy USC alum, Joe Shell, a legal analyst by profession, has his way, Congress is exactly where this affair could, and should, be headed.

Shell, a longtime Trojans football fan, has been using his legal background in recent months to try to figure a way for USC and McNair to defend themselves. But the legal analyst for a major Long Beach law firm finally came to this reality.

This case is a lot like football. The best defense might be a good offense.

Shell is moving on a two-track approach right now. He’s questioning the truthfulness of the NCAA’s previous due process guarantees in its testimony to Congress and challenging its tax-exempt status for not living up to its charter and mission statement.

This has been percolating for a while.

Weber has done an OUTSTANDING job with his numerous pieces on this situation since this whole thing broke back in June. He has asked all the right questions and exposed the many NCAA lies, double speak, missteps and outright trampling of their own bylaws.

I found this aspect of Weber's piece even more intriguing. (emphasis added)

My personal opinion, to give her the benefit of the doubt, Ms. Potuto was being deceptive," Shell says of the Nebraska professor who joined Chairman Paul Dee on the Committee on Infractions that harshly penalized USC.

There’s a story behind that. Despite having used up her limit of three three-year terms, Potuto was placed back on the COI for the USC case. She replaced Oregon law school professor James O’Fallon, who wasn’t allowed to sit on the case of a fellow Pac-10 conference member.

Potuto’s presence was a problem, Shell says, despite her testimony to Congress that the NCAA’s "enforcement, infractions and hearing procedures meet due process standards. In fact, they parallel, if not exceed, those procedures … the NCAA in its infractions process clearly meets and very likely exceeds applicable 14th Amendment procedural protections."

But they let Notre Dame's Missy Conby on the COI?

No, that's a not a conflict of interest is it...

More importantly Weber's piece goes on to show that NCAA may have a bigger problem in telling the congressional committee that it does allow the accused to confront the accuser when that is far from the case.

Here is relevant testimony from the 2004 congressional hearing (page(s) 90 &91).

Potuto: “Anybody who appears at that hearing has that right … to ask questions of any individuals or party at a hearing.”

Bachus: “So anyone charged with an offense has the right to appear at the hearing and cross-examine all the witnesses?”

Potuto: “Cross-examining might not be the correct term for it but certainly the right to inquire of anyone else who appears.”

Bachus: “To question the witnesses?”

Potuto: “Of course.”

Right...

Lying (or a stronger term) comes to mind...but I will let you draw your own conclusions.

Weber also shows that the NCAA basically spits on common sense (if not the Constitution) by expecting a player to testify against themselves...essentially guilty until proven innocent.

It is clear that certain players get the benefit of the doubt while others not so much.

I have no idea if or how congress will address this. They have a lot of other things that ail the country to be worrying about. There is also the concern that while there may be some that have a genuine interest in rectifying this the fact is others may want to bury this or keep it from public hearings altogether. The NCAA has their friends too and with the Auburn/Lowder situation a much bigger deal this could get lost in the shuffle. Or like with what happened with Frank Serpico...everyone cares about corruption until they actually have to do something about it.

I am hopeful, but not optimistic...

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On a side note (strictly my opinion)...

You have all by now have heard of the Bylaw Blog. This was a great resource to get a look at the inside of the inner workings of the NCAA from a compliance officer. You probably heard that earlier this year the anonymous author of the blog was unceremoniously outed and the blog was essentially shut down. A few months ago the Bylaw Blog returned with its author, John Infante, posting the same insight of NCAA compliance...with one very big difference.

The Bylaw Blog is now officially sanctioned by the NCAA. It has its on spot on the NCAA's home page.

That is significant.

I know Mr. Infante has good intentions. The info he has posted in the past has been extremely valuable and insightful. His anonymity gave him credibility in the sense that he could really offer up some insight on compliance issues without having to worry about being called out by his bosses at his university or by the NCAA.

But with the NCAA's lack of credibility showing in a number of recent compliance issues anything posted on the Bylaw Blog in my eyes is tainted. Mr. Infante probably has to vet his stories through the NCAA before he posts them and so the NCAA has final say. I am certainly not calling into question Mr. Infante's credibility, he has more than shown his credibility in the past but if the blog is now sanctioned by the NCAA his bosses have the final say...including spiking any story/post that it deems too controversial.

I will continue to engage Mr. Infante on Twitter or here on CC but the content of the Bylaw Blog now has to be taken with a serious shaker of salt with the NCAA's continued lack of consistence in enforcing its own rules...