INDIANAPOLIS -- Interim NCAA vice president of enforcement Jon Duncan begins a 12-to-18-month trial period on March 11, according to a source.
Duncan, who has worked with the NCAA since 1998 for litigation and legal counsel, will be asked to restore confidence in a 55-person enforcement group that faces mounting scrutiny over the botched Miami investigation.
The NCAA made what president Mark Emmert called “shocking” mistakes after the enforcement division authorized payments to the lawyer of ponzi-scheming booster Nevin Shapiro, the key figure in the Miami case, in order to obtain information it otherwise wouldn't have found.
Vice president of enforcement Julie Roe Lach was fired as a result and replaced by Duncan, who is in Indianapolis but was unavailable for comment Friday upon request through the NCAA.
Duncan, an attorney with Spencer Fane in Kansas City, will soon review the Miami case file and evaluate all of the NCAA's investigative strategies.
Duncan is representing the NCAA in a 9-year-old lawsuit against former Buffalo basketball coach Tim Cohane and has served as counsel for an NCAA enforcement working group.
Duncan is well-published and, according to NCAA spokesman Bob Williams, has extensive knowledge on bylaws and enforcement process.
Scott Tompsett, an attorney with more than 20 years of experience representing schools and coaches in NCAA infractions cases, said it's his understanding Duncan has no practical experience investigating or processing such cases.
“I don't think he's ever conducted a major investigation or represented an institution or coach before the [Committee on Infractions],” Tompsett said. “He's a curious choice to bring credibility back to the enforcement staff.”
Gene Marsh, a COI chair for nine years who has represented Penn State and Ohio State in high-profile NCAA cases, said hiring someone “outside the circle” like Duncan might not be such a bad thing.
“The [NCAA] staff is filled with senior people who have been involved in major infractions cases over and over,” Marsh said. “It's not like there's a void in the building. Given the internal issues there right now and the externalities, it's probably a good idea.”