Posted on: January 17, 2012 3:56 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 3:59 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Scandals, scholarships and rules changes were among the topics of frequent conversation at last week's NCAA Convention and while not everything president Mark Emmert wanted - the $2,000 cost of attendance stipend for example - was passed by the Legislative Council and Board of Directors, it's safe to say what happened in Indianapolis laid the ground work for significant changes that will impact schools for decades to come.
While details on most proposals from Presidential Working Groups finally emerged in some areas, the one place where there was plenty of talk but little substance was the new enforcement model that some in the organization have been tasked with reforming. After a year that included news about major infractions at Tennessee, Miami, Ohio State, North Carolina and others, it's no surprise that this would be one area of emphasis.
"We were damn mad and not going to take it anymore," Ed Ray, Oregon State president and chair of the Enforcement Working Group, said.
The Enforcement Working Group that came out of August's presidential retreat was tasked with creating a tiered violation structure, new penalty procedures, a reformed process for adjudication and a reformed process that is fair while supporting the collegiate model the organization is looking to uphold.
"In terms of what is our charge, we heard President Emmert talk about this risk-reward analysis and the fact that there seems to be a general loss of integrity and upholding the rules," Vice President for Enforcement Julie Roe Lach said. "This isn't purely a reactive move, we're not just doing this because of the scandals or if there is a crisis. We're doing this because it's the right thing to do. This is a time to redefine what are our principles and what do we stand for."
In addition to following the principles of fairness, accountability and process integrity, flexibility is one of the key things the new model is designed to address as there are currently only two categories of violations: major and secondary. The new model would have four levels (most egregious, serious, secondary, minor) with the Committee on Infractions taking into account various mitigating or aggravating factors that would then help determine penalties. While many believe the enforcement side just makes it up as they go along (and they can because they don't follow past precedent), the model should help move cases along in the system quicker and result in more consistency among penalties given out to schools.
"The working group recognizes the wide-spread perception that the current penalty model leads to inconsistent and insufficient penalties and does not adequately deter other institutions and individuals from engaging in conduct contrary to the rules," the working group's report stated. "The working group believes that the severity of the penalty imposed must correspond with the significance of the rule violation(s)."
If it all seems a bit dense and hard to understand, it is. That's why the NCAA created this proposed penalty matrix that gives you a better visual idea of what future programs will have to get used to if they break rules. For example, if you commit a serious Level I offense and there were no mitigating factors, you can expect a 2-3 year postseason ban.
"We haven't had a lot of pushback on this," Roe Lach said of the new multi-level structure. "If there's anything in the package that is a no-brainer, it seems like this may be it.
"An issue we've heard is we need to be more consistent and allow for more predictability. I think if we are more consistent, it would afford more predictability. The idea is to move toward a penalty guidelines model."
So how does it really work? Well, take the infamous USC case involving Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo among others: violations of NCAA bylaws governing amateurism; failure to report knowledge of violations; unethical conduct; violations of coaching staff limitations; impermissible recruiting contacts by a representative of the institution's athletics interests; impermissible inducements and extra benefits; and lack of institutional control.
According to the new model, this would be classified as multiple Level I violations with four significant aggravating factors. Here's a comparison of penalties with what the Trojans got and what they would have received under the new model:
So yes, USC would have been punished even worse under the new proposed enforcement model coming from the NCAA. That's interesting because athletic director Pat Haden is on the enforcement working group and has made it a point to say that the Trojans were unfairly punished. In other examples provided by the NCAA, Baylor's basketball program would have seen the number of scholarships available slashed in half following the school's 2005 infractions case. Instead of fewer practice hours for Rich Rodriguez and Michigan in their case, the Wolverines could have lost up to four scholarships per year. Florida State's 2009 case could have seen football scholarship losses of 10-21 per year for three years instead of the six they received.
Given the new model, expect the hammer from Indianapolis to come down harder on cheaters in the future.
Posted on: September 1, 2011 5:07 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2011 11:25 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
USC defensive backs coach Willie Mack Garza resigned from his position Thursday due to his involvement with a NCAA recruiting probe, two sources told CBSSports.com.
Garza cited personal reasons unrelated to the school as the reason for his departure in a statement but sources said his resignation was a direct result of his involvement with former scout Will Lyles and a related NCAA probe into possible recruiting violations.
Lyles interviewed with NCAA investigators for several hours with his lawyers present on Tuesday. During the interview, Lyles revealed that he had a "relationship" with Garza prior to becoming an assistant at Tennessee according to sources. USC officials were notified on Wednesday of the connection and moved swiftly to work out Garza's departure.
NCAA enforcement staff is currently investigating Lyles' scouting service connections to several programs, including Oregon and LSU. A source said it was not related to Tennessee's NCAA case that was recently completed.
Garza, a former safety at Texas, followed head coach Lane Kiffin from Tennessee to USC in 2010 and was entering his second season with the Trojans before abruptly resigning. USC is currently on NCAA probation stemming from the school's major infractions case involving former running back Reggie Bush.
Posted on: August 23, 2011 7:18 pm
Posted Bryan Fischer
Tennessee's football program and former head coach Lane Kiffin will not be subject to further NCAA sanctions, according to The Knoxville News Sentinel.
The two parties went in front of the Committee on Infractions in June to explain major violations surrounding recruiting infractions and Kiffin's failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance. According to the report, the committee deemed these violations minor and accepted Tennessee's self-imposed penalty of two-years probation.
Former basketball coach Bruce Pearl and staff were not as lucky, as a source told CBSSports.com that Pearl would receive a multi-year show-cause penalty and former Vols assistants Tony Jones, Steve Forbes and Jason Shay will each receive a one-year show-cause. No further restrictions were placed on the program beyond what was self-imposed.
Kiffin left Knoxville to become head coach at USC and is dealing with that school's NCAA sanctions following the Trojans' unsuccessful appeal earlier this year in the Reggie Bush case.
The News Sentinel and other outlets are reporting that the full NCAA Infractions report will be released on Wednesday.
Posted on: August 18, 2011 1:33 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
From the moment the Yahoo! Sports story exposed the mindblowing scope of Miami's Nevin Shapiro scandal, one question about the Hurricanes' potential NCAA punishment has towered above all others: Could Miami receive the death penalty?
There's not a college football fan alive who doesn't know that the NCAA has ordered the temporary shutdown of a program just once, at SMU in the 1980s. But with a broad consensus that the Hurricane scandal appears to be the most serious since the "Pony Excess" days, the death penalty has been touted by more than one observer as ripe for revival. Two former school compliance officials told the Palm Beach Post Wednesday that the allegations "absolutely scream" for a program suspension, and that the 'Canes would be a "likely candidate" for the SMU treatment.
But within the actual enforcement wing of the NCAA, there doesn't seem to be much stomach for it. Vice president of enforcement Julie Roe Lach is prohibited from discussing the Miami investigation specifically (even if her boss Mark Emmert apparently has no such limitations), but in speaking to the New York Times Wednesday she made it clear no one in Indianapolis is chomping at the bit to use the nuclear option:
“I have not heard [conversation] turn much to television bans or the death penalty,” she said. “The majority of the ideas or support I keep hearing relate toward suspensions [of coaches] or postseason bans being the most powerful.”One former chairman of the NCAA Committee on Infractions, David Swank, also said the NCAA would be reluctant to pull the trigger on sanctions that "destroy a program."
It's a position that makes sense in a vaccum. (And we're all for the continued elimination of television bans, which severely punish the sanctioned team's opponents simply for having the misfortune of being on the schedule.) Given that the Mustangs are just now crawling out of their smoking crater more than 25 years later, no one should want to see the death penalty handed down ever again.
But that doesn't take into account the USC problem. As the New York Times story notes, the Miami scandal appears to be of a magnitude greater than that of the Trojans' Reggie Bush case, which already holds the record for the stiffest penalties since the SMU decision--30 docked scholarships and a two-year bowl ban.
So how far past that standard can the NCAA go while still stopping short of the death penalty? Add another couple of years to the postseason ban, add in another several scholarships lost, add in the difficulty of (inevitably) finding new coaches at an already cash-strapped program and dozens of new players for the roster, and the 'Canes would be entirely crippled. They would face an enormous struggle to remain even marginally competitive in the ACC, or any BCS conference. They'd be, essentially, the walking dead version of what used to be Miami.
And if that's the case, would it be better for the Hurricanes to become the dead dead version for a year? Should they want to push the reset button, and start over after one lost season with fewer limitations and a cleaner slate afterwards?
Probably not. But unless the NCAA wants to undercut the Trojan decision and admit once-and-for-all that those sanctions were overboard and unfair -- not likely -- having the death penalty off the table means the COI will have a very, very fine line to walk when it comes to Miami.
Posted on: August 18, 2011 11:29 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott has ruffled the feathers of those in college athletics before and it appears he has no problem doing so again in light of reports about significant NCAA violations at Miami.
Scott's most recent shot across the bow is aimed directly at Paul Dee, who was athletic director in Coral Gables when most of the violations occurred. Dee also was chairman of the NCAA Committee on Infractions and severely sanctioned USC for the school knowing or that they should have known about violations involving running back Reggie Bush.
Safe to say the commissioner agrees with many that Dee blasting the Trojans while his own department ran amok makes him a hypocrite.
"If the allegations prove true," Scott told The Los Angeles Times, "the words irony and hypocrisy don't seem to go far enough."
Scott added that the reports about what happened with the Hurricanes were "a real indictment of some of the problems that exist in college sports and college football and underscores the need for dramatic reform in rules, culture and the enforcement process."
Though he stopped short of fully advocating it, the commissioner also brought up the possibility that the NCAA could separate the enforcement process and allowing it to be done outside the organization.
"I think we need to step back and consider bold new ideas, including the possibility of bringing in outside resources," he said.
Posted on: August 17, 2011 4:50 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 5:38 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Despite the best efforts of the Worst ... Offseason ... Ever, it appears the 2011 college football season really is on the verge of getting underway. Your latest evidence? The Sports Illustrated season preview is on its way to newsstands, featuring five regional covers that look something like this:
That's the South Carolina/Alshon Jeffery version, but also available will be covers featuring (left to right), Stanford's Andrew Luck, Alabama's Trent Richardson, Nebraska's Jared Crick and Oklahoma's Landry Jones.
Much of the initial Internet reaction has focused on Jeffery looking, ahem, not quite as svelte as Gamecock fans might like, but the much bigger issue (no pun intended) is that Jeffery's on the cover at all. SI has been producing their multi-pronged regional covers since 2005, and in those six years the fortunes of the teams that have appeared there have been up-and-down, to put it politely. You might even say that these regional covers seem to be ... you know ... cursed.
But don't just take my word for it. Here's the year-by-year breakdown, with a tally of how many teams finished their cover season happy with how it played out:
2010: Boy, did SI pick the wrong year to spotlight defense in its preview coverage; Auburn and Oregon faced off for the national championship with the two most statistically generous defenses in BCS title game history. SI didn't do so hot picking out the right teams to feature, either; Alabama finished fourth in their own division, Boise State saw its most talented team yet finish the year in the Las Vegas Bowl, and Texas, of course, collapsed in a 5-7 heap. We'll be generous and give SI the benefit of the doubt on Ohio State, thanks to the Buckeyes' Sugar Bowl victory. Happy tally: 1 of 4
2009: This year, SI picked out four "party crashers" who would "shake up the BCS." Oops: this was the season the Longhorns and the SEC champion (be it Alabama or No. 1 Florida) seemed destined for their eventual title tilt by the end of September. Double oops: of the four teams picked, only Pac-10 champion Oregon earned a BCS berth at all. Ole Miss and Oklahoma State met in the Cotton Bowl after losing a combined seven games and finishing outside the top 20; Penn State finished a distant third in the Big Ten, having been blown out by both Iowa and the Buckeyes. Happy tally: 1 of 4
2008: SI did have the good sense to spend their final cover of five on Tim Tebow's Gators, the eventual national champions. But three of their other four were duds: preseason No. 1 Georgia lost three games, including routs at the hands of the Tide and Gators; Missouri plummeted from No. 3 to No. 25 after losing three in the regular season and getting drilled by 41 in the Big 12 championship game; and Ohio State was blasted out of the national title race via a 35-3 beatdown from USC, then lost the Big Ten title at home to the Nittany Lions. The Trojans' 12-1 Rose Bowl season wasn't half-bad, though. Happy tally: 2 of 5
2007: We're not sure curse evidence gets more compelling than SI putting Michigan's Mike Hart on one of its covers, then having the Wolverines lose to Appalachian State right out of the gate. But there's still USC losing to Stanford as a 41-point favorite, five-loss Arkansas finishing the season unranked (and with Houston Nutt fired), and Oklahoma laying a pair of colossal eggs against Colorado and West Virginia. In fact, it's only that Fiesta Bowl victory over the Sooners that keeps the Mountaineers -- themselves one stunning loss to Pitt away from the national title game -- out of the unhappy tally themselves. Happy tally: 1 of 5
2006: No less than six regional covers this season. Among the good calls, LSU finished their season with a dominant Sugar Bowl win over Notre Dame and Ohio State rolled to a national title game berth. But the Irish never looked like living up to their preseason No. 2 billing, both Texas and USC blew shots at the BCS championship with inexplicable late-season losses, and though 11-2 wasn't a bad year for West Virginia, a pivotal upset at USF and the Gator Bowl wasn't what they had in mind, either. Since we're nice people, though, we'll give WVU half-credit and USC half-credit after their Rose Bowl spanking of Michigan. Happy tally: 3 of 6
2005: The first year of the regional plan was the best one for SI, as Vince Young and Reggie Bush both lived up to that "unstoppable" tagline on their way to the BCS championship game. Florida's Chris Leak, though, not so much; the Gators limped to third in the SEC East in their first year under Urban Meyer. Happy tally: 2 of 3
FINAL VERDICT: Only 10 teams out of the 27 spotlighted by SI's regional covers went on to have satisfying seasons--meaning a whopping 63 percent finished their cover year disappointed. And it's even worse in recent seasons, since half the happy teams came in the first two years of the regional approach. Since then, the ratio of successful-to-unsuccessful campaigns is just 5-to-13. Only twice in these six years have one of those 27 teams -- 2005 Texas and 2008 Florida -- gone on to win the national title.
There's only one word to accurately sum up those kind of results: cursed. Cardinal? Gamecocks? Sooners? Huskers? Tide? Consider yourselves warned.
Tags: Alabama, Alshon Jeffery, Andrew Luck, Appalachian State, Arkansas, Auburn, Boise State, Chris Leak, Colorado, curses, Fiesta Bowl, Florida, Gator Bowl, Georgia, Houston Nutt, Iowa, Jared Crick, Jerry Hinnen, Landry Jones, Las Vegas Bowl, Michigan, Mike Hart, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Pac-10, Penn State, Reggie Bush, Rose Bowl, South Carolina, Stanford, Sugar Bowl, Texas, Tim Tebow, Trent Richardson, Urban Meyer, USC, USF, Vince Young, West Virginia
Posted on: July 18, 2011 3:22 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 3:22 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
When last we tuned into "As the World of Reggie Bush's Heisman Trohpy Turns," the sporting world's most famous doorstop was being stored at USC-friendly museum the San Diego Hall of Champions as reports claimed Bush had elected not to forfeit the trophy after all.
Today's latest news won't do much to refute those reports, unfortunately for those expecting to seeing it returned to the Heisman Trust. According to the Dan Patrick Show, the SDHOC has "returned the 2005 Heisman Trophy to former USC running back Reggie Bush and his parents, Lamar and Denise Griffin."
"In doing so," the SDHOC said in a statement, "the organization feels it is best to direct any further questions to the Bush family or the Heisman Trust.” And with that, you can consider the museum's hands washed of the situation.
We still seem to be a long way from any kind of resolution, though. According to the report, the Trust contacted both the SDHOC and the Bush family last week to ask the trophy be returned to New York's Downtown Athletic Club--potentially the development that triggered the museum's return of the trophy to the Griffins. The same source claimed that the Trust has "made multiple calls to Bush’s representatives" since Bush publicly forfeited "my title" as Heisman winner, without any reponse from Bush's camp.
With Bush continuing to decline comment and the trophy in his family's possession, it seems more likely than ever that if Bush intended to return it, he would. But he doesn't.
We'd previously suggested that Bush simply keep the Heisman if he really wanted to be that bitter and defiant, but that argument was largely based on the assumption the Trust hadn't actually requested Bush return it. If the Trust has not in fact moved on -- if they feel the dignity of their trophy is being compromised somehow -- they're within their rights to expect Bush to return it.
The longer he doesn't, contrary to what Bush seems to hope, the more and more attention will be paid to the issue. It's past time for Bush to either acquiesce to the Trust's wishes or announce that he's not returning it after all; whatever conclusion the situation reaches, it's badly overdue for that conclusion to arrive.
Posted on: June 30, 2011 2:37 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2011 9:09 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
No, it does not look as if Reggie Bush has returned his Heisman Trophy to the Downtown Athletic Club just yet. And, yes, it's possible that he's not planning on returning it ... ever.
That's the conclusion reached by reading this Sports By Brooks post in which Brooks cites a "source" close to Bush's family claiming that Bush has already "decided" he won't be returning the nation's most famous athletics trophy after all. Bush said otherwise -- sort of -- back in September, but later handed the trophy over to the San Diego Hall of Champions museum rather than the DAC and the Heisman trust. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported June 9 that the trophy is still currently in the museum's possession.
So, yes, it seems clear Bush is either not intending to return the trophy (it having been nearly 10 months now since his announcement) or is simply getting his serious procrastinate on, and hoping everyone forgets about that little pledge in the meantime.
That's not happening, and so Bush is coming in for some finger-wagging and tut-tutting. But here's my question: Should Bush have ever agreed to return the trophy in the first place?
It's true that the trophy is entirely ill-gotten, the benefits lavished on Bush's family having made him ineligible long before he headed to New York to pick it up. It's true that giving it up would be the noble, sportsmanlike thing to do, the most genuine apology Bush could make for the transgressions that have hamstrung and tarnished his former USC program.
But it's not as if the Trust needs it for anything; they've made it clear they're not about to go back and award it to Vince Young. In fact, lost in the race to condemn Bush for not returning it is the little fact that, according to the Picayune, the Trust hasn't even asked for it.
Bush also technically never promised to give it back to begin with, saying that he would "forfeit my title as Heisman winner of 2005" rather than forfeit the actual piece of hardware itself. It's as weaselly as weasel words get, but you also can't argue he didn't leave himself an out.
So if he's not returning it so it can be handed off to someone else, or because he promised to, why are so many college football fans (and writers like Brooks) seemingly so hell-bent on seeing it forfeited? It's simple: we want Bush punished. He did wrong. It's not enough that his name is forever synonymous with scandal and sleaze, that's he's persona non grata at the school which used to adore him, that his name has already been stricken from the Heisman's record books. By breaking the NCAA's rules and then winning the trophy, he stole something from us (and, if you're a Texas fan, stole something from Young). And when you're caught stealing something, you give it back, right?
Right--which is why it's far, far from unfair for the Trust to ask for it returned if they want. But we're also talking about a hunk of metal won for accomplishments now six years in the rearview mirror, and if they're willing to simply move on, the rest of us should too. It would be nice, sure, if Bush was a big enough man to give the trophy up. But if he wants to be the much smaller man who desperately holds onto this one keepsake from from the scattered wreckage of his college football career as a drowning man does a piece of flotsam, I think we can be generous enough to let him.