Posted on: August 22, 2011 4:28 pm
Edited on: August 23, 2011 11:19 am

Rand joins with organization to look into NCAA

A California-based organization seeking to change the NCAA enforcement process has invited representatives from the BCS conferences to attend a kickoff meeting at the end of the month.

College Athletics Protection Association (CAPA) has joined with international think Rand Corp. in what would be an ultimate effort by another party to lobby Congress to change NCAA enforcement procedures. Any effort to approach Congress would need to be done by a separate entity. 

The invitations from CAPA were sent out Thursday. As of Sunday, the organization had not received a confirmation from any of those leagues. However, interim director Daniel Lustyan said high-ranking parties in those leagues have shown interest in attending.

CAPA advocates compliance should be placed in the hands of an independent third party. NCAA penalties are currently decided by the NCAA infractions committee, a nine-member volunteer group of college faculty and sports administrators. CAPA's interest was piqued following the rash of major scandals nationwide. In particular, the Miami scandal. Former Miami AD Paul Dee stood in judgment of USC as chairman of the NCAA infractions committee while his own program was allegedly being gutted by booster Nevin Shapiro.

 "I'm a fan, not a USC alum, just the average citizen," said Lustyan a retired Fresno, Calif., businessman. "Something doesn't sit right."

That Rand is involved has to raise some eyebrows in Washington, D.C., and at the NCAA. Rand is usually associated with the Department of Defense and U.S. policy decisions. Specifically, the Rand Institute for Civil Justice is working with CAPA, already registered as a non-profit orgnaization.

RCJ's mission, according to its website, is to "conduct the highest level of empirical research to address policy questions related to the civil justice system [and] regulatory frameworks ..."

"It's fair and safe to say the current system doesn't work," Lustyan said. "The NCAA is not an objective partner here."

The meeting is Aug. 29-30 at Rand's Santa Monica, Calif., offices.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: August 5, 2011 12:39 pm
Edited on: August 5, 2011 12:42 pm

Feedback: 8/5

A week to go until Ohio State's infractions committee hearing. Good see the Bucks' level-headed fans have accepted reality.

This week's feedback feed bag. Write on ...

From: blueriver

The worst thing about being a running back in the SEC...u have to take a pay cut when you go the NFL.

You're My Boy Blue:

So what you're saying is Mark Ingram needs to tell Trent Richardson to start saving his money?


Good series, one of the problems is the painfully slow investigation process.

What is the NCAA going to know about Cam Newton next year that they didn't know last year? It took four years to rule against Reggie Bush, his parents were openly living in a house provided by a booster. The NCAA needs to start by making the process simpler and quicker. They should have already ruled for or against Oregon. The way they process information allows for too much posturing and media manipulation, by all sides involved.

Somebody Step On A Duck?:

Your last sentence is the most profound.

The NCAA has shortened the length of investigations. I was at The (Mock) Enforcement Experience in May at the NCAA. They made it known that the length of the average case has dropped from more than four years to 10 months.

Good on them. While USC gets a lot more attention, the process has become more streamlined. Ohio State has gone from the Buckeye Five to Indianapolis in less than eight months. North Carolina is about to be hammered in a relatively short amount of time.

What the NCAA has never gotten is public perception. Maybe it doesn't know. Maybe it doesn't care. But because the process is so secretive, it invites speculation. That's not going to change if a case lasts five months or five years.

I think a lot of the mystery would be cleared up if the infractions committee hearings were made public. I'm told that's a non-starter because it would cause witnesses to clam up. The NCAA can compel only players, coaches and administrators. Consider that Jim Tressel is coming to Indianapolis next week out of the goodness of his heart. That, and maybe he wants to work again.

So how does making the hearings public change the NCAA's ability that much to gather information? Investigators can use only on-the-record information to support an allegation. No anonymous sources. Making that public at least would peel back a layer of secrecy and make the process more credible.

From: Fergus

Dennis, I liked the article on the NCAA cheating. I live in the United Kingdom and am involved with football, not soccer, over here. In my experience the only real cheats in the game are the coaches, so the easy solution to the problem is fire the coaches - ALL of them, then ban them for a period of five years afterwards.


And I thought I was a radical.

From: Jeff

You are the Nancy Grace of CFB. Sorry, Nancy Grace. Your intent to start the cleanup in Columbus is misguided. It's like treating the symptom and not the disease. The NCAA should take Michael Jackson's advice and start with the man in the mirror as they are the disease. Ohio State, USC, Oregon, Cam Newton's dad are merely the symptoms.

Headline Newshound:

There is no comparison between us. I'm more handsome than Mr. Grace.


Awesome article about Coach Leach, Mr. Dodd. I haven't always agreed with your opinions, but I agree that Leach was railroaded in Lubbock. I hope he ends up coaching again somewhere. College football players and fans miss him.

Pirate Fan:

Unfortunately, Leach won't be able to bring his special brand of swashbuckling back to the field until his lawsuits are cleared up. I'm beginning to think the legal battle will stretch into 2012 and keep him out of coaching until at least 2013.


I disagree with the use of the words "cheaters" and "cheating" in reference to NCAA off-the-field of play code of conduct violations.

You cheat to win. Accepting money or gifts or meals does not help you win an athletic contest, but it is a violation of the code of conduct. Let's call a spade a spade. The emotional buzz words "cheat" and "cheaters" distort the issue. The problem is third parties, aka sports agents involvement and fair compensation for football players who make millions for the school and NCAA. That is the issue that needs to be addressed , not the fact that cheaters appear to be running rampant.

Trojan Man:

We're arguing semantics. Let's change the word "cheat" to "wrongdoing". I don't care. While those Ohio State players may not have been cheating in the truest sense of the word, they were getting extra benefits that the normal student and the overwhelming majority of their teammates don't get.

It also rendered them retroactively ineligible (just like Reggie Bush). Both USC (by the NCAA) and Ohio State (on their own) vacated wins from the effected seasons. It is assumed that most schools' players don't combine to take five figures in extra benefits (Ohio State) or six figures in houses, trips and cash (Bush).

Both cases involve third parties. Agents with Reggie Bush and a tattoo parlor owner at Ohio State. I think you've made a good case, it just needs to be categorized. There is cheating, wrongdoing and negligence. That about sums up every case.

From: Bama Fan

Hi, Dennis. Nice article about programs and the need to cheat if you want to win. To me, it's kind of like the sport of cycling and the need for the best riders to use performance-enhancing drugs.

You are a great rider and competitor and some guy, heck a lot of guys, who shouldn't even be close to seeing your backside is flying past you up a mountain. You have two choices...Accept it and be an anonymous rider in the pack or get your own performance enhancement drugs!

If you are a competitor, you will, in all likelihood, choose the latter. I grew up an Alabama fan in the 70's and the past 15 years, minus 2008-2011, have been a real trial for me. Not just because of the lack of sustained success on the field. But mainly because of the compliance issues of the program and the mark it has left on the reputation of the university. But I honestly believe that the administration and athletics department at the University of Alabama are now really trying to run a clean program.

The (recent) report of the 36 secondary violations is encouraging to me, actually. It shows the compliance department is doing their job. I think I would be more worried, if they weren't reporting these types of violations. You gotta admit some of this stuff is pretty minor.


It is minor, but it has to be reported. Those secondary violations are just that -- secondary. Basically, no one cares except taunting Auburn fans.

But schools are encouraged to report everything. If not, the NCAA gets suspicious. Everything includes every minor infraction, which usually don't amount to much. What hurts Alabama is that the athletic department has been slapped with four cases involving major violations in the last 14 years (three in football).

Combine that with hyper fans and a little thing like 36 secondaries becomes a big deal. Alabama and the SEC have a long history of wrongdoing. I agree that I think the school is being more vigilant. I also know that the next scandal could be right around the corner. Climbing that mountain almost demands it.


Does the Ereck Plancher trial place George O'Liar in hotter water than his performance would otherwise indicate at UCF?


The answer is easy. George O'Leary has won two of the last four Conference USA titles and taken the Knights to four bowls in the last six years.


Dennis, It sounds like the real story is the fact that Danny Sheridan claims to have a source for 25 years at the NCAA that leaks. REALLY? Wouldn't hurt to look into that...

Reading Between the Li(n)es:

That's one of the first things I thought of. I'm sure Mark Emmert would like to know too. It appears there is at least one mole inside the NCAA enforcement division.

From: Tim

Hey where is the APOLOGY for all the crap about The Ohio State University? I was expecting it yesterday or today.

Get Bucked:

What, did I miss a violation somewhere?

From: Mark

You need the season to begin...games to analyze. You are a loudmouth fool.

Marked Man:

One that you obviously read. Let the games begin. Please.
Posted on: August 4, 2011 1:16 pm
Edited on: August 5, 2011 9:59 am

Breaking down the coaches' top 25

A drive-by reaction to the preseason coaches poll released Thursday. If nothing else, it is another sign that we are closer to actual football.

 Oklahoma is No. 1 in a preseason poll for only the second time in the BCS era (2003 was the other). The Sooners got 42 first-place votes. Alabama is a distant second with 13 first-place votes but is only 40 points away from No. 1 (1,454-1,414). That 1-2 slotting probably will last at least to Game 2. In Week 1, Alabama hosts Kent State. Tulsa goes to Oklahoma.

That also means the winner of No. 3 Oregon and No. 4 LSU in the Jerry Dome isn't likely to jump into the top two.

 Speaking of which, still researching the last time two top five teams met on a neutral field in a season opener. Your input is welcome.

 At least seven of the 25 teams are on probation or are being investigated by the NCAA for major violations: Ohio State, Florida State, Alabama, Oregon, LSU, Boise State, Auburn.

 Of the 11 teams to win championships in the BCS era, eight are in the preseason poll: Auburn, Alabama, Florida, LSU, Texas, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Florida State. Missing: Tennessee, Miami, USC (not eligible).

 You want an early opinion on the season? Ask Tulsa's rookie head coach. Bill Blankenship. His Hurricane play three teams in the top eight in the first month -- No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 7 Boise State and No. 8 Oklahoma State.

 Four of the top five teams play each other in the first three weeks. (LSU-Oregon, FSU-Oklahoma).

 Boise State is the only school in the top eight not playing another school in that group. If the Broncos get into championship contention again, you can already hear the haters.

 The SEC has eight teams in the top 25. That's up from six to end last season. What are the odds that the Strength Everywhere Conference will claim a sixth consecutive national championship? Answer: Good. Very good.

 The SEC (eight), Big 12 and Big Ten (five each) account for 18 of the 25 teams.

 To the surprise of no one, 20 of the 25 teams who ended ranked in 2010 are ranked to begin 2011. Missing: Maryland, Utah, North Carolina State, Central Florida, Nevada.

 The dividing line comes at Arizona State. Penn State is No. 25, three points ahead of the Sun Devils, the first of "others receiving votes."

 The Big East was shut out of the top 25. The highest-ranked BE school is West Virginia at No. 27.

 Defending champion Auburn (No. 19) is by far the lowest-ranked defending champion in the preseason coaches poll in at least nine years. LSU was previously the lowest at No. 6 in 2008 during that period. Others: Alabama, 2010 (No. 1), Florida, 2009 (1), Florida, 2007 (3), Texas, 2006 (2), USC, 2004-2005 (1), Ohio State, 2003 (2), Miami, 2002 (1).

 Fifty teams, 42 percent of FBS, received votes.
Posted on: July 14, 2011 4:57 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 5:00 pm

NCAA checks its swing again in Ga. Tech case

Well, at least Georgia Tech didn't win the ACC in 2009. Right?


I'm sure once the "shame" dies down at Tech over Thursday's NCAA football penalties a lot of folks at the school will "re-examine" their "consciences". Then they'll laugh out loud.

There was absolutely nothing in the NCAA's findings that will deter the next school from cheating. Specifically, that would be coaching a witness (in this case, a Tech player) prior to an NCAA interview.

That would be playing a couple of ineligible athletes in the ACC title game. That would be letting a repeat violator skate after the latest slap on the radiocarpal joint. The NCAA said one thing and did another when it scolded Georgia Tech for -- among other things -- "lack of cooperation" and failing to meet the "conditions and obligations of membership."

Some wise guy on Twitter called the penalties the same as Ohio State, plus a $100,000 fine. The difference is, Ohio State self-penalized and still faces a significant day in NCAA court. This time, the governing body talked big Thursday, stepped into the batter's box, then checked its swing.

This was serious stuff to everyone except the infractions committee that assessed the penalties on Thursday. The COI got so incensed that it applied what has become the default "penalty" for indignation. A vacation of wins -- in this case all of one for the program -- has become like those Biscottis you receive on flights. They look all fancy. They taste like toasted air.

The only people penalized in these type cases are the SIDs who have to edit their media guides to indicate (per NCAA orders) that USC really didn't win the Pac-10 or, in this case, Georgia Tech really didn't win the '09 ACC title.

Yeah, right.

Our Brett McMurphy was the first to report that the ACC is going to vacate that conference title. I'm sure the school is so upset that its next move will be to give back the championship rings and its portion of the BCS bowl money. I'm sure coach Paul Johnson will return the $200,000 bonus he received for winning the title. #sarcasm

The NCAA wants us to believe "this case provides a cautionary tale". The message: If you deceive the NCAA, if you play ineligible players, if you become a candidate for the death penalty, you might get a $100,000 fine, a four-year probation and a whole bunch of Biscottis.
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: June 6, 2011 6:09 pm

USC vacates, is Ohio State next?

Ohio State, you're next.

 Well, maybe, but the non-story that was the BCS finally and absolutely vacating USC's 2004 title on Monday does have implications colored Scarlet and Gray. The way things are trending in Columbus, Ohio State could be the next to vacate a BCS bowl win. A BCS source told me that the same standard would hold for Ohio State if it was forced to vacate this year's Sugar Bowl: Wait until the case is decided and all appeals are exhausted.

 Admittedly, the stakes would be a bit smaller but no less embarrassing. A national championship wasn't involved in Ohio State's 31-26 win over Arkansas. Six players mysteriously reinstated for the bowl somehow were. Five of those six players were key contributors in the win. At issue is how many of those victories will end up standing when the NCAA is through with Ohio State.

 Those six players were cleared by the NCAA to play that particular game but this case has miles to go -- no pun intended re: Terrelle Pryor loaners -- before it is finalized.

 And, no, that doesn't mean Arkansas becomes Sugar Bowl champion if Ohio State vacates. Just like USC in 2004, if the Buckeyes vacate, there likely will be no 2011 Sugar Bowl champion in the BCS' eyes.

 USC is believed to be the first team in the wire service era (since at least 1936) to have a national championship removed. 

Category: NCAAF
Tags: BCS, NCAA, Ohio State, USC
Posted on: May 27, 2011 6:42 pm
Edited on: May 28, 2011 12:34 pm

USC appeal affected by NCAA mistake

 Because of what it says was an "administrative error", the NCAA said Friday it initially misinformed USC about the school's ability to appeal what are a significant portion of its major penalties related in the Reggie Bush case, CBSSports.com has learned.

 USC was given a form last summer incorrectly indicating it had the ability to appeal an unethical conduct charge against former assistant Todd McNair. The NCAA said that once the error was discovered, USC was notified.

 That didn't stop USC from still appealing McNair's penalty. That attempt was admonished by the NCAA when its appeals report was released on Thursday. It said the point was "moot" and that USC "did not have standing" to appeal. The NCAA said Friday that USC knew it could not appeal McNair's penalty before submitting its official written appeal. USC appeared before the NCAA appeals committee to state its case in January.

 On April 29, McNair himself lost his personal appeal to the NCAA to have the charge removed from his record. He intends to sue the NCAA. USC officials could not be reached for comment.

 According to a source, USC was given a notice of appeals form that gave it the opportunity to appeal McNair's finding. That apparently was the "administrative error". The school chose to appeal McNair's penalty, and returned the form to the NCAA which accepted it. Approximately two months later, the source said, the NCAA ruled that USC could not appeal McNair's penalty.

 The NCAA built a significant portion of the case against USC in its assertion that McNair knew about the relationship between Reggie Bush and would-be marketer/convicted felon Lloyd Lake. Bush took thousands of dollars in cash and extra benefits from Lake, according to the NCAA.

 The point is not that USC or McNair would have necessarily won relief from the NCAA if the mistake was not made. The appeals report makes no mention of an error by the NCAA.  In refusing to consider the appeal, the NCAA cited bylaws and that seemingly have little or nothing to do with the right to appeal. (See Page 17) says only that a school may not request an in-person appearance before the appeals committee unless the institution had made an in-person appearance before the infractions committee. says only that an individual can appeal:

 "An involved individual may appeal the Committee on Infractions' findings and/or show cause order imposed for violations of NCAA legislation in which he or she is named."

 That's where it gets murky. When this brought this up to the NCAA,  a spokesperson said  "generally speaking" a school cannot appeal findings imposed on an individual. So already we've got  1) an administrative error by the NCAA; 2) questionable interpretations by the Legislative Review and Interpretations Committee and 3) a slammed-door in USC's face changed to "generally speaking."

 CBSSports.com was able to find an Alabama case from 1995 -- 16 years ago -- when the school was allowed to appeal a faculty rep's penalties. When that bit of information was emailed to the NCAA, CBSSports.com was told that the appeals process was much different in 1995. Back then appeals had to be heard together. That was changed in January 1996 to separate the appeals between school and individual to make the process more fair.

 Then CBSSports.com came across a 1994 case where a Texas State baseball coach found guilty of unethical conduct was able to appeal as an individual. An NCAA spokesperson explained that the coach's ability to appeal was dependent on the school filing a notice of appeal.


Category: NCAAF
Tags: NCAA, Reggie Bush, USC
Posted on: May 26, 2011 12:41 am
Edited on: May 26, 2011 8:50 am

USC almost certain to lose '04 title

It now seems a certainty that USC will vacate its 2004 BCS title after losing its appeal of crippling NCAA penalties. CBSSports.com's Bryan Fischer reported Wednesday that USC had been notified that the NCAA had rejected the school's appeal. An official announcement from the NCAA is expected on Thursday.

The BCS has maintained for months that it would vacate the title only after the case was concluded.  More than five years since Yahoo! Sports broke the story of Reggie Bush's extra benefits, the case now seems finished. USC AD Pat Haden is expected to say Thursday that the school will take no further action.

BCS executive director Bill Hancock told reporters in July, "If USC loses the appeal, the [2004] championship will be vacated. And the feeling is in our group, the commissioners group, is that there was not a game, no game happened."

Hancock added at the time, "They [commissioners] will vacate, they will not elevate anyone," referring to the 12 school presidents who make up the BCS Oversight Committee.

"The presidents could decide to do something else, but I think it's most likely that they will vacate it."

Early Thursday, Hancock reiterated that no other team would be elevated to win the BCS title. "It would simply be vacated," he said in an email.

Prior to the NCAA's official release of the appeal denial, Hancock also said Thursday: "If, at the conclusion of the NCAA’s process, it is determined that an ineligible athlete participated in one of the BCS games, then the commissioners and Presidential Oversight Committee members will consider whether vacation of the team’s participation in a BCS game—or vacation of the championship, in this case—is warranted. There is no set timetable for the group’s consideration of the matter, but I expect it would happen sooner, rather than later."

If they decide to take action, the oversight committee's decision would most likely be unanimous. If USC loses its title it would mark the first such occurrence in college football since at least the beginning of the wire service era in 1936. USC is expected to keep its '04 title in the AP poll. Instead, it would essentially be stripped of its final No. 1 ranking in the coaches' poll. The winner of the BCS title game is mandated to finish No. 1 in the final version of that poll.

On June 10, the NCAA vacated 14 victories from USC's 2004 and 2005 seasons as part of the penalties stemming from the Bush investigation. Bush essentially competed while ineligible for two seasons because he had taken money and benefits from marketers trying to win him as client when he turned pro.

Because the NCAA doesn't stage a championship in Division I-A football, it has no control over the BCS championship process. 

The Football Writers Association of America last year stripped USC of the '04 title and asked the school to return its Grantland Rice Trophy that goes with the honor. The Heisman Trust vacated Bush's winning of the 2005 Heisman Trophy. 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: April 29, 2011 12:09 pm
Edited on: April 29, 2011 12:10 pm

Statement in Todd McNair case

The following is a statement from Todd McNair's lawyer after the NCAA formally denied his client's appeal on Friday. Scott Tompsett has had 20 years' experience representing coaches in NCAA cases. He has been involved in more than 50 such cases:

"Mr. McNair is disappointed in the decision, but he’s not surprised. After all, the NCAA publicly endorsed the Infractions Committee’s decision last June before we had even filed the notice of appeal. And NCAA President Mark Emmert said last December – while the Infractions Appeals Committee was still deliberating the appeal -  that he believed the Infractions Committee got the USC case right. So, today’s decision simply confirms what the NCAA leadership had already decreed publicly.  

"Dr. Emmert also recently said it’s important for the NCAA to get the facts right in an infractions case. He’s correct; the NCAA owes it to involved parties, the NCAA membership and the public to get the facts right. The NCAA should get the facts right when it ends a coach’s career.  

"But Dr. Emmert apparently wasn’t referring to the USC case when he talked about getting the facts right, because the Infractions Committee mischaracterized and manipulated key testimony. The Infractions Committee based Mr. McNair’s unethical conduct finding on demonstrably false statements. The Infractions Committee based its decision on inconsistent and contradictory findings. And today the Infractions Appeal Committee said that’s OK.  

"Mr. McNair had hoped the Infractions Appeal Committee would set aside his unethical conduct finding so he can try to resume his career. The decision today makes that very difficult.  

"Mr. McNair wants to thank the media outlets that have reported on his case. Several articles by USCFootball.com have reported on the numerous errors committed by the NCAA in Mr. McNair’s case. ESPN.com said the NCAA’s handling of McNair’s case was sloppy and arbitrary, and called McNair’s appeal strong and compelling. ESPN.com also said the NCAA’s finding offends any notion of fair play. SI.com said the NCAA’s evidence against McNair was questionable at best. These are not Mr. McNair’s statements; they are conclusions of independent media outlets.  

"Moreover, according to reports, the United States Congress is considering holding investigative hearings into the NCAA’s enforcement procedures, in part because of the NCAA’s mishandling of Mr. McNair’s case.  It appears the NCAA stands alone in believing Mr. McNair is guilty of a major violation.  

"Mr. McNair is now considering legal action to remedy the injustice he has suffered. This has been a very difficult and trying experience for Mr. McNair and his family. He wants to publicly thank his many supporters for their interest in his case and unwavering support."
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com