The NCAA is spending money in Washington, preparing for the day when it asks for an antitrust exemption. The big argument you can expect it to make about why it needs the protection will be about the academic mission.
And that’s why this letter was written.
In a letter dated April 28 and released Thursday by attorney Michael Hausfeld’s office, two lawyers wrote that continued Congressional examination is needed due to “the apparent inconsistencies and divergences in positions taken by the NCAA” before the senate committee last July and in federal court. The letter from Hausfeld and attorney Bob Orr, who are suing North Carolina and the NCAA in relation to the academic scandal at North Carolina, was addressed to Sens. John Thume, Bill Nelson, Jerry Moran and Richard Blumenthal.
“In the course of the (July 2014 Senate) hearing, representatives of the NCAA, including its President, Dr. Mark Emmert, testified, in essence, that the mission and commitment of the NCAA was to provide and assure a meaningful education for these athletes,” Hausfeld and Orr wrote. “Subsequent events and information, however, have raised serious doubts about the accuracy of that representation.”
The letter released by Hausfeld, who is also the lead attorney in the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit, cited the NCAA’s recent court filing in the Rashanda McCants lawsuit that stated the association has no responsibility to ensure “the academic integrity of the courses offered” at schools. The Hausfeld letter also cited a legal statement by the NCAA that it has no role in “the quality of the education student-athletes received at member institutions or to protect student-athletes from the independent, voluntary acts of those institutions or their employees.”
The NCAA has a sincerity problem. That’s the price you pay when you fight so many battles with conflicting priorities.
The exemption hearings should be a real hoot.