Daily Archives: February 5, 2017

Pictures, or it didn’t happen.

If you don’t remember Terrell Davis playing in Athens — and between Garrison Hearst and Ray Goff, that’s understandable — Patrick Garbin has proof Davis suited up in the red and black.

Somebody else remembers.

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46 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

What if it were your daughter?

It was definitely thought provoking reading some of your comments in response to my last post about Art Briles.  While I certainly have my share of misgivings about the way sexual assault claims are handled by schools sometimes, it’s fair to say that I have even greater misgivings about Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Donald Trump being the perfect vessels to bring greater fairness and clarity to the system.

That being said, aside from my ad hominems, there are a few basic issues, some specific to Baylor, others more general, that make it hard for me to decide what would make for a better system.  I’m curious to hear more from you about whether you share any of my qualms.

  1. Baylor’s problems don’t stem from Title IX enforcement.  Remember, the university didn’t even have a Title IX office until November 2014 and none of the coaches there ever received proper training.  Would things have gone differently if it had?  There’s no way to know, of course, but it’s hard to think of a way a Title IX office could have made things worse.
  2. Schools and their attendant athletic departments are bureaucracies.  The most reflexive thing bureaucracies do when facing threats is to circle the wagons in an attempt to protect their own.  A recent example of that can be found at the University of Colorado, where the school’s first reaction in response to being notified that one of its assistant coaches was a serial assaulter was to lock it down before being forced to face up to dismissing him.
  3. Expecting police departments and prosecutors in football towns to be able to provide an adequate venue in which to investigate assault claims is a hit and miss proposition at best.  Do I really need to bring up places like Knoxville and Tallahassee as a reminder?  Or the Duke lacrosse scandal?  Or the convenient collegiality between Huntley Johnson and the Gainesville prosecutor?  Even if you’re in a jurisdiction where the local justice personnel are willing to do their jobs professionally, what good is that in the face of a school that is prepared to do what it takes to keep information away and discourage witnesses from bringing charges?

On the flip side, how can you not be outraged about what happened with those kids at Minnesota, assuming what they allege is accurate?

The players got a two-day appeal hearing last week to argue their case. Pacyga said the players were pressured into speaking with the Title IX investigator and threatened that they could not practice until they did. And several of the players testified Friday that some of the comments that were attributed to them in the report were inaccurate. He also said the panel was not allowed to see a 90-second video that police officers reviewed that he claims proves the woman consented to sex with at least two of the players and the players also were denied individual hearings and instead were grouped together, despite the fact that five players were not accused of having any sexual contact with the woman.

“You walk into them and the deck is stacked against you if you’re an accused student in these hearings,” Pacyga said.

That ain’t right.

If there’s a common thread running through all of this, it’s leverage and what’s convenient for a school.  Maybe Minnesota shows that student-athletes on their own are deserving of more due process protection than a school wielding its Title IX office as a sword for its own ends rather than as a shield for the victims is willing to provide.  On the other hand, maybe what’s needed in the face of a school trying to protect its own is an even more forceful Title IX presence to force it to confront institutional actors more concerned about winning sports programs than making sure that innocent victims of sexual assault have redress.

I admit there aren’t a lot of easy answers here, human nature being what it is.  But I also have to figure that while we hear much about the places where things get out of control, there are also institutions that have come up with ways to balance the competing issues that, while not perfect, are better than what we see at Waco or Knoxville.  And better than what we’re likely to see come from Ian McCaw’s new boss.  I don’t think it’s reasonable to ask anyone with college-aged daughters to expect less.

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Filed under Baylor Is Sensitive To Women's Issues

Amateurs. What are you gonna do?

In a classic late Friday afternoon news dump move, the NCAA announced it settled the Alston case.

Thousands of college athletes who received traditional sports scholarships rather than a new version that covers the full cost of attending school will be compensated for the difference under a $208.7 million settlement reached Friday night between the NCAA and plaintiffs in a presumptive class-action antitrust lawsuit against the association and 11 major conferences.

The deal, which must be approved by a federal judge, would be the second-largest legal settlement in the NCAA’s history. Similar litigation in a case led by Stanford football football player Jason White ended in 2008 with an agreement worth just under $230 million.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers sound pretty darn happy.  And why shouldn’t they be?

“We’re very pleased that we could get a 100% settlement for these kids,” Steve Berman, the plaintiffs’ lead attorney, told USA TODAY Sports. “It’s very unusual to get 100% in a settlement.”

The NCAA would have you believe it paid 100 cents on the dollar because it’s all about helping the kids.

“The agreement maintains cost of attendance as an appropriate dividing line between collegiate and professional sports,” the NCAA said in a statement. “In fact, the NCAA and conferences only settled this case because the terms are consistent with Division I financial aid rules, which allow athletics-based aid up to the full cost of obtaining a college education. Whenever possible and appropriate, the NCAA prefers to provide benefits to student-athletes rather than incur the ongoing cost of lawyers and legal processes.”

If only it were possible and appropriate a few years ago.

Of course that’s a load of crap.  The real reason was the NCAA stood to lose a lot more than 100% of the claimed damages.

While the settlement (if approved) will require the NCAA to pay $208.7 million, it will not require the NCAA to admit any wrongdoing. This is not surprising. A settlement is not an admission of guilt. It is a contract where the defendant and plaintiff agree on an arrangement that both find preferable to continuing the litigation. It is possible, if not likely, that NCAA attorneys were confident they would have ultimately prevailed in a trial against Alston and other players. But any such confidence would have come with a major risk—the risk of losing. Along those lines, we know it is worth at least $208.7 million for the NCAA to terminate this litigation, otherwise the NCAA would not have agreed to the terms of this settlement.

So what does the NCAA gain from a settlement that, if approved would require the NCAA to pay such a hefty fee? Perhaps most important, the NCAA eliminates the possibility of the “worst case” scenario occurring: losing the case, having to pay much more than $208.7 million and being forced to radically change its governing rules. The NCAA also cuts off any further obligations to share evidence or partake in depositions that might reveal damaging information about the NCAA and its officials.

The NCAA’s done a lot of agreeing recently in antitrust cases, more than $300 million’s worth in just the last three years alone.  And for all its brave talk that it will “continue to vigorously oppose the remaining portion of the lawsuit seeking pay for play”, the more it settles these, the more the lawyers in the outstanding litigation — which includes Alston, by the way, as those plaintiffs are seeking an injunction that would nullify the current limits — smell blood.  Jeffrey Kessler is still out there and he’s not going away.

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Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA