When you can’t show cause for your show cause

Not a good day for the NCAA.

One of the NCAA’s go-to sanctions is no longer legal in California.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Frederick Shaller issued a final decision Tuesday finding the “show-cause” penalty the NCAA issued against former USC assistant football coach Todd McNair violated state law.

Shaller’s eight-page decision voided the show-cause provision of NCAA bylaws because it constituted an “unlawful restraint” on McNair’s pursuing a lawful profession.

“McNair’s ability to practice his profession as a college football coach has been restricted, if not preempted, not only in Los Angeles, but in every state in the country,” Shaller wrote.

The judge added that the decision would “allow NCAA and member schools to conform their conduct to the law and prevent future litigation.”

Gotta love a jurist with a sense of humor.  Or, more accurately, one who combines a sense of humor with a first-rate bullshit detector.

Last month, the NCAA filed a declaration from Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott warning that the judge’s tentative decision, if made final, could threaten the NCAA membership of all four of the conference’s California schools.

“If California law prevents institutions in that state from honoring such commitments, it is hard to see how the Pac-12’s Member Universities in California could continue to meet the requirements of NCAA membership,” Scott wrote.

The NCAA also filed a declaration from Big West Commissioner Dennis Farrell expressing concern that conference schools could no longer rely on the NCAA’s disciplinary mechanisms if the show-cause penalty wasn’t legal.

Shaller dismissed those concerns in a separate filing Tuesday.

“The opinions of these two witnesses are completely speculative and irrelevant to the issue …” Shaller wrote. “The proposed testimony of Scott and Farrell is deemed inadmissible and is not considered.”

But Larry Scott’s a genius! Just look at the size of his paycheck.

Oh, let the sputtering in Indianapolis commence.

In a statement, the NCAA said: “The NCAA disagrees with the court’s ruling, which is wrong as a matter of law and does not impact Todd McNair’s show-cause order that expired more than six years ago. We will explore all avenues for relief to ensure that NCAA member schools in California can continue to abide by the same rules as the rest of the NCAA’s membership.”

Good luck with that, fellas.  In the meantime, Hugh Freeze thinks he may have found his personal land of opportunity.


Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

9 responses to “When you can’t show cause for your show cause

  1. CB

    I wonder how the judge would feel about transfer restrictions for athletes.


  2. I agree with the NCAA on this one. The coaches know the rules before they sign their contract. Their adults and should act like it.


  3. It violates this judges version of the law. Today MANY judges use their position to make or shape laws in their image rather than simply molding the laws into the shape of the constitution. The coach signed a legal contract saying he would abide by the rules of a private organization.


  4. 69Dawg

    Most every state in the Union has laws that limit non competes. They usually measure two things, length of non compete and geographic area of restriction. Coaches in area’s that hate non competes (the south) should go after the NCAA. If I was Freeze I’d be all in on this one. Additionally, the one year rule for athletes seems reasonable but the restrictions some coaches try to attach could be challenged I think. Yes I am a retired lawyer not just somebody that spent the night at a Holiday Inn.


  5. South FL Dawg

    I’m conflicted. On the basis of the law the judge didn’t have a choice, but it’s protecting the cheaters in this case.