Category Archives: The NCAA

Death penalty for players?

I get that rules are rules and this is a rule:

Fulton’s suspension is based off of an alleged tampering violation that occurred following the 2016 season.

The NCAA rulebook states, “A student-athlete who is involved in a case of clearly observed tampering with an NCAA drug-test sample, as documented per NCAA drug-testing protocol by a drug-testing crew member, shall be charged with the loss of a minimum of two seasons of competition in all sports and shall remain ineligible for all regular-season and postseason competition during the time period ending two calendar years (730 days) from the date of the tampering.”

… but does anyone find the NCAA’s priorities here a little out of whack?  Two years for pee-tampering, nothing for assault?



Filed under The NCAA

I do not think “sweeping change” means what you think it means.

Shorter Larry Scott:  Changing the amateurism model isn’t “within the scope” of the Pac-12 task force appointed to make recommendations for cleaning up college basketball, but urging the NBA to change its business model is.

These guys are convinced nothing is their fault.


Filed under Pac-12 Football, The NCAA

Black market blues

The more I read about the FBI investigation of college basketball, the less convincing it seems.  And I wasn’t very convinced when the news first dropped.

First of all, the heart of the matter is this:  the feds are attempting to criminalize NCAA rules violations.

The charges at the core of these cases are based on an unusual legal theory that casts universities — who stood to benefit from recruits playing for wildly profitable basketball teams — as victims of fraud. What prosecutors call bribes, legal experts note, would be considered signing bonuses and referral fees in other industries. The payments are illicit only because the NCAA prohibits amateur athletes from making money from their talents and bars coaches from facilitating, and profiting from, meetings between agents and athletes.

“If you take away the NCAA rules, there’s no criminal case here,” said Randall Eliason, a former federal prosecutor and law professor at George Washington University. “There are some legitimate questions about whether this was a wise use of resources.”

There are more questions than that, it seems to me.  But that’s a good place to start.

Perhaps a good place to finish is by asking who’s been hurt.

The prosecution’s theory of the case has raised eyebrows in legal circles. Gatto, Code and Dawkins defrauded Louisville and Miami, prosecutors argue, by conspiring to pay families of top recruits to ensure they attended the schools, despite knowing this would break NCAA rules. Their scheme “created a risk of tangible economic harm,” the indictment states, because if these payments came to light, the NCAA could have penalized Louisville and Miami, potentially depriving the schools of revenue disbursements from the lucrative men’s basketball tournament.

Perhaps the most notable criticism of this theory has come from Eliason, former assistant U.S. attorney in D.C. who specialized in white collar crime and ran his district’s public corruption unit for two years.

The typical fraud case, Eliason explained in a phone interview, includes a few hallmarks: an intent to harm the victim, deception and a benefit at the victim’s expense.

“Those are all absent here. These guys didn’t want to harm the universities; they wanted to help them . . . and according to the prosecutors, they were working with top representatives of these universities’ basketball programs,” Eliason said. “How can you say the university was deceived?”

This is like the worm eating itself.

According to Haney, the lawyer for Dawkins, this theory is particularly dubious with regards to Louisville, which just became the first school in the history of the NCAA to be stripped of a men’s basketball title, over an earlier scandal in which a basketball assistant hired prostitutes to entertain teenage recruits.

“They were documented to be entertaining recruits with strippers and prostitutes, and now this same school has somehow been victimized by my client?” Haney said. “They got what they wanted: a five-star recruit. . . . They’ve made millions of dollars off of five-star recruits, and they’ve cheated to get them.”

It seems logically inconsistent to punish a criminal victim, but that’s just what the NCAA did with Louisville.  Now it’s the federal criminal system’s turn to have a crack.

The four assistant coaches arrested, accused of taking bribes to steer recruits to Dawkins, a business manager and specialty suitmaker, are scheduled for separate trials in the early 2019. Those cases involve a longer list of criminal counts — including conspiracy to commit bribery and solicitation of bribes — but NCAA rules again are central to the cases. The victims of these bribery schemes, the indictments state, are not the athletes these coaches agreed to influence but the schools, under the same legal theory that the coaches’ actions exposed Auburn, Oklahoma State, Arizona and Southern California to potential NCAA penalties.

“The criminality of all of these cases rest upon these NCAA rules,” Eliason said. “Maybe the NCAA needs to clean house . . . but should it really be the subject of this massive federal criminal investigation, when nobody was harmed?”

This is nuts.  Especially when you consider the bottom line reason this stuff goes on.

These figures may seem exorbitant for the services of a teenage basketball player, but according to one economist, they’re likely bargains. For his 2016 paper, “Paying NCAA Athletes,” David Berri, a professor at Southern Utah University, analyzed the finances of the 2014-15 Duke team that won the national championship and speculated about how much money the players would have earned if, like in the NBA, they shared about 50 percent of the team’s revenue. That Duke team generated $33.7 million, according to data the school filed with the Department of Education. If Duke had been forced to pay its players half of that, the average player would have made $1.4 million, Berri calculated.

“And that’s just average. The top players in college basketball are worth well over $2 million or $3 million per year,” Berri said. “If you’re paying $100,000 to get one of these players on campus, that’s a good deal.”

Creating a false economy and then watching things spiral out of control is peak NCAA.  Yeah, I’m sure they’ll do a great job cleaning house.

I’m looking forward to the coming bang-up job to clean up college football, too.


Filed under Crime and Punishment, The NCAA


It’s amazing to consider that in just a few short weeks, Nick Chubb’s market value went from being impossible to calculate to this.

I tells ‘ya, those Nike folks are wizards.

It’s either that, or some of you are full of shit when it comes to wondering out loud how in the world a student-athlete would be able to establish his market value.


Filed under It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant, It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Larry Scott has an idea.

And it’s a doozy, too.

On the Pac-12 task force recommendations for cleaning up college basketball:

“I can’t speak to the specifics of the recommendations now because they have not been vetted yet with our presidents and chancellors, and not formally approved, but I can share is that there are four baskets of recommendations…

“The fourth big bucket will be around NCAA enforcement. The FBI allegations and the revelations from the U.S. Attorney’s Office have certainly brought into focus some of the challenges the NCAA and their enforcement apparatus have. Certainly the FBI’s got powers that the NCAA doesn’t have, to be sure, but I think it’s been a bit of a wake-up call for many leaders in college sports that there needs to be more resources thrown at NCAA enforcement, higher caliber, maybe some outsourcing of what they do, and we’ve got more details around that that will be in our proposals.”

Subpoena powers?  “Outsourcing”?  Jesus.  Extremism in defense of amateurism, just what Mark Emmert’s folks need.  What could go wrong?



Filed under The NCAA

Today, in doing it for the kids

I can’t help but juxtapose the NCAA’s stated defense of its transfer rules…

… with this Lebron James quote.

“I do know what five-star athletes bring to a campus, both in basketball and football,” he said. “I know how much these college coaches get paid. I know how much these colleges are gaining off these kids.”

“I’ve always heard the narrative that they get a free education,” he added, “but you guys are not bringing me on campus to get an education. You guys are bringing me on it to help you get to a Final Four or to a national championship.”

You could say that’s a matter of perspective.  You could also say there’s a vast difference in the levels of bullshit on display there.  In the end, it’s what you get when an organization is forced to defend a system that really isn’t defensible.


Filed under The NCAA

First thing, let’s hire all the lawyers.

If you’re an attorney, the NCAA is kind of a dream client — awash with money, stubborn as hell, unwilling to compromise, etc.  The result?  Cha-ching!

In a separate response to questions from USA TODAY Sports, the NCAA said that its expenses for fiscal 2017 also included approximately $36 million for outside legal counsel. In 2016, according to the NCAA’s federal tax records, it had nearly $33.5 million in outside legal expenses.

From 2014 through 2017, the NCAA has totaled more than $108 million in outside legal fees. That amount does not include the $42.3 million in attorney’s fees and costs U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken awarded in March 2016 to lawyers representing the plaintiffs in the Ed O’Bannon antitrust case. The NCAA has appealed that decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard oral arguments on the matter three weeks ago.

$150 million… goodness.  That could fund a helluva lot of scholarships, methinks.

Of course that’s not how the NCAA thinks.  At least not with regard to how to spend savings.  But the savings themselves?  I’ve got to think even Emmert’s a little appalled about how much the organization is spending on legal assistance.  Maybe that would explain outsourcing enforcement work to a shop that doesn’t charge clients for its work.


Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA