Category Archives: The NCAA

Today’s reminder that the NCAA is all about the kids

An Eastern Michigan player who transferred from Michigan will not be allowed to travel with the Eagles for their trip to the Bahamas Bowl later this month, according to his post on Facebook.

Samuelson wrote that an NCAA rule blocked him from traveling to the game because he hadn’t yet spent two full semesters at Eastern Michigan, despite spending the full season practicing on EMU’s scout team.

“What aggravates me so much is that a student athlete like myself is penalized in so many aspects for making a decision that ultimately is better for them in every aspect. A coach can leave at any moment and join another team with no penalties whatsoever. What does that say about how we are truly viewed? Not well, I’d say.”

It’s a learning experience, son.  That’s what the NCAA is all about.

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Filed under Georgia Football, The NCAA

Persona non grata

So, Barney Farrar, who went from being Laremy Tunsil’s go-to piggy bank to being placed on administrative leave by Ole Miss after news of that came to light, will now embark on the next stage of his employment journey.

Hope you’re not looking for a letter of recommendation, sport.  By this time next year, Hugh Freeze won’t acknowledge you ever worked for him.

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Filed under SEC Football, The NCAA

We’ll always have Emmert.

Because, if you’ve run the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, nothing says “old school” like postseason expansion.

And you know what?  A sixteen-team playoff lets all the conference champions in!

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, The NCAA

Is the NCAA starting to wise up?

There are encouraging signs that the parties to the cost of attendance lawsuit filed by Steve Berman may be on the verge of settling.

Lawyers for the NCAA, FBS conferences and plaintiffs involved in a cost of attendance lawsuit filed a motion Monday to “indefinitely” delay their case, strongly suggesting they’re close to reaching a damages settlement.

Settling the case could pay former and current NCAA athletes for cost of attendance stipends the NCAA previously didn’t allow them to receive. The lawsuit, filed in 2014 by former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston and later consolidated with other cases, claimed the NCAA and the conferences violated antitrust law by capping the value of an athletic scholarship at less than the actual cost of attending college.

In a joint motion Monday, the NCAA, conferences and plaintiffs wrote, “The parties agree that it is in the interests of justice and efficient management of the litigation to continue indefinitely the remaining dates related to the proceedings on Plaintiffs’ motion for certification of damages classes.”

That would be nice.  But it’s only one case and the big mother is still out there swimming around.

In a separate part of this case and a related lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken already granted class-action status to groups of athletes challenging the NCAA’s new cost-of-attendance limits. That case, which is jointly led by Berman and prominent sports attorney Jeffrey Kessler, is commonly referred to as the Kessler case. One of the lead plaintiffs is current Wisconsin basketball star Nigel Hayes. The Kessler case seeks an injunction that would eliminate the NCAA’s new limits.

Kessler, who said he is unaware if the damages case has been settled, said his case would not be impacted by such a settlement. Additional depositions are trying to be scheduled in January for the injunctive case, and discovery will likely end by late January or early February, Kessler said.

“We’re going full forward with our discovery and moving forward with injunctive relief,” Kessler said.

Of course, that’s a much tougher pill for the NCAA and the schools to swallow.  But I suspect discovery will be as embarrassing for them as it’s been before.  Glad I’m not in Stacey Osburn’s shoes.

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Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

Oh, so NOW they’re not talking.

Barney Farrar, the dude who came to national attention on NFL draft night when some of Laremy Tunsil’s texts about needing money were exposed, has been placed on administrative leave.  And suddenly, the sounds of silence emanate from Oxford.

Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork declined to comment on the situation, as did a university spokesman. Attempts by The Clarion-Ledger to reach Farrar were unsuccessful.

Hugh Freeze wouldn’t comment on the matter Wednesday.

I guess all that’s left to find out is if Farrar turns out to be the scapegoat or the canary in the coal mine.

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Filed under SEC Football, The NCAA

“They don’t have rules to cover four-year, multiyear scholarships.”

This looks like it has the potential to be one big, ugly lawsuit.

Why was Vassar’s athletic scholarship revoked? The lawsuit quoted a letter purportedly from Northwestern’s deputy general counsel that said Vassar breached his July 2015 “contract” because he worked fewer than 8 hours per week and submitted fraudulent timecards to the athletic department.

Vassar appealed the decision to Northwestern’s Athletic Aid Appeals Committee. At the hearing, Northwestern submitted what it claimed to be Vassar’s fake timecards, even though somebody else’s name was crossed out on one timecard and Vassar’s first name was misspelled on another. The lawsuit showed copies of the timecards, including one that misspelled the player’s name as “Johnie.”

“One timecard said he worked on March 26, but we showed credit card payments that he made purchases in California that day while there for his father’s funeral,” Cherise said. “They knew then they had no case.”

Vassar won his appeal on May 4, 2016. The appeals committee wrote that Northwestern’s athletic department “has not provided sufficient information for a removal of your athletics scholarship,” and Vassar didn’t come to Northwestern “with the expectation that you would be doing maintenance work.”  [Emphasis added.]

Given the history, that’s spectacularly tone deaf, Northwestern.  Brilliantly played.

Cherise said the NCAA, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment, told her it’s never been in a situation quite like this with an athlete in such limbo.

For once, I don’t blame Stacey Osburn for keeping quiet.

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Filed under Look For The Union Label, See You In Court, The NCAA

Sexual assault, with honor

Good to see the healing in Waco proceeds.

Billionaire businessman Drayton McLane, who name adorns the Baylor University football stadium, said Thursday he wants to see fired football coach Art Briles’ honor “restored” and any evidence that led to his dismissal publicly released by the school’s board of regents.

Yeah, because if nothing else comes out of the whole mess, at least they can see to it that Art Briles gets his mojo back.

Fortunately, the NCAA is willing to pitch in and do its part to help the process along.

With Baylor University at war with itself over the firing of its football coach in the wake of a sexual-assault scandal, this qualifies as good news: The NCAA is not planning to bring the hammer down on Baylor the way it did Penn State.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association has notified Baylor that it won’t exert its executive authority to impose sweeping sanctions against the school for broad institutional failings, and will instead follow its normal investigative process, according to people familiar with the matter.

Honestly, no one should be surprised by that.  Some of Mark Emmert’s chickens have come home to roost, that’s all.

The NCAA decision indicates Baylor—at least for now—will not be subject to the sort of harsh sanctions the NCAA imposed on Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child-molestation scandal. That case, in which the former assistant football coach was convicted of abusing boys over a 15-year period, was viewed by many as a potential precedent for Baylor since it also involved alleged criminal activity within the athletic department but not clear-cut NCAA violations.

Under pressure from the NCAA, which cited a broad “failure of institutional integrity,” Penn State after the Sandusky scandal vacated 111 wins under Coach Joe Paterno, accepted a four-year bowl ban, reduced football scholarships and agreed to pay $60 million to fight child abuse. Many of those sanctions have since been vacated after a series of legal challenges.

The NCAA’s aggression in the Penn State case “really backfired,” says B. David Ridpath, an Ohio University professor of sports administration. “I doubt you will ever see the NCAA do anything like that again.”

As some warned at the time, there are inevitable consequences when the head of a powerful organization decides to run off on his own and disregard established rules and protocols to show the world his oversized concern about a matter.

If it all works out the way things appear to be headed, rest assured that nobody at Baylor or the NCAA will have any lasting regrets.  Nice for them.

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Filed under Baylor Is Sensitive To Women's Issues, The NCAA