Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

February 20, 2013

COMMENTARY: NCAA knows 'lack of institutional control'

NEW YORK — The folks at the NCAA finally got around to charging the University of Miami with a lack of institutional control, and if there's one thing you can be confident they still know something about, that's it. No phrase better describes the way the NCAA has gone about its business during the brief tenure of President Mark Emmert.

An outside investigation of how his organization handled the Miami case concluded as much. The report released Monday cited a lack of effective oversight and numerous examples of how its enforcement staff violated the NCAA's own internal policies while conducting its investigation (more on that in a moment), including ignoring advice from its legal counsel. Conveniently, the same outside investigation also decided none of the NCAA's laws or bylaws were broken, meaning that Emmert and any staff members who could claim plausible deniability and haven't already been fired, forced out, resigned or retired likely will hang onto their jobs. Too bad.

Even worse was Emmert's self-serving answer to whether the NCAA's tactics had damaged its credibility.

"The damage is, first of all, for those people who were already skeptical or cynics, this feeds into their cynicism,'' he said Monday. "For those of us who have great confidence in all the people around this building, it's painful to have to deal with an issue that fails to live up to our standards and expectations. I think that's the challenge for all of us that work here.''

That's hardly the only challenge, though, now that the university has decided to fight back.

In September 2010, after widely circulated reports that convicted Ponzi schemer and Hurricane booster Nevin Shapiro had provided Miami players with walk-around money, strip-club trips, prostitutes - and in one case, even paid for an abortion - Miami did what every school that previously faced the NCAA did. It cowered. It self-imposed wide-ranging sanctions - in the hope the NCAA wouldn't pile on - including sitting out two bowl games and a conference football championship game, as well suspending players on both the football and basketball teams and making some pay restitution.

But once Miami found out about the NCAA's by-any-means necessary tactics, university President Donna Shalala decided that was enough.

In a strongly worded statement Monday, she said, "The lengthy and already flawed investigation has demonstrated a disappointing pattern of unprofessional and unethical behavior.''

On Tuesday, with the NCAA's "lack of institutional control'' charge levied against Miami and the sanctions phase of the process about to begin, she was even bolder. "We have suffered enough. ... Many of the charges brought forth are based on the word of a man who made a fortune by lying. The NCAA enforcement staff acknowledged to the University that if Nevin Shapiro, a convicted con man, said something more than once, it considered the allegation `corroborated' - an argument which is both ludicrous and counter to legal practice.''

Ludicrous barely begins to describe the NCAA's conduct in the Miami case.

Ameen Najjar, the veteran investigator who was working the Miami case and has since been fired, arranged to pay Shapiro's lawyer to ask questions he wanted answered while she was deposing her client on another matter. Julie Roe Lach, hand-picked by Emmert to be the NCAA's vice president for enforcement, approved those payments and has also been fired. Former NCAA associate enforcement director Rich Johanningmeier, who retired in 2012, made sure Shapiro could get in touch with the NCAA by purchasing a disposable mobile phone, in addition to paying for Shapiro's use of the prison's phone system - ringing up an $8,200 bill and expensing those costs to the NCAA. Corporate Operating Officer Jim Isch, Emmert's right-hand man, approved some of those expenses, but escaped punishment, the NCAA said, because his role was limited to "addressing only the fiscal issue and not any legal/prudential concerns.''

But the most damning piece of all - at least as it pertains to a lack of institutional control at the NCAA - is that Emmert didn't know about any of this until last fall. And even after he did, Emmert blithely vowed none of the "tainted'' evidence would be used against Miami, and then went ahead Tuesday and dropped the other shoe on the program.

It's hard to say why Emmert never bothered to keep tabs on the Miami case, since his investigators have botched so many others on his watch. The NCAA ended up firing an investigator looking into the case of UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad after she was found to be sharing confidential information. Pennsylvania's governor is suing the NCAA after it levied unprecedented fines against Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

What makes it even more hypocritical is that the organization only months ago notified head coaches that they would be held responsible for the actions of their assistants. Guess that memo got lost in the inter-office mail.

 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • DSC_0344web.jpg ‘Lucky 7’ comes through in the 3rd

    Over the course of his four-year baseball career at Verdigris High School, third baseman Ryan Skalnik has had his share of memorable at-bats.
    None more important than Tuesday’s appearance in the Large School East-West All-State Game at J.L. Johnson Stadium in Tulsa.
    Skalnik, who was the lone senior this season for Verdigris and a four-time Class 3A state champion, thrived under pressure in the top of the third inning for the East.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • BASEBALL: Larue, Skalnik power East to 3-0 victory

    The East blanked the West 3-0 in the Large School All-State Baseball Game Tuesday night at J. L. Johnson Stadium on the campus of Oral Roberts University.
    Claremore catcher Matt Whatley and third baseman Ryan Skalnik of Verdigris represented Rogers County in the contest.
    Skalnik finished 1-for-3 with a pair of RBI's.  Whatley was 0-for-1 with a walk.

    July 30, 2014

  • FISHFRYweb.jpg Claremore QB Club holds Fish Fry Aug. 2

    The Claremore Zebra Quarterback Club will hold its annual Fish Fry fundraiser on Aug. 2 at the Claremore High School cafeteria.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • RSU places 77 student-athletes on Heartland Conference Academic All-Conference Honor Roll

    The Heartland Conference announced that more than 1000 student-athletes from its 12 member institutions landed a spot on the Academic All-Conference honor roll, including 77 from Rogers State.
     
    The Hillcats had 33 student-athletes named to the President's Honor Roll while 44 earned Commissioner's Honor Roll recognition.

    July 31, 2014

  • Indoor football coming back to Enid?

     Is Enid ready to give professional arena football another try? Oklahoma City businessman Antwone Taulton and Enid Enforcers owner Mark Timberlake think so, and are in the early stages of a plan they hope will see the return of arena football in 2015 to Enid after an absence of more than 10 years. And if things progress as one league executive expects, an official announcement could be forthcoming in the near future.

    July 31, 2014

  • OU holds Mixon out of practice, investigation continues

    Preseason practice begins for Oklahoma today, but freshman running back Joe Mixon will not be there, the school announced Wednesday night.

    The university, in its statement, said “Joe Mixon is not reporting for team activities at this time. We will continue to monitor the situation.”

    July 31, 2014

  • Ticket options available for Arkansas women's basketball

    The excitement surrounding head coach Jimmy Dykes and the 2014-15 University of Arkansas women’s basketball season is building every day in Northwest Arkansas.

    As the excitement builds, the Razorback Ticket Center has announced the availability of women’s basketball season ticket plans including several new options for this season.  Tickets go on sale beginning today and can be purchased online at ArkansasRazorbacks.com or by calling the Razorback Ticket Center at 800-982-4647.  Current season ticket holders will receive renewal forms in the mail the first week of August.

    July 31, 2014

  • Ex-OSU baseball players Oliver, Hague on new paths in All-Star season

    Matt Hague has transitioned to being a power hitter and Andy Oliver has evolved into a shutdown closer.

    The former Oklahoma State players were both named International League All-Stars after reinventing themselves this season with the Indianapolis Indians, the Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    July 31, 2014

  • Ex-Sooner Courtney Paris finding niche with Shock

    It looked like it came easily to Courtney Paris. The minute she stepped foot on the campus at the University of Oklahoma in 2005, it seemed she was already an All-American and destroying the competition in the Big 12 and across the nation.

    July 31, 2014

  • MLB: Keuchel tosses 4-hitter, Astros roll past A's

    In at least one category, Dallas Keuchel is Clayton Kershaw's equal. For at least one three-game series, Houston was better than Oakland.

    Keuchel pitched a four-hitter and Robbie Grossman homered to cap a six-run first inning that sent the Astros past the Athletics 8-1 Wednesday.

    July 31, 2014