With more evidence this week of a planned push-back against the NCAA by the so-called power conferences, ESPN’s Outside the Lines has done investigative work into the governing body’s troubles and what appears to be selective enforcement practices.
Mike Fish and Dana O’Neil report that former NCAA staffers describe what the report calls “questionable practices” including in this excerpt:
- Targeting specific head coaches and programs presumed as being ‘dirty,’ particularly within a separate in-house group investigating basketball.
- Enforcement and NCAA staff sharing and reviewing information about student-athlete academic transcripts at various times with the media, a violation of federal privacy laws.
The staffers point the finger at current NCAA president Mark Emmert whom they say “has charged his investigators to think outside the box to unearth information and adhere more strictly to timetables to wrap up investigations quickly.”
OTL also compares how the NCAA handled a case involving Division III Concordia College compared with its handling of the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal at Penn State. The Concordia baseball coach, Skip Lempesis, was fired after at least one player alleged that the coach had him make a pornographic video to relieve a debt.
According to ESPN:
Two years prior, when Lempesis was still Concordia’s coach, top NCAA enforcement officials were informed by the university of alleged inappropriate sexual conduct on his part involving at least one of his college athletes — as well as potential NCAA rules violations — but were content with the school’s prompt firing of Lempesis and walked away without ever investigating, “Outside the Lines” has found.
That was far from the way the Penn State case was handled when the body slammed the school with sanctions, relying on the investigation done by former FBI Director Louis Freeh.
And this excerpt from the first of the two OTL stories:
Several staffers have left, including two NCAA enforcement directors and five investigators, and some claim that the same executive branch that is pushing to make cases won’t support its investigators in the end.
“I know people who have worked there for 10 years,” one source said. “They said the first nine years and the last one are completely different. It’s not a good place to work right now.”
One of those staffer is Rachel Newman Baker, UK’s new senior associate athletic director for compliance who was previously the NCAA’s managing director enforcement for development and investigations.
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