Friday, June 27, 2008

More on the failure to monitor charge.

First, here's the letter (hat-tip: Inside the Hall). It was faxed to Ice Miller on June 19, so IU has had it for a week. The IU hearing took place on June 13 and June 14, so the Committee on Infractions didn't waste any time in adding this additional charge against IU.

Before discussing the substance, I'll skip to the end. IU has three response options: 1) do nothing, and rest on the earlier presentation; 2) file a written response; or 3) file a written response and request an additional hearing. Based on IU's stated intent to "vigorously" contest these charges, I would guess that IU will choose option 3. The downside of that option is that it could delay the proceedings. And, of course, my track record of predictions concerning this scandal is not good.

The NCAA lists six "particular instances" of failure to monitor:

a) Failure to adhere to the self-imposed corrective actions set forth in IU's August 1, 2006 report to the NCAA (this was IU's adoption of the Oklahoma sanctions, I think, although I can't find the document online, as it predates this blog);

b) the "scope and nature" of IU's violations of E, F, and L of the report sanctioning Oklahoma. E reduced the frequency of permissible calls to high school juniors; F reduced the frequency of permissible calls to high school seniors; L imposed the one-year phone call ban and off-campus recruiting ban against Sampson.

c) the "scope and nature" of the violations set forth in allegation 2 of the case summary, which described the impermissible calls to recruits and their guardians.

d) failure to uncover violations in a timely fashion. This is the issue that has received the most publicity, of course: the phone calls.

e) failure to provide "meaningful follow-through" as to the above violations.

f) failure to provide "extra-close scrutiny" in light of the history of violations, and the university's approach to investigation of secondary violations.

g) atmosphere of non-compliance in the men's basketball program.
I have a tough time with a) though d). The NCAA has known all of those things for months or even nearly a year. As for f) and g), I suppose these are the sorts of items that could have arisen at the hearing. In the absence of new facts, it's hard to know what led to this increase, and the NCAA letter is fairly vague. My amateur assessment is that the NCAA's main motivation is punishing IU for hiring Sampson in the first place. Unfortunately, I think that the NCAA's actions could provide a chilling effect toward other programs. In particular, item d) bothers me. "Better late than never" may seem like a flimsy position, but punishing a school for late self-reporting of a violation creates an incentive to not report late-discovered violations at all.

I'm glad that IU reported the violations as soon as it found them and pulled the trigger on Sampson as soon as the NCAA issued its report in February. Both were the right thing to do. But I'm not sure that the NCAA's actions create much incentive for the next school to do the same thing.

I'll try to check back tomorrow with more detail.

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