NCAA Reports Self for Lack of Institutional Control

Michael CollinsAnalyst IApril 13, 2009

In developing news, the NCAA announced that its West Coast Infractions Committee has self-reported 87 violations of its compliance rules. 


"We failed in our responsibility to take steps when indications were that our existing compliance reporting system was not working," said spokesman Bill Peterson. "Multiple infractions were being reported at a rate that required us to establish a West Coast office with an experienced compliance officer four years ago. But continuing serious violations seemed to end in a black hole of investigations.


"For this we take full responsibility and are accountable to our member institutions," Peterson said. “We expect to lose our share of bowl revenue for the next two years."


Peterson added that NCAA "member institutions in good standing will share a portion of that revenue, which amounted to over $102 million. And we will penalize ourselves with a television ban, issuing only press statements for two years."


The Infractions Committee will monitor itself for 10 years. The committee has accepted the resignation of its now former West Coast Committee head, Humbert Humbert. Mr. Humbert could not be reached to verify a personal ban by the NCAA from contact with underage cheerleaders. 


Most of the alleged violations centered around processing of university controls involving improper contact by agents, improper benefits and cash to players, improper contact by coaches and former players, recruiting violations, and a pattern of university lack of control over its football program.


Secondary violations reported by the Infractions Committee to the NCAA included improper benefits of housing, entertainment, cash, and meals of Committee members by representatives of member institutions. 


When asked specifically if the school was the University of Southern California or whether the West Coast Infractions Committee was established due to USC's alleged violations, Peterson declined to comment due to “an ongoing investigation.” 


Mike Garrett, USC’s Athletic Director, said, “This is an NCAA matter, and it would not be appropriate for me to comment.” Pete Carroll, reached at football practice, said, “This is the first I have heard of any violations.” 


An email obtained by ESPN from the NCAA’s West Coast Infractions Committee admits to many of the abuses of processing of violations, but says it will “vigorously fight any charge of lack of institutional control” and vowed to fight on.


Peterson noted that the West Coast Infractions Committee had been disbanded. Ten large U-Haul trucks were seen hauling paperwork from its office. The NCAA has formed an Infractions Oversight Commission consisting of the Athletic Directors of the Armed Forces Academies to monitor it during its imposed ban period. A second violation during that period could lead to the "death penalty"—loss of regulation of its institutions.   


Peterson felt that, while highly trained and experienced, Humbert and his staff may not have been adequately prepared for transitioning from Indianapolis to Southern California and its enticements. The NCAA does not feel that this lack of control in one area will affect any appeals by other football programs over books and online music classes.