USC Football: NCAA Violates Rules in Todd McNair Appeal and New Phantom Finding

Bill N@@Bill_N1Correspondent IDecember 16, 2010

USC Running Backs Coach Todd McNair
USC Running Backs Coach Todd McNairJeff Golden/Getty Images

Former USC football assistant Todd McNair says that the NCAA Committee of Infractions’ has made a flawed case much worse by violating its own rules of procedure and evidence. 

This was predicted when the NCAA took the unprecedented action of separating the Todd McNair appeal from the USC appeal to prevent the Trojans from arguing any part of their case with regard to McNair as discussed in "USC Football:  Trojans Sanction Appeal is Rigged Like NCAA Sanctions."

It is now very clear that the NCAA will do the same to USC in its appeal.  The only question is what else they will invent to rationalize their mistakes and new one-time precedents used to justify findings and the harshest football sanctions against USC since the SMU death penalty.

Dan Weber of in NCAA ups ante against McNair on appeal reports that "new, mistaken, immaterial, irrelevant, contradictory and false allegations against him, even to the point of inventing quotes and making a first-ever ‘phantom finding.'"

The Rebuttal of Todd McNair shows the many ways that the findings against McNair are contrary to the evidence, and the rebuttal proves once again that the COI McNair’s unethical conduct findings are wrong.

The NCAA has now multiplied the mistakes documented in a series of articles last summer:  Ten Reasons Why USC Football NCAA Sanctions are Not Fair, NCAA Missteps on McNair, and Exclusive: Investigation Illustrated.”

The NCAA rules do not allow them to add anything new in the appeal process.

Here are some examples of the NCAA violations of due process, and any one of these should set aside the McNair “career-ending” finding of unethical conduct:

  1. The NCAA now claims that McNair’s defense is based on one part of the USC defense concerning the Bush representation by Lloyd Lake that is now a separate case.  The NCAA took the unprecedented action of separating the appeals so that neither party could argue the other part of the case.  This is something that McNair has never taken a position on or ever asked about or had any knowledge.
  2. Contrary to what the COI ruled in its June Infraction Report, the Committee now invents a phantom finding that it found that McNair knew about improper benefits by Lake to Bush before the Jan. 8, 2006, two minute Lake-McNair phone call that it depended upon in the original case.  It says that McNair knew earlier because McNair’s friend, actor Faison Love, introduced Lake to McNair on Oct. 29, 2005, which was the same night that the NCAA said in the original case that McNair called Lake.  This was actually a call to Bush using a number that McNair was given by Bush.  Lake didn’t remember the call and didn’t say anything about meeting McNair that night in his testimony.
  3. New claims that McNair wasn’t credible attacked McNair’s testimony on Bush’s internship with Michael Ornstein, Bush’s 1996 Impala, Bush’s parents’ house and attendance at away games.  None of these were raised in the Infractions Report, and the NCAA rules do not allow new claims to be brought in an appeal and McNair wasn’t allow to do this either.
  4. The NCAA did not address the unethical conduct finding based on false and factually incorrect statements, which was the major issue in McNair’s appeal.  Failure to refute the arguments on McNair’s appeal should set aside their findings that relate to them.
  5. The COI violated its procedures by sharing a secret and prejudicial communication of the final report to the enforcement staff a week in advance of its findings in June.  The COI has refused to inform McNair of what was communicated and changed in the report as a result.
  6. Stacey Osburn, NCAA associate director for public and media relations, made a prejudicial public statement to ESPN endorsing the COI report after the first story was released.

The NCAA has once again shown that Todd McNair and USC will not get a fair appeal hearing.  Of course, this is exactly the opposite of what the NCAA did in the Auburn’s Cam Newton case as discussed in NCAA Corruption in USC Reggie Bush, Auburn Cam Newton, and North Carolina Cases.

It is very likely that Todd McNair will sue the NCAA when the final appeal decision is rendered.  He'll get his millions because the NCAA does not care because it is not their money.  The NCAA skims about $40M per year from the college TV revenue to enhance their $400M "non-profit" pot of net assets. 

The only question remaining is what additional violations of the NCAA rules and due process will be invented for the USC appeals case.

This is an opinion article based on discussions with other media representatives and detailed studies of the NCAA report, USC and Todd McNair responses, and other related news articles.