Athletics and FAR hid info from faculty oversight committee

That’s the latest from the sham course scandal at UNC. The NCAA Infractions Committee decided it was an academic scandal, not an athletics one, and washed their hands of it. So did an investigation opened at request of the UNC president, and overseen by the Baker Tilly accounting firm.

But now the faculty on the UNC Faculty Committee on Athletics, who were kept out of the loop by the athletic department and their NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative, are fighting back to clear their names. The firm that ran the investigation has already retracted one key claim – that the faculty committee knew of, and therefore implicitly approved of, the sham courses:

The only officials Baker Tilly has found who knew about the fraudulent classes, other than the department head and his assistant, were from the athletic department and the faculty representative to the NCAA.

“Sort of offline,” these athletic department officials “asked a question” – apparently so meekly that no faculty member remembers it.

To expose the fake classes, surely these athletic department officials sent an email to the chairman of the Faculty Committee on Athletics? Or wrote a memo to the chancellor? No such paper trail exists. Because there’s little evidence a serious warning was sounded.

Here at UO, our Faculty Athletics Representative is former law professor Jim O’Fallon. He has made it very clear he answers only to the UO President, and not to UO’s Intercollegiate Athletics Committee or the faculty. Nine years now have passed since the UO Task Force on athletic reforms recommended a review for Jim. Still hasn’t happened. FWIW, O’Fallon’s name is on the NCAA’s UNC report. 2/2/2013.

NCAA and O’Fallon find "lack of institutional control"

The University of Oregon’s NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative, James (Jim) O’Fallon, talks about the violations in the New York Times:

Taken as whole, said O’Fallon, they presented a “lack of institutional control.” … The amount of money was not so much an issue as was the fact that there appeared to be a consistent pattern, he said, adding, “These are very serious violations.”

Oh wait, that’s from 1993, and he’s talking about a few players getting free meals and a loan at UW. Never mind.

Here at UO it’s 2013, almost two years since Chip Kelly paid Willie Lyles $25,000 to recruit Seastrunk et al. and then cheated him out of another $25,000. Kelly’s gone, and Lyles is working for minimum wage in a Houston grocery store. But Jim O’Fallon is still UO’s NCAA FAR, still has never been reviewed by the faculty, and still will not explain the infractions or the penalty negotiations with the NCAA to the UO Senate Intercollegiate Athletics Committee. The charge of which says:

As part of its function and in order to carry out its governance function, the IAC shall be consulted by: … 3. The faculty athletics representative about all ongoing investigations and major violations.

Sure sounds like “loss of institutional control” to me, Jim.

Clawbacks of Kelly and Mullens bowl bonuses?

1/16/2012: Ducks confirm Kelly’s going to the Eagles. So the contractual issues below are back on the table. Is UO going to take steps now to ensure it can recoup some of the costs of the Kelly / Lyles recruiting violations from Kelly, or is the academic side going to get stuck with the tab again?

12/20/12. Here are the contracts for AD Rob Mullens and Coach Chip Kelly, which include bonuses for bowl appearances and wins. If UO had agreed to a plea bargain over the Lyles recruiting infractions that included vacating some of these wins, could UO have clawed back the bonuses? I’ve got a question on that in to UO’s VPFA Jamie Moffitt. Due diligence, I think the lawyers call this. More later.

Mullens:
Kelly:
And of course Kelly’s contract includes a clause allowing UO to dock his pay for NCAA infractions, etc.

Geller blew UO money on Glazier: NCAA refuses plea deal

We’ve written a fair amount on UO General Counsel Randy Geller charging the academic side half the cost of “The Cleaner” Mike Glazier’s work on the Chip Kelly / Willie Lyles  scouting business – while he and UO “Faculty Athletics Representative” Jim O’Fallon refused to share any information about the infractions settlement  efforts with the UO Intercollegiate Athletics Committee.

An in-your-face violation of UO Senate rules, and our shared governance constitution, and one more example of the loss of institutional control by UO over its athletic department.

Not only that, it seems Geller, Mullens, and O’Fallon wasted our students’ money. The NCAA has just refused Glazier’s plea bargain offer, and is going to try the case in their “Committee on Infractions” kangaroo court. Charles Robinson and Rand Getlin have the story on Yahoo Sports:

The sources said the committee ultimately did not accept Oregon’s presentment, disagreeing with “various aspects” of both the infractions the school believed occurred, and the sanctions the school deemed appropriate. That impasse has made a full-blown hearing necessary. Had Oregon’s request for summary disposition been successful, the school could have avoided a hearing in which individuals such as head football coach Chip Kelly could be made to appear and take questions.

All’s not lost though: UO’s Athletic Director, Rob Mullens, can still hit up Chip Kelly for the legal fees and any NCAA fines and lost revenue – but only if he acts fast, before Kelly flees for the NFL:

Reporters trying to get info on this case should ignore O’Fallon and Geller’s claims that NCAA investigations are confidential. Take a look at the Oregon Attorney General’s Public Records and Meetings Manual, and particularly this 1981 opinion. Oregon law still trumps the NCAA, I think. Don’t forget to cite it when making requests to UO Public Records Officer Lisa Thornton, here. And ask for a fee waiver – how UO has been spending public money is certainly a matter of public interest!

November 12, 1981, Blaine Newnham. Order granted inspection of NCAA complaint against the University of Oregon, with some deletions. The conditional exemption for interagency advisory communications was not applicable, because the NCAA is not a public body. The exemption for information submitted in confidence was not applicable, despite NCAA demand for confidentiality and university agreement, because the information could not reasonably be considered confidential and the public interest required disclosure of information relating to staff misconduct resulting in substantial adverse consequences to university athletic program. No adverse consequences to continuing investigation were likely. Names and other identification of students involved were deleted as required by federal law. University president had option under ORS 351.065 to delete names of staff members. Names of other persons involved, without official responsibilities, were deleted to protect their privacy except in a case in which wide publicity naming the person had already occurred.

Of course this is all bad for the players. Kelly wanted them, they were willing to come to Oregon, and Willie Lyles was willing to arrange this mutually advantageous deal in return for a very modest emolument. But the NCAA cartel will collapse if the coaches and the players start negotiating over “impermissible benefits” – and it’s the job of the NCAA Committee on Infractions to enforce their rules on indentured servitude. The NCAA is the real guilty party here – and some day I hope their chickens will come home to roost. 12/2012.

NCAA nails UO for tweeting infractions

Not a joke:

The tweets are secondary infractions – probably no penalty. Next Jim O’Fallon’s NCAA Infractions Committee will go after schools for giving their players textbooks. Oh, wait – he’s already done that. What a silly thing for a former Harvard Law fellow, noted first amendment scholar, and self-styled Frank Nash Professor of Law, Emeritus to spend his time on. But it does distract people from the NCAA’s real corruption – and presumably he has no trouble getting someone to pay for his Fiesta Bowl tickets.

Coach sues NCAA for libel over infractions report. O’Fallon to sue UO Matters next?

12/4/2012: It takes a heavy hand to enforce the NCAA’s rules against letting college football players get any of the fruits of their labor. UO’s Faculty Athletics Representative Jim O’Fallon sits on the NCAA Infractions Committee that wields the lash – and he was lucky he recused himself from this particular case. The assistant coach they went after is now fighting back with a defamation lawsuit that seems likely to expose some of that committee’s sleazier practices. Joe Nocera has the story in the NYT.

This post (or perhaps these photos) have provoked a response from a noted UO law professor. I asked him about rumored threats of a defamation lawsuit from him, and got this:

Not sure what the rumor says. I have commented to some people that I am tired of your defamatory remarks and wondered how you would respond if confronted by the need to defend a lawsuit. Defamation claims can extend to any publication. …

James M. O’Fallon
Frank Nash Professor of Law, Emeritus
Faculty Athletics Representative
University of Oregon

A bit later:

[ ] Please remove all references to me from the UO Matters website. JMO

James M. O’Fallon
Frank Nash Professor of Law, Emeritus
Faculty Athletics Representative
University of Oregon
School of Law
Phone 541.346.3830

Before he started shilling for the NCAA O’Fallon’s area of expertise was apparently the First Amendment. Of course. So why should I remove your name from a public forum discussing matters of public importance, Professor O’Fallon?

I’ll let you figure that out.

James M. O’Fallon
Frank Nash Professor of Law, Emeritus
Faculty Athletics Representative
University of Oregon
School of Law
Phone 541.346.3830

Any ideas, readers?

Court orders release of NCAA documents on UNC

Seems like the FERPA excuse Randy Geller has been using for UO violations is wearing thin:

CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina released more than 2,500 pages of documents relating to the NCAA investigation into the football team, including hand-written responses to the NCAA from former Hillside star Greg Little, more than two years after a group of media organizations sued to get them under public records law. 

Citing federal privacy law, UNC initially refused to release unredacted versions of the documents, which detailed misconduct within the football program. But Superior Court judge Howard E. Manning Jr. ordered that the school should make certain information public — including the illegal benefits received by football players — while still allowing the university to withhold the names of individuals involved in academic fraud.

From Harold Guttman in the Raleigh Herald-Sun. 11/7/2012.

UO will defend its coaches – but the professors?

Update: See the comments for this correction, from Ms Emeldi’s lawyer, David Force, making clear that the Emeldi case is against UO, not against Prof Horner:

There is not now and never has been a lawsuit by her against Dr. Horner. The sole defendant in the case is the University itself. Title IX of the Education Act is directed to institutions, not individuals, who receive Federal funding support. Monica’s lawsuit seeks damages and equitable remedies (an injunction) against the University for retaliating against her for criticizing Dr. Horner.

10/30/2012. UO has spent something north of $150,000 on lawyers to defend Coach Chip Kelly in the Willie Lyles NCAA investigation. Add in the hours for Jim O’Fallon, Rob Mullens, and the general counsel’s office, not to mention three UO president’s so far, and the cost has to be well over $500,000. There’s no sign that UO is going to ask Kelly to help pay for any of it.

But suppose a case involving a UO professor and substantive questions of academic freedom comes up. Well, one such 2005 case involved law school professor Merle Weiner, sued for defamation by someone who didn’t like the description of his court case that she published in a law journal. President Frohnmayer and his general counsel Melinda Grier decided not to defend her. UO argued – I’m not making this up – that publishing was not part of a professor’s job responsibilities. Weiner had to pay for her own defense, and she settled out of court.

Now there’s another important UO case, involving a conflict between Ed School professor Rob Horner and former PhD student Monica Emeldi. The appeals court ruling against Horner has attracted national attention because it allows grad students to use Title IX anti-discrimination law to file suits against the professors who advise their research – apparently a first.

It’s a controversial decision, Diane Dietz had an excellent write up in the RG Sunday. So is UO going to defend its faculty this time? Randy Geller gives a resounding maybe:

“We have reason to believe that this would be a good candidate for review because it has academic freedom and Constitutional implications,” Geller said. “The question we have to ask ourselves, first of all, is it worth seeking review? If review were to be granted, then are we prepared for the cost of (review)?”

I’m all for applying cost/benefit analysis. I just don’t trust Randy Geller to do anything better than a hack job at it. The UO Senate should make this call – unless Johnson Hall is now going to start arguing that advising PhD students is not part of a professor’s job responsibilities either.

It’s worth noting that there is a policy on legal services in the works – but it’s been stalled for almost a year. Geller’s original version created a firestorm in the Senate Executive Committee, and he refused to show up and defend it.

NCAA cartel to crack the whip

When you run a hiring monopsony like the NCAA you have to come down hard on defectors believers in free markets like Chip Kelly, who might try to use street agents agents to funnel impermissible benefits pay reasonable compensation to their student athletes players. Tonight’s scoop from former RG reporter George Schroeder, now at USAToday, is that the NCAA is about to get real personal about this. Too bad – unless it’s a sign of the collapse of their whole corrupt cartel. And don’t miss Margaret Soltan’s hilarious sendup of a USD administrator concerned about students leaving football games early.

UO reacts to NCAA Lyles / Kelly penalties

 Just kidding, this is about an earthquake drill, Thursday 10/18/2012 at 9:50 AM. The athletic department will tell no one – not even the Senate IAC – about the negotiations over the NCAA penalties. None of your business, professor. Just keep paying Mike Glazier’s bills. Randy Geller knows what’s best for UO. He’ll be in touch when he needs more tuition money for the fines.

Duck drug testing begins, without Senate approval

9/6/2012: In trying to defend random drug testing UO spokesperson Phil Weiler comes close to slandering UO’s acrobatics and tumbling team, formerly known as Competitive Cheer. Diane Dietz of the RG has the story here:

In acrobatics, Weiler said, “there are bodies that are literally flying through the air. The chance of injury if an athlete wasn’t caught properly or supported properly is pretty high. You want to make sure people are not under the influence.”

And there was some probable cause or reasonable suspicion about the team that led him to make this statement about UO students to a reporter? Or is it just public relations bullshit to take the heat off the football team’s Purple Kush problem?

President Gottfredson went ahead with this drug testing policy change without going through the Senate Executive Committee as Lariviere’s agreements with the faculty require. Perhaps Randy Geller convinced him that Duck athletics has nothing to do with UO academics, and therefore the policy didn’t need Senate review?

Dear Rob and Brian:

I received your email of July 24, 2012, requesting a delay in the public hearing scheduled for August 23rd, 2012. The hearing will be rescheduled for September 13, 2012. Written comments will be accepted until noon on September 14, 2012. We will similarly postpone the date the rule will be filed with the Secretary of State and become final. The rule will be filed on September 21, 2012.

Your allegations about the University’s rulemaking processes are offensive and false , as are the comments made publicly by members of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee. I ask that you apologize in writing to President Berdahl, Rob Mullens, and me. I also ask that you censure the members of the IAC who have published offensive and defamatory comments.

Randolph Geller  

General Counsel
University of Oregon

The mild-mannered email from the UO Senate President and the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee Chair that set off Geller is here. He has a history of using this sort of intimidation. President Gottfredson made him apologize to the former AG for similar language, but apparently it’s OK to threaten the faculty – particularly when it works.

Geller opens Glazier’s kimono on UO NCAA violations

8/31/2012. KATU News requested the documents in May, Dan Tilkin and John Tierney have the story. Jake Zivin of KEZI also gives a peek. It’s another of UO General Counsel Randy Geller’s hack jobs, not much meat:

The full dump is here. I’d be very surprised if all Randy’s redactions are legal under Oregon’s public records law. Yes, there’s an attorney-client exemption, but it’s very specific. Not that I know anything about the Oregon DOJ’s Public Records manual.

Geller’s refusal to consider fee-waivers for public records requests on UO’s contracts with law firms helping UO with its NCAA compliance issues was the subject of a post last week. UO President Gottfredson told him to stop that, fix the policy, and give me the contracts. A week later, still no documents from Geller. The Oregon DOJ policy is to fill the request in a week, something simple like this typically takes a few days. So a few nights back I petitioned Lane County DA Alex Gardner’s office. Believe me, they’ve got better things to do with their time than babysit Randy and his crew. For that matter Alex Gardner’s Deputy was not too happy with me for pushing it either.

But that’s what it takes to get Geller to obey the public records law. It would have taken 3 minutes to just email these contracts when I made the request – and after 2 weeks, 2 days, and who knows how much wasted staff time here they are.

They don’t even describe the scope of the work, or limit the amount of billing. Did Geller follow OUS procurement OAR’s when making these deals with Glazier and BSK? How much is the academic side on the hook for this time? Who knows. Reporters are still working on getting the much more revealing Glazier invoices: