NCAA violations on a biblical scale

10/3/2011: The NCAA infractions committee comes down hard on Cincinnati:

The University of Cincinnati committed a major violation in its women’s basketball program and secondary violations in its women’s basketball and football programs, according to findings by the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions. … and members of the football coaching staff placed 20 impermissible recruiting calls to 12 prospective student-athletes.

The penalties include:

  • Public reprimand and censure. …  

Excessive phone calls? The NCAA hires well paid adults to spend their time monitoring this stuff? Anything to hold the hiring cartel together for a few more years – the profits are huge.

NCAA to Seastrunk: We own you.

9/30/2011: Lache Seastrunk was recruited by UO under the $25,000 Willie Lyles deal. This summer he transferred to Baylor because he thought it would improve the chances he would get playing time, and someday get an NFL contract where he could make some money off his skills.

Not so fast – the NCAA has just denied his petition to play this season, and is making him sit out a year. Why? Because the players are getting uppity, and they need to be shown who’s the boss.

The other people involved? Willie Lyles is working in a Houston grocery store, for $8 an hour. Chip Kelly is getting about $300,000 a month. His contract with UO is here.

Excellent article in the Atlantic on the larger scandal, here.

Your mother is an NCAA violation

9/26/2011: According to Yahoo sports Willie Lyles took money from Tennessee and used it to pay for airfare for some player’s mother to visit campus on a recruiting visit:

An assistant coach during Lane Kiffin’s tenure at the University of Tennessee wired $1,500 to a talent scout in July 2009, funding the airfare for an unofficial recruiting trip by then five-star prospect Lache Seastrunk and his mother, Yahoo! Sports has learned.

This is a major violation of the NCAA rule that no black people are allowed to make money off the sweat and blood of college football players. Not even a trip to campus for Mom. The money is just for coaches and NCAA insiders. Willie Lyles is not the corrupt part of this system – the NCAA is.

Thanks to George Schroeder’s twitter feed for the link. Warning – following Schroeder is like moving to a flood zone – you will be inundated. Schroeder also has a link to this Arizona Republic series on BCS corruption. Many, many millions of dollars more, siphoned off for all sorts of corrupt deals. Whoever was chair of the BCS Compliance Committee when this was going down has got to be getting a little worried.

NCAA insiders rake it in

9/28/2011: Today in the the Chronicle:

In all, the NCAA took in $741-million in the 2009-10 fiscal year, up from $706-million the previous fiscal year. As a nonprofit organization, the NCAA is not required to pay taxes on its revenues.

Their job is riding shotgun on the gravy train for the coaches and AD employees at the universities. The biggest threats to the cartel? Some student’s mom getting a free ticket to visit campus, and some coach slipping an $8 an hour street agent $25,000 on the side to deliver a few players.

NCAA infractions committee: paid to act stupid?

8/25/2011: The NCAA infractions committee just blackballed some unlucky coach for not fessing up to having an illegal home cookout for his recruits. Ribs? You evil, evil man. Put down the spatula and step away from the grill slowly.

Meanwhile, the committee completely missed the fact that the Fiesta Bowl director was using college football money – including some from UO – to buy off politicians, and that a Miami booster bought a yacht to host parties for the players, with hookers. These scandals – real dirty money scandals – were dug up by reporters. You really think no one on the infractions committee knew about them? When the past chair of the NCAA committee was the AD at Miami during the parties? No photos of him on the yacht, yet.

The committee is getting tough on trivial shit like BBQ’s to distract attention from the fact the NCAA is in bed with the corruption that the billions of dollars in tax-deductible money coming into college football and basketball has created.

Next thing you know they’ll give Chip Kelly the death penalty for slipping some down on his luck street agent 25 large. See – we’re cleaning things up!

Pat Walsh of Vox PRPA on NCAA investigation

8/2/2011: I don’t know what to make of this RG op-ed by Pat Walsh of local PR firm Vox PRPA. Starts off sensibly:

For Duck football coaches who spend their days managing the fitness and academic pursuits of the youngest of adults — and pocket more money in a month than many of their team’s fans will make in years — being investigated for alleged recruiting violations by the NCAA “suits” must be new and unfamiliar dates on the game schedule. …

Then he says we should respect the NCAA’s process? Nobody is that naive. Or maybe he is:

Guilty or not, fans will know whether the values all university presidents and their coaches preach about the educational compatibility between big-time locker rooms and big time classroom are true at the UO.

It will be clear if leadership, integrity, character, teamwork, sacrifice, commitment, excellence and so on are lived by the UO administration and beloved Duck football coaches, or are just punch lines in the script of another big-money entertainment experience.

If?

the athletic department owns their "student-athletes"

7/31/2011: There’s really no other way to interpret this Oregonian story by Rachel Bachman:

On online-auction site eBay Friday, 270 items purported to be signed by current or former Ducks were for sale. They focused on high-profile athletes, from a mini-helmet signed by senior tight end David Paulson (buy-it-now price: $79.99) to gloves signed by James ($100), the junior who was a Heisman finalist last season.

A fan or dealer selling items whose signatures he acquired, or that were given to him, is allowed. But it’s against NCAA rules for players to receive anything of value in exchange for autographs or gear.

Complicating matters is that a university may have a player autograph a jersey or helmet and auction it off; the player just can’t get a cut.

What an amazing scam the NCAA has put together. The players need to organize.

Not very transparent, Randy

7/28/2011: UO General Counsel Randy Geller has no problem signing his name to a $150,000 contract appropriating state funds to hire “The Cleaner” to “investigate” UO’s NCAA compliance:

But ask him whether the athletic department or the academic side is going to pay that bill? Now he’s counting pennies – and it will cost you $57.03 to get an answer.

Mullens speaks

7/22/1011: Or at least he emailed the UO Foundation board, and other boosters. Ron Bellamy has the story:

“The firm has been charged with making an independent assessment of the football program’s use of outside recruiting services,” Mullens wrote. “In addition, they have been asked to provide the University with recommendations for areas of improvement within the football program and athletics department in order to meet best practices.

“We look forward to making the recommendations public at the conclusion of the process. The University, our Head Coach and the entire Athletic Department are fully committed to ensuring our program is following best practices.”

Apparently telling the public or the faculty who is paying the $150,000 bill for Michael Glazier, the specialist in “best practices” is not a “best practice”. One of the reasons for hiring an outside firm is the hope that the details of their work can then be hidden from review by the public, and the NCAA, by an attorney-client privilege exemption. That may get interesting – the exemption is much less general than is generally known.

July invoice from the "The Cleaner"

7/18/2011: And I ain’t talking about the carpets in PLC. Contract and invoices here. $8,359.12 last month, including a trip to Eugene – looks like a last minute airfare purchase.

UO GC Randy Geller contracted with these guys for $150,000 – and he is now trying to charge the faculty $57.03 to find out who is paying the bill.

I got this email from PR Officer Liz Denecke – but she made a point of saying it was Randy Geller who made the decision to charge me. I can appeal the decision not to waive the fee to the DOJ. They will prepare an analysis of the costs and benefits of disclosure – and they will charge UO about $500 to do this. Sounds like Geller is happy to have UO pay that bill too, just to make it as difficult as possible for people to find out what’s happening here.

July 15, 2011

Dear Mr. X:

The University of Oregon, Office of Public Records received your public records request on July 12, 2011, below. The office has at least some documents responsive to your request.  By this email, the office is providing you with an estimate to respond to your requests.

The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your revised request to be $57.03. Upon receipt of your check for this amount, the office will proceed to locate, copy, and provide the records you requested that are not exempt from disclosure.  Your check may be sent to the attention of Office of Public Records, 6207 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-6207. …

The university has received your request for a fee waiver for these records.  The decision to waive or reduce fees is discretionary with the public body.  After considering your request below, the office does not consider that the totality of the circumstances you presented meets the standard for a fee waiver, and your request for a waiver is denied.

Thank you for contacting us with your request.

Liz Denecke

Elizabeth Denecke
Office of Public Records
6207 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-6207
541-346-6823
pubrec@uoregon.edu

Lariviere: "Athletic department must maintain standards of behavior"

7/17/2011: “This is simply unacceptable”. From a post on his Presidential blog. Oh wait, he’s talking about the athletes:

Athletes must maintain standards of behavior 

The University of Oregon has clear expectations of how its student athletes are to behave both on and off the field of play. Lately, several of our athletes have fallen far short of these standards. This is simply unacceptable.

The University of Oregon does not tolerate inappropriate conduct from any of its students. I know Athletics Director Mike Bellotti and Head Coach Chip Kelly share my concern about recent events involving UO players and are working hard to address these incidents. I have every confidence that they will restore the UO athletic program’s long and proud tradition of sportsmanship and integrity. Our loyal fans and alumni expect no less and neither do I.

Sorry, never mind. My bad. This post was from February 20th, 2010. Something to do with this string of incidents and court cases. But no one at UO is going to talk about the athletic department while it’s under investigation by the NCAA. Because that might prejudice the results of their investigation. Understand?

NCAA cracks down on Georgia Tech

7/15/2011: They allowed a football player to keep $312 in free clothes. That’s right – a player. Not a coach or an athletic director or an ESAADFFAA, but a player. Unspeakable.

We all know what rewarding people for their work can lead to. So our protectors in the NCAA have come down on them, hard, as a warning to others. A $100,000 fine. Presumably the academic side will pay. From Derek Quizon of Insidehighered.com.

Meanwhile back at UO we did an end run on Randy Geller and should have records showing who is paying for the Glazier contract before too much longer. And Rachel Bachman of the Oregonian reports on how screwed up UO’s public records situation is – worse than LSU. Huey Long would be amazed.

scapegoat for Willie Lyles deal?

7/9/2011: It didn’t take long for the UO administration to decide that Melinda Grier would be the scapegoat for Frohnmayer’s failure to get a written contract for Mike Bellotti. And she was an excellent choice, in so many ways.

But now Ms Grier is gone and the search for someone to take the fall for the Willie Lyles deal seems to be well underway. Maybe this unfortunate $35,000 a year AD employee? I wonder if we’ll pay him $200,000 to spend next year teaching a few law classes? Adam Jude has the story, in the RG.

UO Foundation concerned about Lyles

7/8/2011: This is hilarious – from Ken Goe in the Oregonian. For years the UO Foundation has been little more than a money laundering operation for the Duck Athletic Fund. And all of a sudden the Chairman of the Board of Trustees is “concerned”?

… So, trustees were caught flat-footed by the latest revelations from Lyles, having been told by the administration the NCAA had essentially come and gone on the matter.

Norman Brown, an investment banker in New York who is chairman of the trustees, said this week that Lariviere offered a review of the situation at the board’s regular meeting on June 9th. …

On Wednesday, Brown said he had “no concern at this point..There’s no there, there. This is an old story. You’re embarked on a cul de sac.”

Interviewed again Friday, after he read some of the media accounts of Lyles’ latest interviews, Brown said he wanted to see all the facts before coming to any conclusion.

“At this point I’m concerned that all the information is not out, ” he said. “The story as it is being woven right now is not one that makes people happy. I want to see all the facts.”

Ever heard of due diligence, Mr. Brown? Maybe getting all the facts would be easier it the Board hadn’t let their CEO, Paul Weinhold, go to the DOJ to get a special exemption from Oregon’s public records law last year. Or did Weinhold hide that from you too?