NCAA cartel goes after Duck coaches and UO professor for petty “infractions”

What a load of crap. The NCAA is making UO waste time and money on this trivia while their leaders and coaches pocket hundred of millions of dollars from the sweat and concussions of their unpaid student-athletes. The NCAA won’t even penalize UNC for years of sham courses for athletes, but they’re going after one UO professor for changing one student’s grade. That’s up to UO’s faculty – not the hypocrites at the NCAA.

Here’s first of the seven infractions, followed by UO’s official and more politic response which includes a link to the redacted NCAA notice:

University of Oregon receives notice of potential NCAA infractions

UO acknowledges the self-reported infractions, will contest the level of charges

The University of Oregon this week received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA relating to infractions that took place in the track and field, and men’s and women’s basketball programs.

After careful review of the notice, the UO acknowledges that infractions occurred and takes responsibility for the actions of the involved staff members. The university, however, disagrees with the level of infraction that NCAA enforcement staff has assigned to some of the charges as well as with the decision to level charges against two of our head coaches. In those instances, the facts do not support the enforcement staff’s position nor does NCAA case precedent, and we plan to defend the university, our faculty and our head coaches.

The university has taken steps to address the issues and has confidence that such errors will not take place in the future. We have imposed discipline on involved personnel and enhanced our compliance education for all staff and coaches.

As noted by the NCAA, the UO detected and self-reported all infractions contained in the notice and imposed “meaningful corrective measures and/or penalties.” The NCAA also stated that the UO has an established history of self-reporting violations and that the institution “exhausted significant resources and spent countless hours reviewing surveillance footage” in the identification of the alleged infractions in men’s and women’s basketball.

The UO will provide detailed evidence in each of the cases in our response to the notice, which must be filed with the Committee on Infractions within 90 days. A summary of the charges includes:

  • Allegation 1 charges academic misconduct involving a former track and field student-athlete and a faculty member. The faculty member changed a grade from failing to passing for a student-athlete, contingent on that student completing coursework at a later date. The university’s faculty athletics representative discovered the grade change, the university determined it was a violation of the UO’s grading policy, the student was immediately removed from competition and it was reported to the NCAA. As recent Committee on Infractions rulings have made clear, the NCAA gives sole power to the university in determining what constitutes academic misconduct. In this case, the university’s internal controls worked; there was no academic misconduct. The violation should be charged as an impermissible academic benefit.

“It is the role of the University Senate, the administration and other campus stakeholders to define and assess academic standards at the University of Oregon. Our faculty take very seriously our responsibility to ensure that no student is unfairly advantaged or disadvantaged as it relates to academic opportunity,” said Chris Sinclair, president of the University Senate and professor of mathematics. “While we acknowledge this was a violation of grading policy, this incident does not rise to our community standards for academic fraud or misconduct.”

  • Allegation 6 charges that head men’s basketball coach Dana Altman failed to properly monitor his program when it was discovered that noncoaching staff members had conducted prohibited workouts with a handful of student-athletes and improperly participated in on-court activities (outlined in allegations 2 and 3). While we acknowledge the impermissible workout violation — one of the noncoaching staff members was suspended — the charge of head coach responsibility is not justified.  We believe such a charge was intended for coaches who do not demonstrate a strong commitment to compliance and ethical stands, and this instance falls considerably short of the legislative intent and case precedent. The violation should be charged as an impermissible coaching activities infraction.

“I fully acknowledge that some members of our staff made mistakes when it comes to refereeing practice games and working out some players,” Altman said. “We have taken steps to correct these issues with our staff, and we are committed to complying with NCAA rules.”

  • Allegation  7 charges that head women’s basketball coach Kelly Graves failed to properly promote an atmosphere of compliance under the head coach responsibility bylaw. The charge stems from strength and conditioning staff members participating in on-court drills and assisting in voluntary workouts outside the presence of the coaching staff (outlined in allegation 4). The charge of head coach responsibility is, again, not justified and falls short of the legislation’s intent and case precedent. The violation also should be charged as an impermissible coaching activities infraction.

“I regret that some members of my staff made errors of judgment, and I have taken actions to ensure that it doesn’t happen again,” Graves said. “I am steadfastly committed to building a winning program at the UO that operates in full compliance with NCAA bylaws and is committed to the highest levels of integrity.”

“Coach Altman and coach Graves are committed to compliance with NCAA bylaws, they have the highest ethical standards on and off the court, and each acknowledges the infractions that took place within their programs,” said UO Athletic Director Rob Mullens. “In both cases, our monitoring program identified the issues and they were reported to the NCAA. We have addressed the matters with the responsible employees and enhanced compliance training within the department. These cases do not merit the level of charges against the coaches sought by the NCAA.”

In an unrelated matter, in fall 2016, as a result of a misinterpretation by the UO compliance staff in advising then-football staff members, the UO football program improperly utilized an electronic reader board in the Casanova Center for recruiting purposes. The UO will not contest the charge.

The UO will continue to work in good faith with the NCAA staff as we defend our head coaches and institutional right to make academic misconduct decisions on these charges. We are appreciative of the NCAA staff’s professionalism and cooperation, and we look forward to filing our response and concluding this process.

LA Times wants a copy of any FBI subpoenas of Dana Altman’s Ducks

10/9/2017 update:

In what may be it’s fastest turnaround time since I asked Dave Hubin for a copy of Jim Bean’s sabbatical contract, UO’s Public Records Office says today that “there are no responsive records” to the LA Times request for federal subpoenas or search warrants involving Altman or his coaches. For comparison, here are the last 3 or so months of the public records log.

Still no Tim Gleason rhabdo docs for HBO, no new Bach docs, etc:

Continue reading

Chip Kelly returns to Eugene to pay Ducks $20K NCAA fine?

10/30/2018 update: I’ve always had a soft spot for Kelly, because he had the sense of humor to hide his $25K payoff to Willie Lyles where no reasonable person would ever have found it – in the UO libraries financial accounts:

Unfortunately for Kelly, sports reporters are not reasonable people. Kelly will be back in Eugene this Saturday for some sort of football event, and presumably UO’s General Counsel Kevin Reed will be waiting with a overdue notice:

10/12/2015: Can Chip Kelly return to the PAC-12 w/o repaying Ducks for $20K fine?

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 11.02.22 PM

10/12/2015: I’ve got no idea, but the sportswriters are starting to ask questions.

8/10/2013: UO tried to fine Chip Kelly $20K, but he skipped town – from a Paul Swangard tweet

From the NCAA report, here. Kelly’s contract included the clause below, but apparently he quit before UO could collect. Really. Randy Geller didn’t make any follow up efforts? Apparently not:

Contract here:

The funny part is I learned this from a Paul Swangard tweet:

Swangard is the director of UO’s Warsaw Sports Marketing program, and he’s now blocked me from his twitter feed. Let’s find out what’s going on here:

Dear Ms Thornton:

This is a public records request for any documents showing efforts by UO to collect funds from Coach Chip Kelly related to

a)  the “Termination by Kelly” clause requiring liquidated damages payments if Kelly left before the end of his contract term, and
b) the “Discipline” clause allowing UO to fine Kelly for, among other things, NCAA violations.

I’m ccing UO GC Randy Geller, AD Rob Mullens, AAD Eric Roedl, FAR Jim O’Fallon, and a few others who may have information and documents, in the hope this will reduce the time you need to spend looking for these documents.

I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of the public funds involved, the general public interest in the UO AD’s affairs, and the ability of the UO Matters blog to ensure these documents are quickly and efficiently distributed to other news media and the public.

“No responsive documents”. More here.

University releases NCAA secondary infractions docs

That would be Auburn University. Documents here, story here.

Here at Oregon, reporters requested the Duck infractions data on June 18 (here) and June 27 (here). UO’s public record’s office still has not released anything, despite this 1981 opinion from the Oregon DOJ making clear these reports are public records. I wonder what Rob Mullens is hiding this time?

Journalism students investigate cost of athletic scandals

11/14/2013: An excellent piece of investigative journalism from UNC, here. Their university’s administrators were remarkably forthcoming about the costs of the outside investigations, and how much was paid by the athletics department and how much by the UNC Foundation. It took me years, and hundreds of dollars in public records fees, to get much skimpier information from UO about the Chip Kelly/Willie Lyles costs. In fact Randy Geller is now completely deleting what UO spends on legal expenses from the reports UO must file with the Oregon Government Transparency website:

UO for 2012-13: Goes straight from Laundry to Library, no Legal Services. I think they call that irony.

OSU for 2012-13: 

Football player makes money signing his own name to stuff

8/6/2013: This is unacceptable! But don’t worry, former UO law professor Jim O’Fallon and his NCAA Committee on Infractions are on the case. In the past they’ve made unpaid student-athletes repay these sorts of ill-gotten gains. Still no word on how much Rob Mullens and President Gottfredson made Chip Kelly pay for the Willie Lyles lawyers and infraction costs, and how much they charged to UO student tuition.

Aasif Mandvi has more on these greedy athletes, and this South Park episode, inspired by Taylor Branch, is pretty wicked too. Branch, a Pulitzer winning MLK biographer, wrote that there “is an unmistakable whiff of the plantation” about big-time college sports. The story on what O’Fallon did to UConn player Nate Miles is here.

Latest on Lyles. DOJ orders UO to release NCAA infractions info.

7/19/2013: Mark Johnson of the RG sports desk gets another dump of Kelly/Lyles docs from UO – 3 months after he made the public records request. UO NCAA Rep and former law professor Jim O’Fallon used to argue that these sorts of records were top secret, despite the DOJ ruling below, which he either didn’t know about or hid from the faculty. The redactions seem far in excess of what Dave Frohnmayer would have allowed back when he was AG:

Full PDF here. O’Fallon still won’t tell the UO Senate Intercollegiate Athletics Committee anything substantive about this investigation. I’m on the committee, and I had to get this news from the RG website. But whatever, this is almost certainly O’Fallon’s last year in the job, and he’s certainly going out in style: without having had a performance review in 25 years.

1/23/2013: Breaking news. Full text of the order here. Sure, it’s from 1981, written by the DOJ when Dave Frohnmayer was Attorney General – but it’s a pretty strong order. It still stands as precedent, and it is cited in the most recent DOJ Public Records Manual, here. Sportswriters, file your public records requests for the Kelly / Lyles allegations and findings now, through Dave Hubin’s public records office, here.

Duck sports roundup with NCAA report.

6/26/2013 update. The public NCAA report is here. Hilariously pompous. Public Censure and Reprimand. Presumably much more will be released eventually, thanks to this public records opinion from Dave Frohnmayer’s DOJ. The NYT has this quote from Kelly:

Kelly, in a statement issued through the Eagles, apologized to the university and its fans. “I accept my share of responsibility for the actions that led to the penalties,” he wrote, adding that the investigation did not have a role in his decision to leave the university.

Whatever you say Chip, but are you gonna pay UO back for the $200K we spent on lawyers? One quick excerpt from the NCAA report, dealing with a special admit problem:

The institution discovered a deficiency in prospect H’s Scholastic Aptitude Test
(SAT) while performing a review of his academic credentials. Due to the deficiency,
prospect H was required to return to Houston immediately to take the earliest available

An assistant football coach and the former assistant director of operations sought
the assistance of the recruiting service provider in facilitating the prospect’s taking of the
SAT. The recruiting service provider contacted prospect H via telephone and ultimately
delivered to him the required SAT registration packet at a Houston area gas station the
evening before the test.  

Further, there was evidence that the recruiting service provider was involved in the
arrangements for prospective student-athletes to travel to the institution for their official
visits. Following the official visits of prospects E and F, the former assistant director of
operations sent the recruiting service provider a hand-written note he composed under the
former head coach’s signature, stating: 

I really appreciate your help in getting [the names of the visiting
prospects] and the whole crew here this past weekend. We’ll work on
getting [prospect A] here soon too! Thanks for orchestrating everything
and all your help with these guys. I hope you enjoyed the game . . .Go

Rob Mullens, Lorraine Davis, and Jim O’Fallon have opposed letting the UO IAC be involved in special admits, despite language in UO’s most recent NCAA recertification saying the situation was under control. I wonder how much of that they conveyed to the investigators?

6/26/2013: After rejecting UO’s proposed plea bargain, Jim O’Fallon’s NCAA Committee on Infractions is expected to hand down the penalties this morning. O’Fallon’s recused, of course. Still no word on who will replace O’Fallon as UO’s Faculty Athletics Representative to the NCAA.

UO has now spent more than $200K on NCAA cleaner Mike Glazier, to defend the Duck brand against the Kelly/Lyles infractions. More if you value the opportunity cost of Randy Geller’s time at something positive. The academic side has paid about half this. No word yet if Gottfredson will go after Chip to try and recoup the legal and the other costs of his infractions.

Rumor is that a group of traitorous UO law profs are writing to President Gottfredson to protest the UO decision to effectively prohibit small local Duck paraphernalia manufacturers from getting licenses to use the Duck brand. Don’t these ingrates know who paid for their building, and what eternal reciprocal obligations they incurred in exchange?

PR request update: NCAA wastes Gottfredson’s time on more sports crap

5/23/2013: UO is on the verge of being kicked out of the AAU.

Meanwhile, the self important pissant jock-sniffers on the NCAA Infractions Committee don’t think the UO President has anything important to do with his time. So they “invite” him to come to their meeting in Indianapolis and explain to their pompous selves what coach Chip Kelly did wrong at UO, years before, and how much UO should now pay for his sins.

OK, I know I’ve bitched about Gottfredson’s $540K salary. But putting up with people like this? Triple it and he’s still underpaid. Assuming, of course, that the athletic department and their boosters are the ones compensating him for this humiliation, and not our students. And for his travel expenses to Indianapolis. And I hope that ticket was first-class.

Full document here. These documents are public only because, after more than a year of O’Fallon trying to hide this expensive disaster from the UO IAC and the press, I found this ruling from Dave Frohnmayer’s DOJ in 1981, stating that NCAA infractions documents were public records in Oregon. 
UO has a Senate committee to deal with athletics issues. The charge is here:

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.

But since UO’s NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative Jim O’Fallon will not even tell the IAC what’s going on, much less consult with us, let’s see what President Gottfredson told the NCAA about UO’s Loss of Institutional Control over our athletic department:

Dear Ms Thornton: 

This is a public records request for a copy of the remarks, notes, or talking points prepared for or presented by President Gottfredson and other UO employees or attorney’s or consultants for the Feb 23 2013 meeting of the NCAA Committee on Infractions in Indianapolis. 

I ask for a fee-waiver on the grounds of public interest. Under our charge the UO Senate IAC should have been briefed on this situation, but Faculty Athletics Representative Jim O’Fallon has told the IAC nothing, and did not even inform the IAC of this meeting. 

I note that the 1981 public records opinion by then Attorney General Dave Frohnmayer’s DOJ makes clear that these sorts of records are subject to disclosure: 

Bill Harbaugh
UO Prof. of Economics

Barton wants to search Kelly’s pockets for the money

Provides that a coach at public university who intentionally or recklessly commits or causes to be committed major violation of rules of National Collegiate Athletic Association is liable for university’s actual damages and attorney fees. Applies to major violations committed before, on or after effective date. Declares emergency, effective on passage. 

The Oregonian has reported that the University of Oregon has already paid more than $150,000 to an outside law firm for that firm’s help in investigating alleged recruiting violations that took place on the watch of former Ducks football coach Chip Kelly. With the program facing major penalties, Kelly fled to the NFL, where he is now the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. …

“When it comes to following the rules, the costs and benefits are misaligned in college sports. Coaches benefit in the short-term by breaking recruiting rules, allowing them to build their programs and sometimes getting a job in the pros,” Barton said in an email. “But the university, particularly its players and fans, pays the long-term costs of the coach’s misconduct in the form of NCAA sanctions. How many college coaches (Chip Kelly, [former USC football coach] Pete Carroll, etc.) have we seen jump to the NFL after the NCAA begins investigating, leaving behind a damaged program? This pattern will repeat itself until we realign the basic incentives.

A lawyer who understands incentives. Good combination. 5/1/2013.

Secret meeting update. Chip Kelly was a cheat who skipped town on his debts

4/24/2013: Secret meeting update: 

SI is reporting UO held a meeting with the NCAA infractions committee last week to negotiate penalties. The charge of the UO Senate’s IAC says the IAC shall be consulted by the

3. The faculty athletics representative about all ongoing investigations and major violations.

And the Frohnmayer DOJ opinion says these investigations are a matter of public record. But FAR Jim O’Fallon and AD Rob Mullens have kept everything secret from the IAC, including this meeting. While making the academic side pay half the legal bills.

Another update: Duck sports and public records get the “O” brand priceless national recognition in the NY Times.

Update: Oregonian sports columnist John Canzano is unimpressed with Dave Hubin’s game:

Without that, there is no real transparency. There is no accountability, either. Oregon has played games with the media charged with covering one of this state’s biggest public entities, refusing to adequately and decently meet public-records requests. The Ducks have withheld information and moved slooooooooowly, then suddenly released documents on Friday nights, and on game days. UO released the original Lyles scouting reports, and said, “This is all we have,” then, a day later, recanted with, “Oh, yeah, that wasn’t all. Here’s a little more.” …

Glazier is a legend in a case such as this. And maybe he’s just trying to justify the steep cost of retaining him. The UO general counsel’s office and the athletic department are sharing the cost of his specialty law firm, which only means that taxpayers are on the hook here. 

Yes, the taxpayers deserve transparency. Yes, the public deserves a quick and reasonable turnaround on public records requests. And yes, Oregon’s athletic department needs to come to the NCAA, hat in hand, accept its punishment, and let the football program move forward. 

4/16/2013: That’s the conclusion from the documents UO released yesterday to KATU after 6 months of stalling by the Public Records Office. Randy Geller and Doug Park had been arguing NCAA docs were exempt, but I dug up this 1981 opinion by Frohnmayer’s DOJ saying just the opposite. Too bad guys.

Adam Jude has the story and the links in the Oregonian. The costs of the investigation and the sanctions UO is trying to negotiate with the NCAA will probably run into the millions. It’s been a huge distraction for new Pres Gottfredson – from what I can tell from his calendar he’s spent far more time in meetings about sports than about academic issues like Espy.
Here are the latest billings from the law firm of Mike Glazier, the NCAA fixer Rob Mullens hired to try and deal with this. Last I heard Randy Geller was still making the academic side pay half his bills:
Mullens and UO’s “Faculty Athletics Representative” Jim O’Fallon refused to talk about any of this with the UO Senate athletics committee, claiming NCAA rules prohibit it. They don’t. There was a clause in Kelly’s contract allowing UO to fine him for costs like this, but from what I can tell Rob Mullens let him leave town without asking for a dime. It’s much easier to spend other people’s money on your friends when nobody’s looking over your shoulder, right Rob and Jim?

UO’s Jim O’Fallon and UConn’s Nate Miles

3/8/2013: Back in 2009 the NCAA Committee on Infractions, which includes UO’s Faculty Athletics representative and former Knight law professor Jim O’Fallon, ruled that UConn had paid impermissible benefits to a basketball player, Nate Miles:

NCAA enforcer Jim O’Fallon NCAA player Nate Miles

INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions has penalized the University of Connecticut for violations in its men’s basketball program…. As stated in the committee’s public infractions report, this case centers on the “extraordinary steps” taken by the university to recruit a top prospective student-athlete to its men’s basketball program. … Specifically, the booster provided the prospect with impermissible inducements, including the payment of at least a portion of the expenses for the young man’s foot surgery; … The members of the Committee on Infractions who reviewed this case include … James O’Fallon, law professor and faculty athletics representative for University of Oregon. 

From the official report:

What’s the problem? Well, the federal health privacy law HIPAA prevents the release of medical records, including billing records, without the patient’s consent. According to CBS, the NCAA may have obtained the records illegally, and then O’Fallon’s committee used the illegally obtained records to punish UConn:

Miles told he authorized neither the Tampa Bone and Joint Center nor the NCAA to discuss his medical condition. 

“I didn’t authorize anybody,” he said. 

“I never told anybody to share anything,” Miles said in a later interview. “I just couldn’t believe they did. I thought they couldn’t. I lost everything.”

Yes, we wouldn’t want to let universities or their boosters pay for foot surgery – let that go unchecked and it could take a serious cut out of the NCAA’s take. In 2011, the NYT reported on what eventually became of Miles:

The former University of Connecticut basketball recruit Nate Miles is effectively homeless. He moves from friend’s couch to friend’s couch, still recovering from a violent assault that left him with a stab wound and a punctured lung and a monthlong stay in the hospital. 

O’Fallon, on the other hand, is doing quite well in his 24th year as FAR without faculty review, pulling down $93K and free junkets to the games, with a sweet half time job in President Gottfredson’s office. And PERS, and a law school job to fall back on. Which is nice:

Thanks to for the CBS link.