Todd McNair Railroaded by NCAA, Again


Reading about the NCAA case against USC is one of the most frustrating things as a Trojan fan. If the case were tried in a court of law, the judge would laugh at the prosecution because they don’t have any semblance of a case. Unfortunately, the NCAA tries its own cases and makes its own arbitrary decisions. Personally, I wish the appeals process would end and the story find its way out of the media. Each time a story comes up, it just enrages me even more to see how hypocritical and inconsistent the NCAA truly is. AS points out, the NCAA’s rebuttal to former USC running backs coach Todd McNair shows that USC is in trouble with their appeal.

"The former USC football assistant says the Committee has made a flawed case far worse by bringing in, contrary to its own rules of procedure and evidence, new, mistaken, immaterial, irrelevant, contradictory and false allegations against him, even to the point of inventing quotes and making a first-ever “phantom finding.”"

Does it surprise anybody that the NCAA would go to the length of fabricating evidence breaking its own bylaws? As mentioned when the report first came out, the enforcement staff asked misleading questions by not even providing the right date when asking about the phone call they used to “nail” McNair. Most importantly, the case relied heavily, if not solely, on circumstantial evidence. The problem is, the NCAA chose to believe a convicted felon that was angry Reggie Bush took his money versus an assistant coach at USC.

"According to McNair, the Committee has made both factual and procedural errors in the case, with a number newly raised on appeal. Any one of these, the rebuttal argues, should be sufficient for the Infractions Appeals Committee, expected to rule next month in his case, to set aside what McNair says is a “career-ending” finding of “unethical conduct.” After he was forbidden by the NCAA to do any recruiting for a year, McNair’s contract was not renewed by USC this past summer. For starters, the Committee’s credibility determination on McNair was based on a “fundamentally flawed” analysis of the case, the rebuttal argues. It “erroneously” imputes to McNair as a “primary thrust” of his defense one that USC has adopted in its separate case. But it was not one that McNair has ever taken a position on, ever been asked about or would have any reason to know."

Why hasn’t McNair been given a chance to respond to these allegations? The likely response is that the NCAA doesn’t want its “findings” and “evidence” to fall apart. If the assistant coach gets a chance to re-butt, McNair’s testimony would likely make the NCAA’s stance so egregious not even they would welcome that PR.

"The problem here, McNair and his attorney contend, is that “These allegations were not alleged in the Notice of Allegations and, therefore, McNair never provided a defense to these vague, unsubstantiated allegations” in his appeal. And that all these months later, this is “the first time the COI [Committee on Infractions] informed McNair that it based its unethical finding on Lake’s claims.” The Committee also apparently clings to conclusions based on contradictory findings against McNair despite having had those pointed out to it."

First of all, the fact that the NCAA is introducing new evidence is ridiculous. Per their own bylaws, the appeals process can only consider the facts of the case and determine whether or not a procedural error had been made. How convenient that the NCAA doesn’t have to follow its own rules in an attempt to augment their “case.” Furthermore, I find it nearly impossible that the NCAA actually found new evidence. In four years of investigation, they were able to find meager pieces of evidence that added up to a sliver of a finding. Does it seem reasonable that the bumbling enforcement staff found uncovered some magical piece of evidence? Hardly.

"It still finds that McNair called Lake on Oct. 29, the night Bush was hosting top recruit Percy Harvin, because “McNair knew Lake and knew Lake was with xxxx that night.” But then it also finds that McNair’s friend, actor Faison Love, “introduced Lake to McNair later that night.”"

This “factoid” in the case has always struck me as odd. Perhaps I am weird, but I have never been introduced to someone after knowing them and knowing them well enough to know there whereabouts and who they were with. Even an elementary school child knows thats a logical fallacy.

"Then the Committee expanded and supplemented its rationale that McNair wasn’t credible by bringing in claims for the first time, again not according to established NCAA procedures on appeal — and something McNair was not allowed to do. These credibility claims attacked McNair’s testimony on Bush’s internship with marketing agent Michael Ornstein, on Bush’s 1996 Impala, on Bush’s parents’ house and their attendance at away games. None of those had ever been raised in the Infractions Report concerning McNair nor were they “responsive to the errors McNair raised in his appeal [and] they have nothing to do with the allegations brought against McNair,” the rebuttal argues. “It is impermissible for the [Infractions Committee] to use its response to expand and supplement its stated rationale for the finding on appeal.”"

The problem with the goons at the NCAA is that they are on an immense power trip. Tell them they didn’t use logic and they’ll create more evidence against you. Stand up to the bully that is the NCAA and they’ll tell you that is just too bad because you have to play by their rules and their rules only. When the member institutions signed off on a governing body, they gave away all the power and created a dictatorship.

"Here’s how the McNair rebuttal addresses that: “Perhaps most importantly, the COI did not rebut McNair’s illustration that it based McNair’s unethical conduct finding on factually incorrect statements,” such as who made the infamous Jan. 8, 2006 Lake-McNair phone call and what was discussed. When asked about that call, Lake falsely answered about how and why McNair would have called him, even though phone records show Lake made the call to McNair. But the clearly false answer did not damage Lake’s credibility, the NCAA said. It excused Lake’s faulty testimony on this most crucial single piece of evidence by saying he hadn’t been properly prepared for an interview and it’s “perfectly understandable” how he might not have recalled the exact details of a call 22 months after it occurred."

Why can a convicted felon mix up his story about a crucial piece of evidence and still have unquestioned credibility? Last time I checked, lying to the NCAA never put you in their good graces. Maybe I didn’t realize that it’s ok to lie when it helps build a case against USC.

"“Any unethical conduct based on factually incorrect statements,” McNair argues, “must be set aside . . . not only did the COI fail to refute the arguments in McNair’s appeal, the response provided new and independent reasons to set aside the unethical conduct finding.” Instead of addressing the issues raised after the report was released in June, the Committee has chosen to add a series of what McNair’s rebuttal describes as “nonresposive” and never-before presented charges and findings concerning McNair — all contrary to NCAA rules governing infractions cases."

This portion of the response nails why McNair’s case should be overturned. The NCAA clearly made procedural errors. did an excellent job of finding the missteps and pointing them out. However, the NCAA has made even more mistakes and continues to butcher the case.

In reality, I truly don’t know whether USC knew about Reggie Bush and his benefits. Some punishment was warranted because he received those gifts, but the one delivered was way too harsh. I wish Paul Dee, chair of the Committee on Infractions, had put down his donuts and looked at the facts for a second. The case is full of gaping holes. It is pathetic that it takes four years to build a joke of a case and then you still have to skirt the bylaws to even make it something you can submit. The NCAA should be ashamed of themselves as an organization for their ineptitude. The fact that millions of people around the country can see the lack of basic reasoning skills by the enforcement staff and appeals committee doesn’t speak highly to their organization. The NCAA shows exactly why power should never be vested in one governing body and how power makes people do idiotic things. Death to the NCAA!