New Todd McNair Documents Show Evidence of Inappropriate NCAA Action

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New documents relating to Todd McNair’s lawsuit against the NCAA were released Wednesday, revealing more evidence of the NCAA’s inappropriate handling of the USC sanctions.

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McNair’s lawyers filed a brief in the defamation lawsuit currently under appeal by the NCAA in the 2nd District Court of Appeal, which includes 256 of the remaining pages which were not included in the NCAA’s first 500-page filing in March.

Michael Lev of the OC Register laid out the the focus of the newly released documents:

"The e-mails include an update on the USC case sent by Shep Cooper, liaison to the COI, to other members of the committee dated Feb. 24, 2010 – four days after the conclusion of USC’s hearing with the NCAA. Cooper recaps the allegations against USC and includes a list of suggested penalties. They include a one-year postseason ban for the football team, the loss of six scholarships over two seasons and a limit of 82 total scholarship players for those two years. The actual sanctions, handed down 3 1/2 months later, included a two-year postseason ban, the loss of 30 scholarships over three seasons and a cap of 75 scholarship players for those three years. The question is what changed over those few months."

As Lev points out, the new documents released show the inappropriate involvement of two non-voting members of the Committee on Infractions helping to sway the pendulum towards heavier sanctions.

Roscoe Howard and Rodney Uphoff were both intended to be observers of the case and both contributed vehement arguments towards slamming USC and McNair for a variety of reasons, most of which were laid out in the first document dump.

What’s new in this set of documents are the admissions of COI member Dennis Thomas and COI liaison Shep Cooper that involvement from non-committee members in deliberations, as Cooper put it, “would not be appropriate.”

Yet that is exactly what both Howard and Uphoff did.

The latter called for “something dramatic” when it came to penalties, saying in an email that it would be “a huge mistake” if the committee was too lenient.

The former responded to the doubts of COI member Elenor Myers with a lengthy rebuttal laying out all the ways he believed McNair to be lying.

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Howard was also quoted by Cooper in another email saying during deliberations that “individuals like McNair shouldn’t be coaching at ANY level, and to think that he is at one of the premier college athletes programs in the country is outrageous.”

The money line of that email, which could ultimately win McNair his lawsuit for defamation reads: “He’s a lying, morally bankrupt criminal, in my view, and a hypocrite of the highest order.”

Considering Uphoff and Howard’s involvement in shaping the Committee’s ruling and admission from NCAA officials that such involvement was undoubtedly inappropriate, the mishandling of McNair and USC’s case is plain to see.

Whether that results in any restitution for USC remains to be seen. As for McNair, the NCAA seems to be fighting a losing battle.