Aug 25th, 2021 |
53: The Curse of NCAA v Tarkanian
On August 3rd, 2021, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors announced an immediate and substantial restriction on the Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP). The Commission on College Basketball (CCB) recommended the IARP to restore integrity to the infractions and enforcement process in high-stakes NCAA investigations. Launched in August of 2019, only six cases have been referred to the IARP, all in men’s basketball, with five of the six resulting from the criminal cases in New York. The IARP includes an independent Complex Case Unit consisting of outside investigators to find facts and inform independent resolution hearing panels. As clearly stated in the CCB’s report, the Complex Case Unit’s very purpose was to offer an investigatory track completely independent of the NCAA national office’s enforcement staff. Under the Board of Directors August 3rd, 2021, directive, the Complex Case Unit must now accept the investigatory work of the NCAA enforcement staff “unless the [complex case] unit can demonstrate a compelling reason why additional investigation is required.” The Board of Directors based its’ rationale for an immediate overhaul of the IARP’s Complex case Unit authorities on “concerns about the delay in the resolution of cases referred to the independent process” and that “much of the delay is the result of efforts by the Complex Case Unit to ‘re-investigate’ cases that the enforcement staff thoroughly investigated.” This change flies in the face of the very purpose of the Complex Case Unit. The five basketball scandal cases were referred to the IARP between May 18th, 2020, and February 19th, 2021. How can there be a delay in a process that has barely gotten underway? And why did the five-year investigation into Baylor’s football program—decided on August 11th, 2021— not raise concerns regarding delay and inefficiency? This episode analyzes these issues in the context of one of the most important and rarely discussed legal decisions in the history of college sports—NCAA v Tarkanian—decided by the US Supreme Court in 1988.