Sep 21st, 2021 |
62: NCAA v NC State — Respectfully Throwing Down the Gauntlet
On April 8, 2020, NC State responded to Carol Cartwright’s February 14, 2020, referral letter. NC State’s response—presented by three prominent national law firms and distinguished individual advocates—lays the foundation for a potential legal challenge to the NCAA’s conduct in its infractions and enforcement case. The response points out the egregious procedural irregularities in the NCAA’s handling of the case and the entire Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP). According to NC State, that process bears little resemblance to the recommendations of the Commission on College Basketball from which the IARP originated. As NC State accurately argues, the “new” the NCAA infused into the IARP the very conflicts of interest and NCAA insider influence that the CCB’s recommendations tried to mitigate. NC State also makes a compelling case that it fully cooperated in all aspects of the investigation into the allegations giving rise to the criminal case in the Southern District of New York. NC State cooperated with federal prosecutors, the court, and the NCAA (including its enforcement staff and outside lawyers). NC State’s Senior Associate Athletics Director for Compliance was a star witness for the prosecution in the SDNY criminal case and testified to NC State’s “extensive systems that are in place to detect, deter, and report NCAA violations.” NC State’s portrayal of its cooperation with all aspects of the criminal case flies in the face of Cartwright’s claims in her referral letter that NC State’s conduct in the infractions and enforcement process amounted to “adversarial posturing.” This episode analyzes NC State’s response memo in the context of the changed circumstances in college between April 2020 and the Independent Resolution Panel’s hearing just last month. In those sixteen months, the world of college sports changed forever. The hearing panel’s decision may provide a window into how the NCAA has absorbed these fundamental changes and the extent to which it stands by its conceptualization of amateurism—the primary principle upon which the entire infractions and enforcement apparatus rests.