Right Field

Did the NCAA Try to Frame USC Football?

Could be. Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports reports:

Documents that the NCAA is aggressively trying to keep under seal appear to show improper involvement by NCAA staff and committee members in the landmark USC decision more than two years ago.

A judge’s decision made public last week — and obtained in full by CBSSports.com — shows that at least three persons may have improperly tried to influence the NCAA’s powerful infractions committee to find former USC assistant Todd McNair complicit in the Reggie Bush case. Lawyers for McNair are trying to show the association violated its own rules and procedures in investigating their client.

Two non-voting members of the NCAA infractions committee and NCAA staffer allegedly tried to influence voting members inside the 10-person committee. The judge’s decision contains excerpts of emails that he has determined show “ill will or hatred” toward McNair.

McNair is suing the NCAA for an undisclosed amount for defamation of character citing irreparable damage to his career. The information was disclosed after a motion by NCAA lawyers to dismiss the case was denied.

Information in Judge Frederick Shaller’s decision reveal in detail the apparent lengths the NCAA went to cast McNair — as one NCAA staffer put it — as “a lying morally bankrupt criminal, in my view, and a hypocrite of the highest order.”

The duties of that staffer, believed to be infractions committee liaison Shep Cooper, are basically administrative — to assist the committee on infractions on their needs and gathering information. Cooper is a former NCAA enforcement rep.

Shaller said that evidence provided by McNair’s attorneys show the NCAA had a “wreckless disregard for the truth.” Emails between Cooper and committee members Rodney Uphoff, a Missouri law professor, and Roscoe Howard, a former U.S. attorney, were circulated “covertly” in violation of NCAA rules according to the document.

The rest here.

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