Friday, October 14, 2011

NCAA plans court defense in UNC case

The NCAA plans to fight in court to prevent North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall from obtaining records related to the investigation of the University of North Carolina football program.

On Wednesday, the Secretary of State filed papers seeking an order from a Wake County Superior Court judge to compel the NCAA to turn over documents. In its own investigation, the Secretary of State is seeking transcripts of interviews, an unredacted version of the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations, and other documents.

In court papers, the Secretary of State’s office suggested that the NCAA advocated for states to pass the Uniform Athlete Agent Act to protect athletes, but is ignoring the law’s mandates.

In an e-mail message, NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn wrote that the NCAA is disappointed with the Secretary of State’s action.

“This came as a surprise to us,” Osburn wrote. “We were under the misimpression that we had a cooperative relationship with the office. To be clear, the NCAA has no objection to assisting with the lawful prosecution of agents that run afoul of the UAAA. In fact, we have spent considerable time and energy to assist various state agencies, including the North Carolina Secretary of State, in such prosecutions.”

Osburn wrote that the Secretary of State is asserting powers beyond those granted by the courts and creating an unnecessary dispute between the courts of North Carolina and the courts of Indiana.

Earlier in the investigation, the Secretary of State’s office did acquire documents in the case through a subpoena in the Indiana courts.

“We find it inappropriate and contrary to settled law that the Secretary of State would issue a subpoena without going through an entity of proper jurisdiction, in this case the Indiana Secretary of State,” Osburn wrote. “We also find it odd, as it has followed this exact procedure in the past. We are not sure of the Secretary of State’s motives or agenda, but we plan to fight this action aggressively in court.”

The Secretary of State’s court filing says the NCAA refused to comply with a subpoena from North Carolina. The filing says the NCAA’s counsel stated that even if served a subpoena from Indiana, the NCAA would assert confidentiality and redact information from the records.

A Nov. 28 court date has been set to hear arguments from both parties.

North Carolina’s version of the Universal Athlete Agent Act is designed to protect student-athletes’ eligibility. It requires agents to register with the Secretary of State’s office and prohibits them from offering anything of value to student-athletes until their eligibility is exhausted.

Violations of the law are a Class I felony.

The NCAA’s Notice of Allegations delivered in June charged UNC with nine major violations and said players received $27,097.38 in impermissible benefits, with much of it coming from individuals the NCAA considers to be agents.

Fourteen players missed at least one game and seven missed the entire season in 2010 as a result of the investigation. Former associate head coach John Blake, who resigned after the 2010 season opener, stands accused of trying to market players to the late agent Gary Wichard in the Notice of Allegations.

UNC has self-imposed penalties including two years of probation, vacating the 2008 and 2009 seasons and cutting scholarships by three in each of the next three seasons.

The Committee on Infractions will rule on whether UNC gets additional penalties after UNC officials argue their case on Oct. 28 in Indianapolis.

Items the Secretary of State subpoenaed include interviews with coaches, players, former Nebraska assistant Marvin Sanders and Todd Stewart, a friend of former UNC player Marvin Austin. The subpoena also requests a copy of Blake’s credit report.

Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

The NCAA is pi$$ed and guess who they are going to take it out on? That's right: UNC-CHeat.

Anonymous said...

The timing is so curious with NC's Secretary of State Elaine Marshall requesting only now for the NCAA records pertaining to the investigation into UNC's activities. Perhaps, it is now to provide a heads up for UNC to know what new findings that might be present. Makes sense, use the law to help with the fight, not spending all this time investigating rogue Sports Agents like Greg Hawkins & John Blake

Read more:

Anonymous said...

Does she WANT the NCAA to bring the hammer?

Can you see multiple Meineke Car Care Bowl bans in the future??? I can.