Todd McNair and his pack of lawyers have entered McNair's appeal to an NCAA Committee On Infractions ruling handed down earlier this summer. That case cost the ousted USC assistant his job coaching Trojan running backs, and McNair is swinging back with a very large bat, alleging all manner of errors and misdeeds in the COI's investigation and findings. USC's Rivals crew got ahold of a copy, and break it down charge by charge:
The most serious charge leveled by McNair was of post-hearing misconduct by the NCAA. According to the appeal, the committee [COI] had ex parte communications with the enforcement staff by sharing a draft of the committee's infractions report in order to correct "factual errors." NCAA bylaws 32.8.8 and 18.104.22.168 prohibit such ex parte communication.
NCAA bylaws state that when the enforcement staff is contacted to assist the committee, all parties will be able to respond to the information. No such notification or response occurred in USC's case according to McNair's appeal.
Two more excerpts from the report itself:
"Specifically, the COI changed and mischaracterized the testimony of Lloyd Lake, the sole source of the allegation against McNair, and then based its findings on the mischaracterized testimony."
"Because the NCAA has prejudged McNair's appeal, he has no meaningful option to appeal his finding and penalties. It is a forgone conclusion. The NCAA has nullified his right to appeal. The NCAA should vacate McNair's finding and penalties because in speaking out in support of the COI's decision, it has demonstrated bias and tainted the process."
It's difficult to tell how much impact any of this will have, but that last point is the one that gives me pause. Todd McNair is accusing the NCAA of prejudice. And if he's right, what on earth could possibly compel the appeals committee to agree with him?
McNair's problem here is the same problem he's always had, which is that it seems highly unlikely for the NCAA to just throw up their hands at this late stage of the game, cop to being Out To Get USC, and reverse their own decision. No matter how strong or valid his case is, how likely is it that the NCAA will set aside its own judgment and substitute McNair's lawyers'? After so many years plodding after this one case, the idea that any of the parties involved are ready to take their ball and trudge home is unthinkable. The COI is going to have an answer for every eventuality (or they'd better, as long as they took ruling on this mess), and conveniently enough, the NCAA answers to no one but itself.
And a reminder -- the Infractions Appeals Committee doesn't even meet until the end of September, so as ever, we've got a long time to mull this over.