UConn’s Response to NCAA Forthcoming

Mike Anthony of the Hartford Courant quoted me in his excellent article “Experts Describe How UConn Might Answer NCAA” which appeared in Sunday’s paper.  The article covered UConn’s response to the NCAA’s notice of allegations arising from UConn’s recruitment of Nate Miles.  Here are a few excerpts:

…UConn’s stance will soon be public knowledge. The program has until Sept. 3 to formally respond to the NCAA’s committee on infractions, and the athletic department is likely to hold a press conference to disclose much of that response. The original deadline was Aug. 20, but UConn’s request for an extension was approved by the NCAA. Hathaway, Calhoun, legal counsel Rick Evrard and others will have had more than three months to review the charges, explore their validity, mount defenses and self-impose sanctions…

“Before recommending self-imposed sanctions, UConn is likely to argue that it eliminated the root of the violations by asking for the resignations of the two assistant coaches who allegedly placed the impermissible phone calls and text messages,” New Haven attorney Daniel Fitzgerald, who specializes in sports law, said in an e-mail. “In other words, UConn may use this to mitigate the severity of the sanctions. As for self-imposed sanctions I would expect UConn to recommend recruiting restrictions, as the alleged violations took place on the recruiting trail.”

Said Fitzgerald: “The charges of failure to monitor and failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance are center stage. The NCAA wants to promote compliance from the top down. If an assistant [coach] makes impermissible phone calls and places impermissible text messages it’s a problem. But it is more problematic when the university lacks internal mechanisms to discover such violations before they become too pronounced.”

“The USC case was instructive in that it reinforced the responsibility of coaches and ADs to monitor their programs,” Fitzgerald said. “The fact that head coach Pete Carroll claimed no knowledge of Reggie Bush‘s dealing with an agent was not persuasive. The take away might be the standard that programs are held to — even if the program was unaware of the violations, the NCAA seems to be saying it should have known. Of course the USC case is also much different than UConn’s as it involves perhaps the payment of a player by an agent, a cardinal sin in collegiate athletics.”

Click here to read Anthony’s article in its entirety, and here to read his UConn Men’s Basketball Blog.

For more of Connecticut Sports Law’s coverage of UConn’s dealings with the NCAA, see the following posts:

UConn: Breaking Down the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations

UConn Recruiting Violations Links

UConn Assistants Resign Amid NCAA Probe

Monday Sports Briefs: UConn Basketball Edition

3 Points on UConn’s Alleged NCAA Violations

NCAA Compliance and the Role of Attorneys

Yahoo! Reports that UConn Broke Recruiting Rules

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