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IU's response to failure to monitor charge.

IU now has responded to the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions concerning "allegation 6" against IU arising out of the Sampson debacle. You may recall that this charge was added by the committee after the June 2008 hearing and was not the work of the NCAA's enforcement staff. Unsurprisingly, IU hammered that issue hard. Here's a link to Inside the Hall, which compiled the documents (one main document, two sets of exhibits) in one post.
The essence of IU's position can be found in the executive summary on page 11 of the first pdf document. The highlights:
  • IU's "two-tiered, redundant" monitoring program actually discovered the violations;
  • False information provided by IU coaches prevented the university from discovering the vast majority of the improper calls;
  • IU performed a 100 percent audit of the coaches' identified phone records, as opposed to an average of 10 percent at other I-A schools, according to a survey;
  • Only four calls, of 70,000 monitored, could have been discovered;
  • IU did discover the calls in a timely manner and self-reported;
  • IU's self-imposed sanctions are sufficient.

Other notes:

  • At page 18, IU quibbles with the way the allegation is written, claiming the bylaw citation is incorrect and that the date range is overbroad.
  • Also on page 18, IU notes that it requested a postponement of the hearing because of McRobbie's prior commitments and because of the associate AD's (presumably Grace Calhoun, perhaps Jennifer Brinegar) maternity leave. IU was told that the agenda for the August meeting was full, but at the hearing, the committee members contradicted that, claiming that IU could have selected the August meeting, and the committee also considered hearing the failure to monitor charge at the "full" August meeting. Right hand, meet the left hand.
  • Continuing on to page 19, it appears that the Committee focused the initial hours of its inquiry on IU's monitoring systems, and issued the FTM charge just days after the hearing. While IU's response doesn't come right out and say it, the implication is, "hey, assholes, if you knew you were going to charge us with FTM, and you planned to grill us for hours about it, why didn't you amend before the hearing and resolve the whole thing in August?"
  • IU also noted the vagueness of the FTM charge, which lacked the factual detail of the other charges.
  • IU notes, and I think this is an important point, that the discovery of the violations was as a result of the second tier of monitoring. Unless any missed violation is a "failure to monitor," then isn't the fact that a double-check revealed the problem evidence of an effective, if imperfect, monitoring effort?
  • On page 36, IU implores the committee members to check with their own institutions to see how their monitoring programs stack up. It's a good line, but I'm not sure I would taunt a rabid animal like the NCAA.
  • At page 41 of the pdf, IU notes that the NCAA seems to be imposing a "strict liability" standard. Strict liability is a legal doctrine, most commonly applied against the manufacturers of defective products, that basically means that if a product causes harm, the manufacturer is liable even if the manufacturer acted reasonably. It's not quite as simple in application as "it happened, so you're on the hook," but that's the concept.
  • Amazingly, IU doesn't seem to have any better insight than the rest of us about what exactly the NCAA means by "atmosphere of non-compliance" and the like. I presumed that there must have been some smoking gun at the hearing that would make this more obvious, but it doesn't seem so.
  • Pages 54-55: "this is an unethical conduct case, not a failure to monitor case." IU notes the strong cases against Senderoff and Sampson.
  • At page 58, IU notes that the committee's approach amounts to a prohibition of hiring of any coach who has committed NCAA violations, or at least holding a school strictly liable for any similar violations that occur.
  • IU notes that asking coaches, as a matter of course, to turn over their home phone records has implications. Because IU is a public institution, the records then would become public records, discoverable upon a proper request by any citizen.
  • As to the idea that IU didn't properly respond to the secondary violations involving Derek Elston, IU details its investigation process.

In sum, IU seems to be saying, between the lines, that if the NCAA wants to impose draconian rules on institutions that hire coaches with NCAA records, it should impose such rules, but that existing rules and precedent don't justify a finding of failure to monitor.