This week the Michael L. Buckner Law Firm continues its weekly summary of the biggest news stories in NCAA compliance and enforcement. Below are the top stories for this past week.
Takeaway: Louis Freeh and his law firm, Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan, LLP, were retained in November 2011 on behalf of the Special Investigations Task Force of the Board of Trustees of Penn State University to conduct the independent investigation. The firm ultimately found there was a “total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State. The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized.” While the report does demonstrate the institution lacked control in terms of its traditional definition, the NCAA has only historically found a lack of institutional control when there is some type of connection to a violation of established NCAA legislation.
Takeaway: The NCAA has banned four nonscholastic teams from participation in NCAA-certified summer basketball events due to ties with sports agent Andy Miller. The NCAA enforcement staff, which obtained a copy of an e-mail sent from Miller’s account, determined after interviews with individuals from the nonscholastic teams, that prohibited conduct occurred between them and Miller. As a result, if an event operator allows these teams to compete in an NCAA-certified event while affiliated with the involved individuals, the event operator may be in violation of the NCAA basketball event certification requirements.
Takeaway: Syracuse University released a report on Thursday, July 5, 2012, containing the results of an independent investigation into how the institution addressed allegations in 2005 that then-assistant men’s basketball coach Bernie Fine sexually abused a boy. The report, which was prepared by an outside law firm, faulted some aspects of the institution’s 2005 investigation and response. Syracuse retained its longtime outside legal counsel, Bond Schoeneck & King, PLLC, in 2005 to deal with the allegations. Syracuse, in response to the report concluded that “when viewed in hindsight, the process was imperfect, and some of the judgments made could have been better. Among other things, the report notes that the university should have made direct contact with law enforcement; that the university’s counsel should have alerted the chancellor to allegations that student athletes may have had sexual encounters with Laurie Fine, Bernie Fine’s wife; and that the Board of Trustees (or some components thereof) should have been informed of the allegations.”