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  • House panel hears from Bloom in probe of NCAA

    Sept. 14, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    WASHINGTON -- Jeremy Bloom told a congressional panel Tuesday that the NCAA cut his college football career short without giving him a fair chance to argue his case.

    Bloom, who would have been a junior receiver at Colorado this year, lost his college eligibility because of endorsement deals he received as a professional skier. He is a world champion in freestyle moguls and a 2002 Olympian.

    Officials of the NCAA called Bloom's endorsements willful violations of the rules, unlike similar cases that were deemed misunderstandings. They insisted Bloom had a fair hearing and every opportunity to state his side.

    "In the NCAA, the judgment of the dispute is formed exclusively within the organization by their own members," Bloom told the House Judiciary Committee's panel on the Constitution. "They're the judge, the jury and the executioner."

    Bloom's two-year fight with the NCAA came to an end two weeks before the regular season, when an NCAA panel turned down his final appeal to play football. NCAA rules allow athletes to accept salaries as professionals in other sports, but they aren't allowed to accept money from sponsors.

    Jo Potuto, vice chairwoman of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions, said the organizing body for college sports gives student athletes due process as required by the Constitution. This is done, she said, despite court decisions that have rejected arguments that the NCAA is a "state actor" and therefore subject to these requirements.

    "An even playing field means more than an evenhanded and consistent application of the rules on the field," Potuto said. "It also means an evenhanded and consistent application of the rules off the field."

    Although Bloom's case got the most attention at the hearing, the larger question of whether Congress should tell the NCAA how it should investigate and adjudicate violations of association rules struck a personal chord with many members of the House panel.

    Republican Rep. Spencer Bachus called the hearing after the NCAA imposed sanctions against two major college athletic programs in his home state of Alabama.

    More than two years ago, the University of Alabama's football program was placed on probation, banned from bowl games and stripped of scholarships for recruiting violations.

    This year, Auburn's basketball program was slapped with probation and a loss of a scholarship amid charges that an AAU coach improperly acted as a representative of the university by arranging to wire money to one high school prospect and get a car for another.

    Bachus didn't bring up the Alabama or Auburn cases during questioning, but he accused the NCAA of trying to "poison the atmosphere" by citing the cases in an NCAA news release about the hearing.

    Bachus asked Potuto why hearings by the NCAA's infractions committee are closed to the public. Potuto said a more open process would subject the schools and athletes under investigation to additional scorn and pressure through the media.

    David Ridpath, an assistant professor of sport administration at Mississippi State, said an even larger potential problem is a perceived conflict of interest during NCAA investigations. The NCAA is biased against a school's appeal because the organization made the charge the school is appealing, he said.

    Ridpath filed a lawsuit alleging he was fired as an adjunct professor at Marshall in an effort to silence him after he uncovered an improper employment scheme for student athletes at the school.

    Member institutions either are afraid of the NCAA or too close to it, he said, creating a cartel-like process that seldom results in just decisions and often is used to "settle scores or cash chips in."

    "It's an insider's game, just like the old fox guarding the hen house," Ridpath said. "College athletics is a very seductive business that has forced good people to do bad things and bad people to do worse things."



    AP NEWS
    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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  • DJRamFan
    NCAA rejects Bloom's bid to play football, accept endorsements
    by DJRamFan
    Aug. 17, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    BOULDER, Colo. -- The NCAA has denied Jeremy Bloom's request to play football at Colorado while accepting endorsements to support his skiing career.

    The decision, announced Tuesday, likely means Bloom's football career is over unless the NCAA reverses itself on appeal, university spokeswoman Lindsey Bab**** said.

    She said the university plans an appeal.

    Bloom, a world champion freestyle skier, was training with the U.S. Ski Team in Chile. Ski team officials did not immediately return a telephone message.

    In a statement released by the university, Bloom said he was "shocked and saddened."

    The NCAA rejected a request from Bloom and the university for a waiver of rules that prevent college athletes from accepting endorsement income, the university said Tuesday.

    Bloom, a junior receiver, has been battling the NCAA for more than two years over whether he can accept endorsement money as a professional skier and still keep his eligibility to play college football.

    Bloom started accepting endorsement money last winter, saying he could no longer afford to train for skiing without them. The Colorado Court of Appeals denied his request for an injunction against the NCAA in May.

    He then filed his latest request with the NCAA for a waiver.


    AP NEWS
    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
    -08-17-2004, 10:59 AM
  • DJRamFan
    NCAA says it will review appeals of nickname policy
    by DJRamFan
    Aug. 19, 2005
    CBS SportsLine.com wire reports




    INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA said Friday that approval from American Indian tribes would be a primary factor in deciding appeals from schools that want to use Native American nicknames and mascots in postseason play.

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    The first review is scheduled to start next week.

    Two weeks ago, the NCAA announced that it would ban the use of American Indian imagery and nicknames by school representatives at postseason tournaments starting in February. Mascots will not be allowed to perform at tournament games, and band members and cheerleaders will also be barred from using Indian images on their uniforms beginning in 2008.

    The decision also prohibits schools with American Indian mascots from hosting future NCAA postseason events. Schools that have already been awarded postseason tournaments would have to cover any Indian depictions in their sports venues.

    Major college football will not be affected because there is no official NCAA tournament.

    All appeals will go through a staff committee chaired by Bernard Franklin, the NCAA's senior vice president for governance and membership. Decisions could then be reviewed by the NCAA's executive committee.

    "This is a complex issue and the circumstances surrounding each institution's use of Native American mascots and imagery is different," Franklin said in a written statement. "Each review will be considered on the unique aspects and circumstances as it relates to the specific use and practice at that college or university."

    One factor will be whether documentation exists from a "namesake" tribe that has approved use of Indian images or nicknames.

    The most outspoken university officials have been at Florida State, which uses the nickname Seminoles and has already threatened a lawsuit. The Seminole Tribe of Florida announced in June it supported the use of its tribal name by Florida State. And the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma recently stated that it does not condemn Florida State for its use of the Seminole nickname.

    But NCAA officials said Florida State was put on the list because otherJWe¼knole tribes were opposed.

    At least 18 schools face sanctions.

    "It is vitally important that we maintain a balance between the interests of a particular Native American tribe and the NCAA's responsibility to ensure an atmosphere of respect and sensitivity for all who attend and participate in our championships," NCAA President Myles Brand said in a written statement.

    "We recognize that there are many points of view associated with this issue and we also know that some Native American groups support the use of mascots and imagery and some do not; that is why...
    -08-19-2005, 03:23 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Utah appeals to NCAA on Utes nickname
    by DJRamFan
    Sep. 1, 2005
    CBS SportsLine.com wire reports




    SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah sought permission from the NCAA to keep using its Utes nickname and requested a decision before Friday's nationally televised football game against Arizona.

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    The university sent a seven-page appeal to the governing body Wednesday, asking that it be removed from a list of 18 schools with American Indian nicknames, mascots or images.

    "The university is anxious to have this matter resolved," university president Michael K. Young wrote.

    The NCAA said there would be no decision by Friday and declined to say when a ruling might be expected.

    The school's mascot dresses as a red-tailed hawk and has nothing to do with the state's Indian heritage. Other than the name, the only Indian reference the school uses is two feathers on the "U" emblem.

    On Aug. 4, the NCAA said it would ban American Indian images and nicknames by school representatives at postseason tournaments starting in February. Mascots will not be allowed to perform at tournament games, and band members and cheerleaders will be barred from using Indian images on their uniforms beginning in 2008.

    The decision also prohibits schools with American Indian mascots from hosting future NCAA postseason events. Schools that have already been awarded postseason tournaments would have to cover any Indian depictions in their sports venues.

    The appeal includes two letters in support of the university, one from Maxine Natchees, chairwoman of the Uintah and Ouray Tribal Business Committee, and one from Craig Thompson, commissioner of the Mountain West Conference.

    The NCAA has said approval from American Indian tribes would be a primary factor in deciding appeals from schools that want to use such nicknames and mascots in postseason play. The NCAA granted Florida State's appeal to keep its Seminoles nickname.

    AP NEWS
    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004-2005, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
    -09-01-2005, 07:29 PM
  • DJRamFan
    NCAA cites Florida A&M for lack of institutional control
    by DJRamFan
    Aug. 8, 2005
    CBS SportsLine.com wire reports




    Florida A&M was cited for a lack of institutional control by the NCAA on Monday after an investigation found rampant violations regarding student-athlete eligibility and a failure by former football coach Billy Joe to adequately monitor his program.

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    The NCAA's notice of allegations listed 184 instances between 1998-99 and 2004-05 in which students throughout the athletics program were allowed to participate without meeting NCAA eligibility requirements.

    "Key personnel ... lacked acceptable levels of expertise and knowledge of these regulations resulting in an inadequate certification system and a number of improper certifications of its student-athletes," the report said.

    Most of those eligibility violations occurred under former compliance director Jonathan Evans, who is no longer at the school.

    The school had earlier made public the results of itsr internal report and volunteered to strip scholarships in almost every sport -- including 28 in football -- and impose a one-year postseason ban on its men's basketball team next season.

    This comes two months after Joe and two assistants were fired by the school, which cited alleged NCAA rules violations in recruiting and eligibility as the reasons for dismissal. Joe has since sued the school.

    The school will have until Sept. 5 to review the charges and respond. The NCAA Committee on Infractions is scheduled to hear Florida A&M's case during its Oct. 14-16 meetings in Colorado Springs, Colo.

    AP NEWS
    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004-2005, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
    -08-09-2005, 01:13 PM
  • DJRamFan
    NCAA clears Neuheisel, extends Washington's probation
    by DJRamFan
    Oct. 20, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    SEATTLE -- Former Washington coach Rick Neuheisel was cleared of wrongdoing by the NCAA on Wednesday for gambling in a college basketball pool, but the university had its probation extended two years.

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    Washington's NCAA probation -- initially imposed because of men's basketball recruiting violations -- now runs until Feb. 9, 2007. The school was also reprimanded for failing to monitor the football program.

    Thomas E. Yeager, chair of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions, said that Neuheisel avoided punishment because the school's compliance officer had written memos mistakenly saying that participation in gambling pools was allowed.

    "Sports wagering is a problem that continues to threaten the well-being of student-athletes and coaches and the integrity of intercollegiate athletics," Yeager said. "If not for unique and unusual mitigating circumstances in this case, the outcome certainly would have been different. This case should not be interpreted in any fashion as a softening of the NCAA's antigambling position."


    The NCAA said it found no proof Rick Neuheisel intentionally broke the rules. (Getty Images)
    Neuheisel coached four seasons at Colorado before compiling a 33-16 record in four seasons with the Huskies, including a Rose Bowl victory.

    Neuheisel was fired in June 2003 by then-athletic director Barbara Hedges after he acknowledging taking part in a high-priced NCAA college basketball tournament pool.

    Neuheisel twice told Hedges that he had never taken part in gambling pools, when in fact he had won $11,219 in two of them - winnings he donated to a local school.

    "The important thing is to realize that, not only did they not impose any penalties on me but also, they came to the conclusion that I did not violate any rules, which is the way I had felt all along," Neuheisel said in an interview with College Sports Television, with whom he works as an analyst.

    The NCAA said in its report it was "very troubled" Neuheisel initially lied, but said that because of the memos, it could find no evidence that he intentionally broke the rules. Neuheisel was never charged with ethical violations for lying because he told the truth later the same day, Yeager said.

    The outcome could lead to Neuheisel's return to college coaching.

    "My hope is that someone will see this as vindication and that they will give me an opportunity. I think that, in the past, I've shown that I can do the job, and do it well," Neuheisel told CSTV.

    University attorney Lou Peterson said it would likely have no impact on a wrongful...
    -10-21-2004, 02:40 PM
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