Mark Emmert

The NCAA ‘did not violate a specific bylaw’ in their investigation into Miami?


You’re going to read a lot of words about the NCAA’s report on an external investigation into how they handled their own investigation into Miami and the accusations made by former booster and Ponzi-schemer Nevin Shapiro, but there is really only one line that you need to pay attention to:

The external review found that the NCAA enforcement staff “did not violate a specific bylaw or law.”

To recap:

– The NCAA hired Shaprio’s attorney, Maria Elena Perez, and paid her more than $18,000 (for more than $57,000 worth of work) specifically for the ability to sit in on and provide questions for depositions given under oath. The NCAA doesn’t have subpoena power.

– This happened, according to NCAA president Mark Emmert, despite the NCAA’s General Counsel directly telling the enforcement staff — specifically, investigator Ameen Najjar and his direct superiors, Julie Roe Lach and Tom Hosty — multiple times NOT to do to so.

– Najjar and Roe Lach have lost their jobs with the NCAA as a result.

– Richard Johanningmeier, the investigator that was involved with the Todd McNair and USC investigation, spent $8,200 — $4,500 of which went directly into Shapiro’s commissary account in prison — to interview him in prison. He even bought a burner, a disposable cell phone, to get in touch with Shapiro.

– More than 20% of the information gathered during this process has been determined to be tainted and will not be used as the NCAA furthers their case against Miami.

– John Duncan, a Kansas City attorney that has been named the interim Vice President of Enforcement, is currently representing the NCAA in a case against a former coach at the University of Buffalo.

And there wasn’t a single violation of a specific bylaw or law throughout the entire investigation into Miami?!?

How is that possible?

What makes matters worse is that all of this is happening while the NCAA is already dealing with enough turmoil to make Mark Emmert regret ever taking over the role as president of the NCAA. One investigator was fired after her boyfriend spent a plane ride detailing how Shabazz Muhammad was never going to be allowed to play college basketball. A judge used the terms “ill will or hatred” and “reckless disregard for the truth” in regards to the NCAA’s investigation into McNair.

Isn’t this the definition of a lack of institutional control?

The investigative arm of the institution is ignoring the directives provided by the legal arm, instead hiring lawyers to use their subpoena power and paying witnesses for access to their information all while developing quite the reputation for malicious and vindictive investigations.

Failure to monitor, indeed.

That’s precisely why you are going to hear people call for Mark Emmert’s job and for a complete overhaul of the NCAA, and not just the enforcement arm. Is Emmert really this clueless as to what is going on in his organization? Jim Isch, who is more-or-less the second most important person in the NCAA, actually approved the payment that Roe Lach made to Shaprio’s attorney. reported earlier that General Counsel Donald Remy was aware of and approved the payment, as well.

And yet, none of this was actually a violation on any NCAA bylaw.

That’s a problem that may be bigger than the fact that Emmert apparently has no control over anyone that works for him.

I think it may be time to simply scrap it all and start over from scratch.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Michigan State playing zone? It’s possible

Tom Izzo
Associated Press
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Throughout Tom Izzo’s tenure at Michigan State the team’s half-court man-to-man defense has been a staple, and the Spartans have generally proven difficult to have a high rate of offensive success against. The reliance on that defense is why Izzo’s conversations earlier this summer about using some token full-court pressure due to the shortening of the shot clock caught some people off-guard.

According to the Detroit Free Press there’s another wrinkle the Spartans may use, and it’s likely that this wrinkle will show up more often than the full-court press. During Friday’s opening practice the Spartans worked on a 2-3 zone, and Izzo wants his assistants to make sure the team works on the defense consistently throughout the season.

That’s also why zone in general isn’t going to get heavy play at MSU, but having it as a tool could be beneficial — especially in games with touch fouls on the perimeter called in droves.

“I told (my assistant coaches): ‘You hold me accountable to working on it every day some’ … I have a tendency to drift off on that, and I don’t want to drift off on it,” Izzo said of the 2-3 zone. “But we will be, rest assured, a 90-some percent man-to-man team still and hopefully take some of those principles to zone.”

As noted in the story one of the risks in using pressure is allowing quality shots, which is why it’s unlikely that Michigan State will go to it. But even with Izzo vowing that his team will work on the zone, that doesn’t mean they’ll be playing it as often as Syracuse does.

Man-to-man has been Michigan State’s staple and it will continue to be. But it doesn’t hurt to look for other ways to keep opponents from getting the looks they want, especially if teams have five fewer seconds to find those shots.

Virginia used 3-on-3 to adjust to new shot clock

Malcolm Brogdon
Associated Press
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When the college basketball rules committee made the decision to trim the shot clock down to 30 second from 35, one reason for the switch was the desire to improve offensive production. With offensive numbers at their lowest point in years, proponents of the move see the shot clock change as a necessary move if scoring is to improve.

Whether or not that winds up being the case will be seen throughout the upcoming season, but teams are still having to make adjustments during the preseason.

Virginia, which has played at a snail’s pace (and with great success, mind you) in recent years, made some adjustments to their summer work in anticipation of playing with a 30-second shot clock. One adjustment was more games of 3-on-3 with a 15-second shot clock, which forced all involved to be more decisive in their offensive decision-making.

While the pack-line defense will always be a staple of Tony Bennett’s teams, the feeling in Charlottesville is that they’ve got the offensive firepower needed to both play faster and be more efficient offensively than they were in 2014-15 (29th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy). One of the players who will lead the way is senior guard Malcolm Brogdon, who led the team in scoring and was a first team All-ACC selection, and he discussed the team’s outlook with Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

And even though Anderson’s highlight-reel shot blocking was the thing that frequently fueled fast-breaks for U.Va. last season, Brogdon and [Anthony] Gill said they expect this year’s team to actually push the tempo even more.

“I think we’re going to be a team that gets out and runs more,” Brogdon said. “I think we’ll have three guards on the floor, most of the time, will be able to handle the ball as a point guard and get out in transition. I think we’ll play a lot faster.”

Brogdon and Gill are two of the team’s three returning starters with point guard London Perrantes being the other, and the Cavaliers also return most of their reserves from last year’s rotation. That experience will help them on both ends of the floor as they prepare for a run at a third straight ACC regular season title. And in theory it also allows them to extend themselves a bit more offensively than they did a season ago.