The exodus from the NCAA continues as their director of enforcement has left for a position at Auburn.
Dave Didion’s last day was Friday, after which he accepted a job as the associate athletic director for compliance. Didion will start the job officially on April 22. This according to USA Today.
The move wasn’t a jumping-ship move, to be fair, at least, it doesn’t fully appear to be. He has previously worked on at Auburn from 1995-1999 and has 25 years of experience in enforcement and compliance.
“It’s personal,” Didion said of his decision to leave the NCAA, “but I just wanted to go back to campus, and Auburn is one of the few places that I could go to…I really enjoyed the people, and I enjoyed members of the coaching staff. It’s a great community. It’s a beautiful university. No reason not to go back.”
He is the fifth individual in the enforcement area of the NCAA to leave or be fired in President Mark Emmert’s two-and-a-half year tenure in Indianapolis.
Investigator Ameen Najjar was fired last year before it was revealed he approved paying the lawyer for former Miami (Fla.) booster Nevin Shapiro. The NCAA’s admission that it had paid Maria Elena Perez, Shapiro’s attorney, to use bankruptcy proceedings to obtain information from witnesses that otherwise wouldn’t cooperate led the association to throw out part of its case against the school. Shapiro is serving a 20-year prison sentence for running a $930 million Ponzi scheme.
As a result of its investigation, the NCAA fired Julie Roe Lach, whom Emmert had named vice president of enforcement when he was hired.
Within the past year, the NCAA enforcement staff has seen veteran investigator Rich Johanningmeier retire as well. Investigator Abigail Grantstein was fired in December after it was revealed a man who said he was her boyfriend was overheard on a flight bragging that UCLA freshman Shabbaz Muhammed would not be cleared before key facts had been gathered.
Emmert’s staff at the NCAA has shown a pattern of ineptitude that has been unparalleled in recent months with the Shabazz Muhammad and Nevin Shapiro cases, so it might be the best thing for those in that enforcement department that they find other employment.
Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten