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Ex-USC assistant’s appeal denied by NCAA

Todd McNair

While it remains to be seen what it means — or doesn’t mean — for USC’s efforts to get their sanctions reduced, a former assistant coach for the Trojans has seen his appeal to the NCAA summarily slapped aside.

In a release Friday morning, the NCAA announced that they have denied the appeal made by ex-USC running backs coach Todd McNair regarding the sanctions he had received due to his connection to the Reggie Bush imbroglio.

McNair was given a “show-cause” order by the NCAA last year, which bars him from having any contact with recruits for one year and in essence precludes him from coaching during that period given the nature of the job.  The NCAA this morning reaffirmed its June decision that McNair “provided false and misleading information to the enforcement staff” and “violated NCAA legislation by signing a document certifying that he had no knowledge of NCAA violations.”

(In a completely unrelated note, Jim Tressel, you’re on the clock.)

The NCAA alleged McNair was aware of impermissible benefits that ultimately reached nearly $300,000 being given to Bush by Lloyd Lake, the would-be sports marketer with a lengthy rap sheet.  Lake’s credibility was at the heart of McNair’s appeal.

The Infractions Appeals Committee stated in its report that, “As the committee considered the former assistant coach’s arguments, both written and oral, it became clear that the most pertinent issues devolved to matters of witness credibility.” This statement specifically related to the former assistant coach’s arguments that the Committee on Infractions allegedly relied on false statements in making its credibility determinations. The appellate committee considered all of the information presented by the Committee on Infractions and the former assistant coach. As a result, the appellate committee found that the evidence met the standard required by its prior reports, the applicable NCAA bylaw and other matters, which properly guide its decisions. The appellate committee also did not agree with the former assistant coach’s remaining arguments on appeal, which the public report further details.

McNair’s attorney blasted the NCAA in a statement, writing, in part, that “the NCAA owes it to involved parties, the NCAA membership and the public to get the facts right. The NCAA should get the facts right when it ends a coach’s career.”  McNair was not retained by the Trojans after his contract expired in early July of last year.

The attorney, Scott Tompsett, added that “Mr. McNair is now considering legal action to remedy the injustice he has suffered.”

In their release today, the NCAA attempted to make it clear that the McNair decision is separate from USC’s appeal of their sanctions — two-year bowl ban and loss of 30 scholarships over a three-year period — and that a decision “has not yet been decided.”  A decision, though, is expected to come down sometime between now and June.  Of this year.  We think.

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