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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ind. Law - Lawyer Overhears Conversation About NCAA Probe of Hoops Star and Reveals Her Concerns

"Ind. Law" because the NCAA is headquartered in Indianapolis.

Debra Cassens Weiss of the ABAJournal has this entry today that links to several national stories. The LA Times story begins:

NEW YORK — The NCAA is investigating a conversation pertaining to UCLA basketball player Shabazz Muhammad that a Memphis, Tenn., attorney said she overheard on an Aug. 7 commuter flight.

The attorney, Florence Johnson Raines, said she heard a man who said he was dating "an NCAA attorney" loudly telling people around him that his girlfriend had said Muhammad would never play college basketball this season because he broke rules.

Raines emailed a letter to Dennis Thomas, then a member of the NCAA infractions committee, saying she was concerned that what should have been a confidential matter was being discussed in such a way.

From the NY Times column:
On Thursday, the day before the appeal ruling was due, a remarkable article appeared in The Los Angeles Times. Florence Johnson Raines, a Memphis lawyer, told a reporter that she had been on an airplane in early August and overheard a man bragging that his girlfriend “Abigail” was going to bring down Muhammad, whose family, he said loudly, was “dirty and they were taking money and she’s going to get them.” This indiscretion came only a week after the N.C.A.A. had asked for documents and three months before the N.C.A.A. declared Muhammad ineligible.

Is it a surprise that, the very next day, the N.C.A.A. restored Muhammad’s eligibility? Not after that revelation. Abigail, of course, was Grantstein [ NCAA assistant director of enforcement, Abigail Grantstein], and she had apparently breached the confidentiality the N.C.A.A. always insists on — indeed that she herself insists upon when she conducts interviews. Far worse, she appeared to have made up her mind about Muhammad’s guilt before conducting her investigation. The boyfriend’s seeming delight in Muhammad’s plight had offended Raines, which is why she spoke to The Los Angeles Times.

The N.C.A.A. now says it is investigating the overheard conversation because it wants to protect “the integrity” of its process. For those of us who never believed that N.C.A.A. investigations were conducted with integrity, however, it was a case of suspicions confirmed.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 20, 2012 01:32 PM
Posted to Indiana Law