NCAA in Crisis

By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek

February 22, 2013

The NCAA is in a crisis. The governing body for nearly 1,300 university athletic departments is fighting wars on two fronts: one to defend its credibility, the other for its survival.

The more public of the two battles is the investigation into infractions at the University of Miami. Because the NCAA doesn’t have subpoena power, it improperly paid the lawyer of convicted ex-UM booster Nevin Shapiro to help gather evidence for their case. There’s no telling how many other cases there are of the organization violating internal protocols to obtain evidence. Rather than drop the case against Miami, the NCAA still is pursuing penalties.

While the Miami investigation has been more embarrassing, the more damaging case may be Ed O’Bannon’s antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA over illegal use of athlete images and likenesses. It’s too early to tell who has the upper hand in the case, but legal scholars believe this could be the biggest threat to the NCAA in its history.

The ultimate irony in these two debacles… the NCAA charged the University of Miami with “lack of institutional control,” something the current NCAA administration might be guiltier of.

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