Tuesday, December 8, 2009

NCAA "Threatens" Us, UM Says in Latest Rose Filing

Posted By on Tue, Dec 8, 2009 at 1:57 PM

The University of Memphis says the NCAA's Committee on Infractions (COI) unfairly threatens UM with increased penalties for appealing the committee's decision in the Derrick Rose case.

The back-and-forth between the university and the infractions committee has been going on since the NCAA stripped Memphis of its 38 wins and tournament revenue for the 2007-2008 season. The university's latest response was filed Monday in rebuttal to a COI report released last week.

As in previous documents, Rose's name is redacted. There is no new information from the former star player, who has refused to cooperate with investigators from the NCAA or the Educational Testing Service which cancelled his entrance test scores, thus making him ineligible.

WHAT'S NEW? The first part of the 28-page rebuttal deals with the possibility of harsher penalties.

"The committee inappropriately threatens the University with harsher sanctions, including ineligibility for postseason play, which is inconsistent with the spirit and intent of the NCAA Enforcement Policies and Procedures," UM says.

The university adds that the threats have caused some of its supporters to urge officials to drop the appeal.

"The president and director of athletics have received numerous communications demanding that the appeal be dropped to protect the University from the possibility of facing penalties that impact the innocent student-athletes and new coaching staff . . . Clearly, the committee's comments have produced a fear within the University community."

The university decided to appeal anyway, and says the only thing that would justify harsher penalties would be new evidence. Otherwise, the "threat" amounts to "double jeopardy," the rebuttal says.

WHAT'S OLD? The unversity says several times that it had no reason to suspect Rose of cheating on his entrance tests before the 2007-2008 season began.

"It is clear from the record in this case that the university had no knowledge of concerns about the SAT scores until learned in May, 2008 . . . that his scores had been cancelled. For the committee to suggest otherwise is inaccurate."

Rose took the ACT test three times, apparently failing to make a high enough score for immediate eligibility, and the SAT once. He was admitted on his SAT score. The rebuttal does not say what scores Rose made or explain why he took four entrance exams or whether that set off any internal alarms.

Test inspectors in Illinois originally questioned whether Rose took his own tests. UM says it did not know that those inspectors notified the organizations that certify the test results in 2007. Rather, UM "thought the issue was put to rest" as a result of its interviews with Rose, who said "in a believable manner that he took all of his own tests."

"Therefore, rather than take a 'risk' by allowing Rose to compete in the 2007-2008 season, there was no information in the hands of the university to substantiate the rumor in the least, and no information that the issue was continuing to be investigated."

The rebuttal says the ETS never found conclusively that Rose cheated. His tests were cancelled when he declined opportunities to retake the test or explain himself. ETS, however, went so far as to have a forensic handwriting analyst look at the verbal test. She concluded that although she could not be certain, handwriting samples did not match.

The COI report said UM made statements that were "simply false." UM counters that this accusation is a "desperate attempt" to argue that UM is misstating facts.

WHAT'S UP WITH THAT? The university addresses the issue of Rose's impact as a star player, which came up for the first time in the COI report last week. "It is not appropriate to introduce the level of talent of the student-athlete and the team's record at the appeal stage of the case," UM says in its rebuttal.

The rebuttal attempts to downplay an earlier UM admission during an oral hearing of taking a risk by playing Rose.

"The acknowledgement that a risk was taken is consistent with the circumstances of every student-athlete who competes in that there is always a risk that information will later become available that indicates the student-athlete should not have been competing."

SUMMARY: UM backs Derrick Rose's claims regarding his entrance tests, admits to major violations of NCAA regulations involving Rose's older brother Reggie who got illegal travel benefits, accepts the penalty of three years probation, and appeals the taking away of the 38 wins and tournament revenue.

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