(Editor’s note: The following was published in sports Litigation Alert and the Journal of NCAA Compliance. It was written by Ellen J. Staurowsky, Ed.D., senior Contributor & Professor, Drexel University; Brian Menaker, Ph.D., assistant Professor, Texas A & M — Kingsville; and Jeffrey Levine, J.D., assistant clinical Professor, Drexel University. It is being shared here by Hackney Publications.)
More than seven years ago, former university of southern California (USC) football coach, Todd McNair, brought a state court action against the national Collegiate athletic association (NCAA or Association) on numerous counts, one of which challenged the NCAA’s coach disciplinary rule known as a “show-cause” order. In October of 2018, California Camiseta Fluminense superior Court judge Frederick Shaller issued a finding in support of McNair, determining that the NCAA’s “show-cause” rule violated state law by creating an unlawful restraint that impaired McNair’s ability to successfully seek a job in a lawful profession (i.e., college coaching). As judge Shaller pointed out, “McNair’s ability to practice his profession as a college football coach has been restricted, if not preempted, not only in Los Angeles, but in every state in the country” (as quoted in Clifton, 2018, para. 3).
Brief overview of McNair v. national Collegiate athletic Association
Todd McNair’s journey in football started Camiseta Real Sociedad out in his hometown of Pennsauken, NJ where he became a high school standout, moving on to play his college career at temple university (Eure, 2018; Staff, 2009). To follow was a six-year career in the national Football league (NFL) playing for Kansas City (1989-1993), Houston Oilers (1994-1995), and returning to Kansas City for his final season in 1996 (Eure, 2018; Staff, 2009). He joined the coaching ranks after retiring from the NFL, starting out as a high school assistant coach in Camden NJ. Within five years, he was hired by the Cleveland Browns but would eventually be tapped by then USC head football coach Pete Carroll to join the Trojan staff in 2004 (Staff, 2009). McNair rose in the ranks at USC, adding to his running back coaching responsibilities by also being put in charge of special teams. A recruiter of considerable reputation, he was ranked as the third best college football recruiting coach in the country in 2006 (CBS college sports Staff, 2006). during his six-year tenure at USC, the football team appeared in the rose bowl four times and made single appearances in the Orange and emerald bowls.
Among the players McNair coached at USC was then acclaimed running back, Reggie Bush, who was awarded the Heisman Trophy in 2005. Bush and his family would eventually become the center of an NCAA investigation into Bush’s relationship with player agents, Lloyd Lake and Michael Michaels, who gave Bush and his family more than $290,000 in gifts in violation of NCAA rules barring such exchanges (NCAA committee on Infractions, 2010; Wharton, 2007). McNair was eventually implicated in the Bush matter by Lake who claimed that the two had spoken about Lake’s future representation of Bush in 2006. When NCAA investigators followed up with McNair, they cited the wrong year, asking him if such a conversation had occurred in 2005. McNair, in turn, denied having spoken with Lake while further denying knowledge of impermissible benefits that Bush had received. The NCAA committee on Infractions (2010) eventually concluded that McNair had provided false and misleading information to enforcement staff, thus violating NCAA ethical conduct rules. McNair was penalized by the NCAA with a one-year recruiting ban and a one-year show-cause order (NCAA committee on Infractions, 2010) and his contract with USC was not renewed prior to the 2010 season (Kaufman, 2018).
After an appeal of the NCAA’s decision was to no avail (NCAA division I Infractions Committee, 2011), McNair sought relief for damage to his professional reputation and ability to earn a living in Los Angeles superior Court for libel, slander, breach of contract, negligence and other issues (Lev & staff Writers, 2011). After a prolonged and protracted procedural process marked by numerous delays and appeals, McNair’s defamation claim proceeded to trial in April of 2018 with a jury deciding in favor of the NCAA (McCann, 2018). However, the court severed McNair’s action challenging the NCAA’s show-cause penalty to be decided later. Both parties agreed that this remaining issue would be briefed and the court would decide the issue without another hearing based on a the previously-submitted evidence.
The purpose of the NCAA’s Show-Cause Penalty
According to the NCAA, efforts to hold coaches accountable for rules compliance is a shared responsibility between the association (that represents the interests of the membership) and Camiseta Vissel Kobe the institution as a member. Consequently, coach discipline is left to the discretion of member institutions,nullnull