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Former USC football assistant coach Todd McNair appeals NCAA findings

The former running backs coach claims the NCAA infractions committee and investigators were guilty of misconduct and mischaracterizing facts, and asks NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee to set aside findings and penalties related to him.

August 17, 2010|By Gary Klein

Todd McNair, former USC running backs coach, claims in an appeal to the NCAA that the governing body's Committee on Infractions and investigative staff committed misconduct and mischaracterized facts that resulted in a finding of unethical conduct against him and severe sanctions against the school.

The 85-page appeal, filed last week, asks the NCAA's Infractions Appeals Committee to set aside the finding against McNair and all associated penalties against him.

"We think that we've made strong arguments that meet the standard to set aside the finding," Scott Tompsett, McNair's attorney, said Tuesday. "We are now going to wait for the response from the Committee on Infractions."

The NCAA declined to comment, as did Todd Dickey, USC's senior vice president for administration.

McNair, who coached for six seasons at USC, was not retained by the school after his contract expired at the end of June.

Earlier that month, after a four-year investigation and three-day hearing about allegations surrounding 2005 Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush and former Trojans basketball player O.J. Mayo, the NCAA's infractions committee issued a report stating that USC "lacked institutional control." The NCAA meted out sanctions that included four years' probation, a two-year bowl ban and the reduction of 30 football scholarships over the next three years. USC is appealing some of the penalties, including some of those related to McNair.

The NCAA said that would-be sports marketer Lloyd Lake contacted a USC assistant in January 2006 to complain that Bush was not living up to a deal he and a partner had made with the tailback. Investigators said the assistant — McNair — failed to alert USC compliance officials of the situation and later provided "false and misleading information" to the NCAA.

McNair's appeal claims that the infractions committee made a finding "clearly contrary to the evidence because it is based on factually incorrect and false statements," and that the committee "changed and mischaracterized the testimony of Lloyd Lake, the sole source of allegations against McNair, and then based its finding on the mischaracterized testimony."

McNair's appeal also claims the enforcement staff violated McNair's right to fair process by excluding USC from interviews with Lake and his family; that the committee improperly communicated with the enforcement staff before its report was released; and that based on an NCAA spokesperson's statement "criticizing an article that raised questions" about the committee's finding against McNair and "voicing support" for the Committee on Infractions, the NCAA had prejudged McNair's appeal.

The infractions committee has 30 days to respond in writing to the appeal.

gary.klein@latimes.com

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