Tech to appeal vacated ACC title

Georgia Tech has notified the NCAA that it plans to appeal the judgment that stripped the school of its 2009 ACC title. The school filed its notice of appeal Thursday, the deadline to inform the NCAA of its decision.

The NCAA investigation stemmed from an 2009 inquiry into improper benefits to former football players Demaryius Thomas and Morgan Burnett. Besides the vacated title, Tech was fined $100,000 and placed on four years’ probation.

The school released the following statement:

“Georgia Tech has an unwavering commitment to the integrity of its athletics program, including full cooperation with the NCAA. We were very disappointed with the Infractions Committee’s ruling and we feel that we owe it to our institution and to the student athletes impacted by the ruling to exercise the appeal process provided by the NCAA.”

On top of the vacated title, the school also intends to appeal the findings of failure to cooperate and failure to meet the conditions of obligations of membership in the NCAA, although Tech can add other findings or penalties in its written appeal. For now, the school will not appeal the “preferential treatment” violation that found that Thomas had received $312 worth of clothes from his cousin’s roommate.

Tech will have 30 days to file its written appeal, beginning a process that school officials have said could last until early 2012. History does not favor the institute. Since the NCAA toughened standards for overturning infractions committee decisions in 2008, only one appeal out of 13 has been granted.

“But this case has been so different than so many others that I would hope that in the end, the appellate group looks at the unique nature of this case and we have a better opportunity, specifically as it relates to [the vacated title],” athletic director Dan Radakovich said Thursday.

44 comments Add your comment

Techy

July 28th, 2011
1:34 pm

Incoming UGA comments…………

Caroline

July 28th, 2011
1:34 pm

Good luck, Institute.

George Stein

July 28th, 2011
1:35 pm

Excellent news.

Hire a good lawyer to craft the appeal.

Gordon

July 28th, 2011
1:47 pm

Paging Headley Lamar. Paging Headley Lamar.

The blog of the school you claim is irrelavent has a new post.

BYRDDAWG

July 28th, 2011
1:47 pm

This should be interesting……..

Glenn

July 28th, 2011
1:58 pm

Schluep, Crissy [mailto:cschluep@ncaa.org] On Behalf Of Emmert, Mark
Subject: RE: GA Tech NCAA “Probation”

Crissy;

Thank you for your reply to my message.

First, let me start by saying that I am well familiar with the NCAA enforcement policy as I happen to have a Juris Doctorate (a Law Degree). I do, however, appreciate you providing me with the link because a couple of items within your own website are of particular importance to the investigation regarding GA Tech:

” If NCAA enforcement staff conducts interviews on campus with enrolled student-athletes or other individuals, school staff members may be present during the interviews. Everyone interviewed by NCAA enforcement staff may have legal counsel present during the interviews. In many cases, information such as long-distance telephone records, bank records and academic transcripts are also collected during the process.

From the wording of the NCAA’s own website, it is obvious that the NCAA investigators have violated and/or ignored your own policies in the investigation at GA Tech.

My first point is that the NCAA has found its most damning fault against GA Tech’s Administration because the enforcement staff stated that GA Tech’s Administration wasn’t cooperative in their investigation because the Head Coach, Paul Johnson, and player(s) in question, in particular Demaryius Thomas, were notified of the investigation in advance, and the investigation was discussed with them prior to their conversation with the NCAA team. However, according to the NCAA’s own guidelines, from above, when your NCAA personnel conducts interviews on campus,etc., the individuals are allowed to have legal counsel present, and supporting documentation of the investigation are gathered at that time.

This begs the question; if your investigators planned on interviewing GA Tech’s Coaches and player(s), how were the Coaches and players supposed to know about the meeting they were supposed to attend with your enforcement staff, what documentation to bring, and their right to have legal counsel with them during the investigation, if they weren’t notified about the investigation PRIOR to the interview in the first place? This is not possible. Therefore, the argument that GA Tech’s Administration went against the NCAA enforcement staff’s request not to inform the Head Coach and Player of the investigation prior to them speaking to them was baseless and COULD NOT have been held against GA Tech according to your own procedures.

“Before the enforcement staff contacts those directly involved with the potential violations, they attempt to gather as much information as possible. The goal is to minimize the possibility of those directly involved compromising the integrity of the case by working with others to change the information reported to the enforcement staff.”

I would suggest that section, above, in particular to GA Tech’s case, is the most complex and should cause the most problems to your investigation. Looking at the facts of the case against GA Tech, and the alleged player(s) involved, the small amount of items in question were provided by a former teammate at a cousin’s home, so, therefore, one would have to assume that if the NCAA investigators did their jobs correctly, as you indicate they are required to do so, above, and talked to all of the witnesses before speaking the player(s) and coaches who may have involvement and are the target of the investigation, because of the personal relationship with the player being investigated, it could very well be true that the player was informed by the cousin, and the player informed his Head Coach, and they went to the GA Tech Administration, rather than the Administration pro-actively approaching them. It could also be argues that these things were happening at the same time…you just never know. I would also like to point out that the NCAA states that it is your goal, not your mandate, that this happens, and the innocent situation surrounding the player and his cousin at GA Tech is exactly why your wording has to be such.
“NCAA enforcement regulations and student-athlete eligibility procedures employ many traditional due-process protections.”

Getting now to your section on “due-process protections;” something near and dear to my heart. In fact, the NCAA sanction theory violates due-process protections by assuming players are guilty until proven innocent, NOT innocent until proven guilty. As I mentioned in my previous e-mail, requesting (NOT even requiring them unless “request” is considered mandatory), that GA Tech sit players being investigated for possible NCAA infractions is, in reality, punishing them prior to finding them guilty of any wrongdoing. To make matters worse, the NCAA is also punishing the rest of the entire team, who have never been accused of any wrongdoing and aren’t under any NCAA investigation.

In the course of the NCAA investigation, if the targeted player is exonerated, what is his recourse if he has been held out of a game, or games? What about the rest of the team? Once the player has been held out of the game, if the team loses a game, or games, because the player(s) wasn’t playing, and the team misses their chance a Championship and a better Bowl Game, or even a chance at any Bowl game, there is no recourse for the player or the team. This is why our society is founded on the premise of innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around.

Finally, I wanted to make a comment about GA Tech’s lead investigator, Marcus Wilson; the same Marcus Wilson who attended the University of North Carolina as an Undergraduate as well as the University of North Carolina for his Law Degree. This is his same Alma Mater being investigated for several major infractions by the NCAA, and his same Alma Mater that is in the same ACC Conference as GA Tech, the team he just happened to be investigating.

Now whether Mr. Wilson actually had/has a conflict of interest or not, the NCAA should have never placed an investigator who even had an iota of question into the investigation of a member University where the investigator’s alma mater had any connection whatsoever. The mere fact that his Alma Mater plays in the same conference as the school being investigated should have disqualified him from the investigation – there was too much of a potential of perception that he would be biased against the investigated university to gain a competitive advantage for his Alma Mater, and, to be perfectly honest, by placing another member of his conference on probation, it takes heat off his Alma Mater during the course of their NCAA investigation.

I would also suggest that Dr. Dennis E. Thomas, who I believe was the Committee Member assigned by the NCAA for the GA Tech investigation, while he might be a nice man, may be unprepared for these types of investigations due to his educational background and lack of experience in major conference universities (he hasn’t had to deal with, or manage, the size and complexity of larger organizations and large numbers or personnel) and appears to have a history of “problems” with investigations of larger members of the NCAA. There have been numerous complaints raised against his lead investigations, and because of this, I suggest that Dr. Thomas may have a tendency to press for compliance issues with players and problems with Administrators when they really aren’t there. Dr. Thomas may not like being told that he’s wrong, and when his “orders” are “disobeyed” in his mind, he may very well become unreasonable and not follow NCAA guidelines. It’s also possible that Dr. Thomas wants to strike a message for the smaller members towards the larger ones as he’s representing them in the NCAA committee. Whatever the reason, looking back at his history, there appears to be a pattern of behavior that has begun that is quite alarming.

With the current state of our economy;

taxpayers scraping by to fund member institutions;

the cost of education skyrocketing;

all of the other problems going on in America we are dealing with right now;

the fact that a player received a shirt and watch from a former player at his cousin’s home around the holidays, thinking they were gifts;

the value of the items being less than the gift bags given out at every Bowl Game in America;

the items were returned as soon as it was found out there was even a hint there might be an issue
the Coaches and player(s) were following the procedures afforded to them by the NCAA (see above);

The NCAA investigators found GA Tech guilty during, primarily, due to GA Tech’s Administration failure to meet the demands of the NCAA investigators that Coaches and players not be advised about the investigation until they were confronted by the NCAA investigators themselves…something that is in complete opposite of the rights afforded by the NCAA’s policies. Also, GA Tech’s Administrators were following the advice of their legal counsel in good faith; there was never any intention to impede the investigation but to follow the NCAA guidelines as set forth from above.

There’s a legal theory called the fruit from the poisonous tree – anything derived from something illegal that can be used against you is thrown out. In the case of GA Tech, I would suggest that all findings against GA Tech are, thus fruits of the poisonous tree, and therefore, no findings of fault should be levied against them at all.

So, Crissy, I will conclude by thanking you, once again, for your reply, and ask that you continue this dialogue as you see fit. I believe that I have laid out a strong case on behalf of GA Tech, and, based on the Court of Public Opinion, would suggest that of the nation agrees with MY position, NOT that of the NCAA.

What GA Tech decides to do on their behalf, I’m not sure, but as a fan of College football, all I can say is that I am sick and tired of having investigations and decisions by your Organization such as this being brought up, especially when they are as trivial and obviously so incorrect as they are as the one placed on GA Tech, and I’m sure I speak for millions of other College Football fans when I say, enough is enough. Correct this obvious error and the NCAA will make a huge stride towards calming the hoard.

Warmest Regards,

juvenal

July 28th, 2011
2:01 pm

hope we get a dookie lawyer……

Taco

July 28th, 2011
2:12 pm

Hire Casey Anthony’s Lawyer and they will make us National Champs!

mountain_jim

July 28th, 2011
2:45 pm

Thanks Glenn for that very informative post (letter)

Veteran Fan

July 28th, 2011
2:49 pm

Georgia Tech always attempts to do the right thing and appealing this is the right thing to do! Thank you. Also, thank you to all the college football fans from other schools for their support in this matter. If the NCAA gets away with this they realize they could be next as the unfair precedent has been set. This is not Ohio State, USC,LSU, or Tennessee where there are serious ongoing issues and that is where the NCAA should be focused!

ed

July 28th, 2011
2:54 pm

face it nerds, your administration tried to tell a player being investigated what to say, you were in the midst of a good season, thought you would have a hard time winning out w/o bay bay or whatever and you still lost 2 out of the last three with him. hope it hurts real bad.

juvenal

July 28th, 2011
2:55 pm

doesn’t seem to be getting any national media play……

George Stein

July 28th, 2011
2:58 pm

You don’t have the facts to support that claim, ed. But then I guess I shouldn’t expect an intelligent post when the third word is nerd.

Grow up already.

juvenal

July 28th, 2011
2:59 pm

just a game, e.d.(referring to that special problem, name-wise? now i guess that would be painful..)

RocketCityJacket

July 28th, 2011
3:03 pm

Glenn,
That was a very logical and believable treatise pleading the case for GT’s appeal.
You’ve got me convinced.
RCJ

GT78

July 28th, 2011
3:07 pm

Glenn, I wanted you to know I read your post and appreciate your thoroughness. I’m afraid many will too lengthy but you did a good job of pointing out the obvious problems with the findings of the infractions committee. Due process, prior notice, presumption of innocence are all missing. Also missing is an understanding of what oversight is in place to keep ambitious investigators from feeling the need to meet a quota.

Somebody tipped them to investigate an impropriety regarding Morgan Burnett and a cell phone. When that didn’t pan out they had to go to find a plan B. Missing in all of this is knowing who was doing the undercover work for the infractions committee.

George Stein

July 28th, 2011
3:11 pm

The portion about guaranteeing counsel’s presence is most interesting to me. Assuming there is not any exception to that, I view that as among the strengths of our appeal. Nice work, Glenn.

macrotech

July 28th, 2011
3:18 pm

Taco….GREAT comment!!!! GO TECH!!!

North Carolina job is OPEN

July 28th, 2011
3:24 pm

CPJ is now well aware that he is not doing anything of notable accomplishment at GT. He has not won any titles, he has no bowl wins but he does have his one big win vs UGA, in an era in which UGA is way below their usual 9 or 10 game season and NY’s Day Bowl games.

CPJ is aware that North Carolina would seemingly be a good fit for his clunky offense. He could recruit a wider range of kids to play the BONE and he migt be seen on a national stage (most ACC teams are nationally obscure anyway) and he knows that his resume is badly damaged by the cheating scandal.

NC might be CPJ’s next job.

George Stein

July 28th, 2011
3:30 pm

Ha. Now we’re nationally obscure, we have a clunky offense (that UGA can’t stop), and Johnson is a cheater.

This is clearly an individual that doesn’t allow facts to disrupt him.

techfan

July 28th, 2011
3:35 pm

CPJ to UNC? That may be the funniest thing I have read all day.

George Stein

July 28th, 2011
3:44 pm

The most humorous part of his comment, techfan, is that he says Johnson has one win against UGA in an era when UGA is not winning their usual 9 or 10 wins.

Two problems -UGA doesn’t win that many games usually and the year Johnson beat them, they WON TEN GAMES.

Scott

July 28th, 2011
3:54 pm

The ncaa is a joke. The fact the clothes and watch were returned should have been case closed. What oh st players and their coach did was 50000000 x worse yet they are getting off lightly. What’s fair is 2 years probation. 50k fine and no taking away the 09 championship.

techfan

July 28th, 2011
4:06 pm

yep George Stein, plus CPJ would be voluntarily going to a team that is probably going to get a harsh NCAA penalty, and has lost 8 of 10 to GT, and would more then likely pay him less. Sounds like a great job transition. I’m sure he is jumping all over that.

Merlyn Brown

July 28th, 2011
4:13 pm

Well said, Glenn. Sounds like you would agree that any entity, including man,
has a level at which it becomes incompetent. The NCAA is surley there!!!

Merlyn Brown

July 28th, 2011
4:15 pm

oops, make that surely.

me

July 28th, 2011
4:33 pm

Lest we not forget that the NCAA allowed Ohio St to use “ineligible” players for their bowl game, citing that championship games and bowl games were a reward for the completed season, and the players should be punished during the regular season only. Guess that means we DID actually beat Climpson and remain 2009 ACC champs.

Saban

July 28th, 2011
4:50 pm

They will never take me alive.

Helmand Dawg

July 28th, 2011
5:55 pm

I think Tech and some other schools are on the business end of a whip-saw that is accelerating from the opposite end of the NCAA’s enforcement curve. This is in stark contrast to how the NCAA looked at violations just 5-6 years ago. The punishment does not seem appropriate but the NCAA is trying to make a statement.

[...] 7/28/11: The university will file an appeal to the NCAA to restore it 2009 ACC [...]

CAPTAIN CRUNCH

July 28th, 2011
6:13 pm

Well said Glenn…As a former GT player and captain of a 1960’s team, I would have been livid if I missed playing in Orange Bowl because of false accusations from an obviously dysfunctional group of children..The NCAA definitely has it’s place but it’s time to turn it into a professional organization without personal agendas.. I’ve never understood why they didn’t want the Head Coach to become involved..His favorite quote is ” It is what it is”….Meaning you can’t change the truth…And that’s what I believe he would have told the current players involved…No cover up…I you’re guilty you sit and not involve your teammates..If you’re innocent, I’ll back you… The Head Coach would have gotten to the truth…And would have done the right thing…..

George Stein

July 28th, 2011
7:19 pm

Agreed, Helman Dawg.

tell the truth

July 28th, 2011
7:53 pm

Oh lord- Tech and Casey Anthony. Go ahead boys keep on digging- going down further and further. I will bet you one thing. I’ll bet you Tech will not show their butt to the NCAA like they did this time. Pride goeth before the fall.

Joshua

July 28th, 2011
8:12 pm

I might believe it you said North Carolina A&t, After Tech why would anyone be interested in Pj other than a 1AA school? He has Div 1aa plastered on his forehead.

Warm Springs, Georgia

July 28th, 2011
8:29 pm

The only thing GT has to fear, is fear itself.

mgdawg

July 28th, 2011
9:27 pm

Whether or not the NCAA did everything correctly or not, the truth is GT took a gamble that didn’t pay off. If UGA would’ve played AJ Green before they found out his punishment, UGA would’ve had to vacate those wins. It just so happened that the wins tech had to vacate were at the end of the season. From the NCAA interview of thomas, he admitted the clothes were from an agent and that they were probably trying to get in his good graces so he would sign with him, I just used better english then him though. PJ knew he couldn’t win the ACC without thomas so he took a chance, it has just ended up not paying off.

RedandBlackDAWG

July 28th, 2011
9:28 pm

Probably TECH. has two things not favorable that will be looked at in this review. The first being the closeness of the previous probation and the second one being the coach that just got suspended for illegal contact with recruits. These two instances no doubt will be given added importance as the NCAA, tries to prove it’s point. I am still a little fuzzy on the details of hindering the investigation, but TECH. may be used as an example, as the NCAA tries to justify the pitiful job they have done so far, with schools that have committed really major offenses of the rules. I truly believe a lot of it has to do with the fact, that TECH. is a southern school, and I believe the NCAA is more than a little biased against the south.
Good luck with the appeal anyway.

sports

July 28th, 2011
10:28 pm

the arrogance of these guilty techies makes you want to vomit.

yellowfever

July 28th, 2011
10:38 pm

were jawja and we still suck

BS Patrol

July 29th, 2011
12:41 am

Appealing to the NCAA is a waste of time. What incentive do they have to make any change?
Take them to a civil court & seek damages. At least then the case will be heard by a third party and not the body who handed down the original punishment. Someone needs to slap the NCAA on the wrist or at least be able to. They appear to be completely unchecked.

ACC Champs: my T-shirt doesn't lie!

July 29th, 2011
7:50 am

mgdog…your statement about an agent giving clothes is not what the nzaa stated.

ramblingbuzz

July 29th, 2011
8:16 am

mgdog…….If you read the transcript instead of just assuming the worst, you would know that Thomas said he believed the clothes were from his cousin, not an agent. Try to be better informed before you make blanket statements.

dawgmatic

July 29th, 2011
8:38 am

The only thing that appeals to NERDS is CHEATING! Shame on you NERDS!!

billdawg

July 29th, 2011
10:39 am

Advice to Dancing Dan prior to appeal.
1. Muzzle CPJ. While his comments may be essentially correct, you don’t pull the tail of the tiger that is trying to eat you.
2. Approach the process with “humility”, not the holier than everybody else attitude of a USC or an OSU.
3. & last KISS Rule – Always pays to Keep It as Simple as you can, Stupid.
and Good Luck. Even GTI doesn’t deserve life without parole for a parking ticket.