Tim Davis is a professor at Wake Forest University School of Law who is an expert in sports law. University Editor Acy Jackson talked with Davis about his opinions on UNC’s recent response to the Amended Notice of Allegations from the NCAA.
The Daily Tar Heel: What were your initial thoughts?
Tim Davis: My initial thoughts are that there are three primary defenses...The four-year statute of limitations was passed on virtually all the conduct and there’s no continuing pattern of practice which would bring it within that exception and so that’s one defense …
The other one is similar … It’s an estoppel. (Estoppel is a legal term meaning a party cannot change a claim after they have already established what they have said is the truth.)
The NCAA should be estopped from asserting the allegations in the amended notice because no new information came to light and the NCAA had all the information it needed to be able to completely process and evaluate whether or not there were any other violations …
The thing that I think is going to be the most important there will be: did new information really come to light that the NCAA did not have privy to …
Now, I’m saving the one I think is the most important for last and that is that...the submitted Amended Notice of Allegations asserts that there is a failure to monitor and a lack of institutional control.
Those are two very damning and potentially damaging allegations...Because those are viewed as aggregating factors, that means that any punishment that UNC would be subject to would be much more damaging and more serious …
What (UNC is) asserting is that in both the instance of the failure to monitor as well as the lack of institutional control, there’s no underlying violation committed by UNC for the most part...
What UNC’s attorneys are arguing is the following — because those courses were available to all the students and the student body, there was no extra benefit.
DTH: Is there a precedent for any response as bold as UNC’s?
TD: You know what, I cannot remember one and I’ve looked at a lot of these. No, this is the first one of this nature I can recall.
DTH: How legitimate is UNC’s argument?
TD: In some ways, it’s a technical argument, looking at the definition of what constitutes an extra benefit. But also whether or not as it relates to a failure to monitor and a lack of institutional control do those only become relevant when they are connected to some other underlying violation, such as an extra benefit … I think that there is, looking at these cases historically, typically a failure to monitor and a lack of institutional control tied to some underlying violation.
DTH: Out of all of this, what do you think the best case scenario for the NCAA is?
TD: The NCAA, I think, will fight this very aggressively because of the nature of the dissents that are being asserted, particularly with respect to this issue of a lack of jurisdiction.
The NCAA would not want its jurisdictional reach to be limited so as not to be able to impose sanctions on an institution for the conduct such as occurred here that go to really the heart of one of the NCAA’s corest principles — which is the maintenance of academic integrity.
DTH: Do you think the University somehow made their situation worse because of this response?
TD: That’s really hard to say. I think that the NCAA would’ve aggressively pursued it, but I’m convinced that they will try to come up with arguments to try to counter the lack of jurisdiction because it would not want it’s jurisdictional reach to be limited in a way that UNC would want to limit it.