LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The NCAA announced Friday that the University of Louisville's basketball infractions case in the pay-for-play basketball scandal will be heard through its new Independent Accountability Resolution Process.
Louisville had requested the IARP hear its case in mid-December. The IARP was created in 2018 amid a series of reforms suggested by a Commission on College Basketball chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
The IARP was created to review select complex infractions cases in Division I.
Instead of being heard by the NCAA's committee on infractions, which generally decides college sports enforcement and penalty matters, the IARP sends the case to a 15-member Independent Resolution Panel. That group consists of 15 members with legal, higher education and/or sports backgrounds. Once a case is accepted into the IARP, a public disclosure is made and a hearing panel of five (IRP) members and one alternate is appointed by the IAOC. That panel will review the allegations issued by the complex case unit of the IARP and the parties’ response to those allegations. It then conducts a hearing, decides whether violations occurred and prescribes penalties.
The panel brings a wider breadth of experience to NCAA enforcement matters. Its decisions, however, are final and are not subject to appeal.
In its request to have its case moved to the IARP, U of L said in its letter asking for the move:
"The question of whether a member institution is responsible for the actions of its commercial sponsors — even criminal schemes undertaken without the institution's knowledge or participation — is critically important to the association's members, the vast majority of which have similar contractual arrangements with outside businesses, including apparel companies. Additionally, because the IARP will already be addressing this issue in the N.C. State and Kansas matters, referring Louisville's case would ensure a consistent association-wide approach on this crucial issue, and would avoid the fundamental unfairness and institutional credibility issues presented by potentially inconsistent resolutions."
In its request for referral, U of L explicitly expressed doubts about the fairness of the NCAA's committee on infractions.
The school is arguing that executives from Adidas were not acting on behalf of its basketball program — but in fact were acting on their own behalf — when they offered recruit Brian Bowen money to attend Louisville and to sign with Adidas after turning pro in early 2017.
The scheme was also tried at other schools. So far, none have escaped without at least a one-year postseason ban. Because it was on probation at the time, Louisville basketball could face enhanced penalties for its involvement in these alleged violations.
Louisville fired then-coach Rick Pitino and Athletic Director Tom Jurich after the scandal was revealed and since has hired a new president and a new chair of its board of trustees.
The timetable for a decision from the IARP is not known, and all of its actions and communications with the school are kept confidential until the process is completed and a final decision is announced.
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