By TERESA M. WALKER
AP Sports Writer
The NCAA Committee on Infractions wants its punishment of the
University of Memphis upheld because schools need to be punished
when they use ineligible players.
That's according to the NCAA's response to Memphis' appeal of
penalties including the vacated 38 wins from the 2007-08 men's
"Where is the risk if there is no significant penalty when
things go awry? If the IAC sets aside the penalties in this case,
it would send the message that an institution can take chances,
even with knowledge of potential infractions problems, with
impunity," the infractions committee said.
The Associated Press obtained the NCAA's response from the
University of Memphis on Monday night under an open records
request. The 30-page response was filed Nov. 12 to the NCAA
Division I Infractions Appeal Committee.
If the appeal committee sets aside either the 38 wins vacated
from the 2007-08 men's basketball season or a fine, the Committee
on Infractions wants the Memphis case back "to reassess the
penalties" that could have included a postseason ban and a cut in
The university initially refused to release the NCAA's response
to its appeal, citing NCAA rules that prohibit printing the
document for media off the association's Web site.
But the university agreed to release the response when reminded
by The AP of a recent Florida court ruling rejecting that same NCAA
argument in Florida State's appeal of an academic cheating appeal
Memphis agreed to redact the protected information in the NCAA's
response, a process completed Monday.
The NCAA ordered Memphis to vacate the season that ended with an
overtime loss to Kansas in the national championship game on Aug.
20 after ruling a player believed to be NBA star Derrick Rose was
ineligible. Memphis also was fined approximately $530,000 in
Memphis appealed Oct. 8 that the penalties and the committee's
reasoning were unprecedented and improper.
The school targets the so-called "strict liability" standard
imposed after the NCAA ruled Rose retroactively ineligible because
of an SAT score that was invalidated by the Educational Testing
Service in May 2008.
The infractions committee notes Memphis' counsel admitted in a
June hearing that the university "took a risk" by allowing Rose
to compete even though officials knew of potential problems with
the SAT score.
The committee defended the penalties, calling Memphis a "repeat
violator" with an "admitted failure to monitor." The major
violations in men's basketball all involved Rose, creating "a
significant competitive advantage."
Memphis also had its 1985 Final Four berth vacated for
violations under then-coach Dana Kirk.
With those factors, the committee cites its decision not to add
a postseason ban or cut scholarships as proof the members did not
go overboard in punishing Memphis.
Both Memphis and NCAA enforcement staff have a chance to comment
with the university getting the last chance to respond before a
hearing before the appeals committee. University officials hope
that will be scheduled for January.