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NCAA: Making a Federal Case Out of Private Rules Violations


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In a Manhattan federal courtroom this past week, justice was done. The judge said so. The prosecutors said so. The media said so. Thus, it must be so.

As always, heroic federal prosecutors stepped in to rescue someone, this time being Oklahoma State University, which former assistant basketball coach Lamont Evans allegedly defrauded through his actions in recruiting basketball players by supposedly violating National Collegiate Athletics Association rules. Evans, who pleaded guilty to federal charges, will serve three months in federal prison and then may face deportation, since he is a foreign national living and working, or formerly working, in the USA. As I shall point out, Evans pleaded guilty to conspiring to engage in actions that are not prohibited by federal statutes and no one in the courtroom blinked, not the judge, not the prosecutors, not Evans’s legal representation, not the media, no one.

Matt Norlander, the CBS Sports reporter who wrote the story about the Evans sentencing, notes the following:

This is now fact: You can be found guilty of federal crimes while engaging in acts that violate NCAA rules. No one knows if we'll ever see something like this again, but the possibility of it happening will always be there.

Actually, he is wrong. In 2005, federal prosecutors in Memphis successfully prosecuted the late Logan Young, a booster for the University of Alabama, for federal “crimes” related to his attempt to help recruit a prominent athlete to Alabama. In that case, federal prosecutors convicted Young of illegally withdrawing money and crossing state lines in order to commit bribery — even though there was no federal bribery statute to break, and no one had charged Young with breaking Tennessee state bribery laws. Although the latest set of prosecutions aimed at assistant basketball coaches is the first set of federal prosecutions for alleged NCAA violations, this round is much more ominous, as it gives federal prosecutors the green light to continue down this road, and we can expect prosecutors to expand their reach.

Norlander is wrong about something else, or at least he is misleading. These prosecutions are not the result of Congress passing statutes regarding the policing of NCAA violations; in fact, Congress never has officially addressed this legal category in either civil or criminal law. Furthermore, while Evans officially was charged with “conspiracy to commit bribery,” there is NO federal bribery statute. Instead, federal prosecutors took it upon themselves to use existing federal criminal law and apply it in new categories, including one that has no authentic legal basis, something that should set off alarms in the legal community. Unfortunately, few people have protested this new incursion publicly.

By these actions, federal prosecutors create de facto bills of attainder which the US Constitution forbids in Article I, Section 9. By refusing to enforce the Constitution, and by permitting federal prosecutors to break the law and endorsing their actions, US District Judge Edgardo Ramos has engaged in the kind of legal fraud that should immediately warrant his impeachment.


If there is fraud anywhere in this sorry affair, it is committed by federal prosecutors, defense attorneys, federal judges, and journalists. Federal prosecutors charge individuals with violations of private rules governing private organizations that are bundled into federal conspiracy laws alleging the breaking of non-existent statutes, creating illegal bills of attainder in the process; defense attorneys pressure their clients into pleading to such legal abominations; judges look the other way and sign off on these Rube Goldberg charges, and then journalists report these actions as though they had legal and moral legitimacy.

Unfortunately, people in the American media and the legal community are celebrating these actions as though they were major moral advancements of law. They are not. If putting people into prison and ruining their lives because they “broke” laws that didn’t exist (or “conspired” to break them) is a form of legal and moral progress, then the world truly is upside down and everything we knew to be true is a lie.

A shameful expansion and abuse of federal government power.  It needs to be stopped.  What do our resident GID legal professionals think of this practice?


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12 minutes ago, Impartial_Observer said:

Not sure if it applies in this specific case, but as I understand it:

If you violate NCAA rules, you are considered to be defrauding the institution for which you work. In this case,  the people of the state of Oklahoma. 

Sounds like the quite the loophole to allow the feds to bring government force to bear.  So is fraud always a federal level offense?


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