Judge: The NCAA Went "Over The Top" In Its Investigation Of USC's Todd McNair Because Of "Ill Will Or Hatred"S

The NCAA's "University of Southern California Public Infractions Report," released in 2010, declared not only that Reggie Bush had received improper benefits from a pair of marketing agents during his time at USC, but that there was one man on the USC staff who knew about it: USC assistant coach and ace recruiter Todd McNair. The NCAA stripped McNair of his right to contact recruits for one year, along with his eligibility to work for any NCAA-affiliated school for the same duration. In 2011, he appealed the decision, and lost. As a final recourse, he sued the NCAA, claiming "unspecified damages for libel, slander, breach of contract and four other alleged offenses" and taking issue "with the one-sided examination policy established by the NCAA, which doesn't allow those targeted by investigations to cross-examine witnesses used." That case, he won last week. And how!

The NCAA was ''malicious'' in its investigation of a former Southern California assistant football coach who was linked in a report to a scandal surrounding Heisman Trophy-winning tailback Reggie Bush, a judge said Wednesday.

The NCAA's report on ethical breaches by Todd McNair was flawed, and the former coach has shown a probability he can win his defamation claims, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Frederick Shaller said.
The NCAA had sought to have the case dismissed, but Shaller disagreed. He said after reviewing sealed documents in the McNair inquiry, which was tied to a gift scandal involving Heisman Trophy-winner Reggie Bush, he was convinced that the actions of NCAA investigators were ''over the top.''

His 10-page ruling states emails between an investigative committee member, an NCAA worker and a person who works in the agency's appeals division ''tend to show ill will or hatred'' toward McNair.

The NCAA overzealously investigated and punished a coach essentially out of spite? Well, that doesn't quite track with what we know about the NCAA, protector of all anointed tradition in amateur American athletics, but I'm sure our concerns will be put to rest when Judge Shaller unseals the inquiry in about a month, pending an appeal. Fingers crossed.

Judge Says NCAA 'Malicious' In USC investigation [AP]