This story from USC’s Rivals site makes a compelling case for why the NCAA’s purported linkage of Trojan running backs coach Todd McNair with ex-con Lloyd Lake is shoddy at best.
After reviewing the various reports, the article finds that:
In questioning Lake, the enforcement staff misstated who made a 2-minute, 32-second phone call that the Committee said it relied on as proof McNair was told of the scheme. In questioning McNair, the staff incorrectly stated the year the phone call was made as happening in 2005. In all five mentions of the year in the questioning session, the phone call is said to have happened in January of 2005, not 2006, when it actually occurred…
…(Enforcement staffer Richard) Johanningmeier, who had misstated the nature of the call to Lake, would have similar factual inconsistencies in his questioning of McNair; asking the USC coach about a call that he said was made “Jan. 8, 2005,” — getting the year wrong.There would be four more “2005″ references in this session with no one catching the wrong year.
Given the 2005 date, McNair recounted what he was doing the week after USC’s BCS championship game against Oklahoma, not after the 2006 Texas game, when Bush was a junior headed off early to the NFL.
As a result of the enforcement staff’s mistakes, McNair appears to have never had the chance to respond about the call that the Committee used to convict him. The NCAA admitted that its staff had considered questioning McNair again, but declined since McNair “was on the record and adamant that he had never spoken to Lake.”
The Committee agreed with the enforcement staff’s finding that Lake, despite having given a detailed answer to a key question with a false premise, was more credible.
The Committee also agreed with its staff’s recommendation, finding that McNair had received the incriminating knowledge of the Bush, Lake and Michaels violations as a result of a phone call lasting two minutes and 32 seconds. A call in which, investigators said, Lake was threatening “to go public,” and “attempted to get [McNair] to convince [Bush] to either adhere to the agency agreement or reimburse Bush and Michaels.”
The Jan. 8, 2006 call that the enforcement staff had mischaracterized as to who made it and when it was made, seems to have provided the NCAA its proverbial smoking gun on McNair.
That may turn out to be a reverse smoking gun, if USC has its way in the appeal.