Kentucky Hires NCAA Enforcement Official and Further Eviscerates Investigatory Staff In Indy

by Kent Sterling

imagesKentucky has hired the NCAA managing director of enforcement for development and investigations, and what I smell isn’t the fragrance of Bluegrass, it’s what horses drop on it after they eat that Bluegrass.

This isn’t the first school to hire someone who worked in the NCAA’s compliance office.  After the fallout of the University of Miami investigational fiasco swept Abigail Grantstein, Ameen Najjar, and Julie Roe Lach – the vice president of enforcement, Maryland, South Carolina, and Auburn hired other investigators to work in their compliance offices.

NCAA President Mark Emmert declared that he was going to bring its member’s athletic departments under control.  Ending the treachery and corruption was a priority, Emmert has said repeatedly.  More staff was hired, and the work began.

The schools got nervous, and reverted to a tried and true strategy that can be traced back to the beginning of time.  The sheriff has you worried, hire his deputies.  The sheriff can’t do all the work himself.

I have zero evidence of schools conspiring to hire enforcement officials in an attempt to subvert the NCAA’s judicial process, and I am not prone to conspiracy theoretical blather, but if I were worried about the NCAA bringing change that would cost my school both cache and cash, a plan like this would come to me in my dreams if I were very fortunate.

Maybe Kentucky hired Rachel Newman Baker because they are determined to run a squeaky clean athletic department.  Maybe they believe the effort to sanitize their compliance is best accomplished by someone who used to make a living by investigating schools herself.

Maybe Maryland and Auburn and South Carolina thought the same thing.

Maybe not.

With millions and millions of dollars and the careers of wealthy men who enjoy a lavish lifestyle to which they and their families have become accustomed, alternately hiring and destroying investigators one after another until the NCAA is left with investigators who dream not to end corruption but to be hired by the school whom they are paid to investigate.

Personally, I don’t think people in academic administration are bright enough to follow through with this level of deviousness – this level of graft.

8 thoughts on “Kentucky Hires NCAA Enforcement Official and Further Eviscerates Investigatory Staff In Indy

  1. Steve Holday


    I have a friend that is very proud that Kentucky spends hundreds of thousands to insure compliance. He feels it is a badge of honor that they would do that. Isn’t that the responsibility of the AD and his/her staff? In my profession as a Human Resources professional, it would be like me hiring someone to make sure I knew what the laws where concerning HIPPA laws, FMLA, ADA and other laws. I am responsible. What a joke!

    1. kentsterling Post author

      UK is like a lot of other universities that farm out every meaningful responsibility so administrators are blameless for routine idiocy – as is the case with Rutgers.

      Management books today are nothing more than guides to culpability aversion. “Joke” is the right word for it.

  2. Jeff

    Not sure i agree here at all really, as much as I loathe Kentucky! I’m sure these rules are complicated, and we see coaches whom we respect accidentally incur infractions . Steve is a human resources professional who knows the ins and outs of HIPAA, I am an RN, I rely on someone like Steve to keep me updated on legal changes…’s the same thing. My wife is a CPA–her clients count on her to keep them informed of ever changing rules and regulations….it’s smart business

  3. Bo Blackburn

    So I slept on this one before posting. Kent, I know you want to stir things up, but for your sake, I am glad no libel laws apply to half-assed opinion pieces. Why blame Kentucky or those other schools when the rot you seek is in the NCAA itself.
    Occam’s Razor states that the simplest answer is usually correct. So it might be easier to assume that a Kentucky native is fed up with years of overwhelming workload in a barely functioning and quickly dying bureaucracy and has decided to leave for a life in her home state with good pay and clear direction on how to lead efforts to build a resurgent football program. Rather than blame Kentucky, I would look at the lackluster leadership of Mark Emmert and the declining influence of the NCAA.
    You are all for personal responsibility. Emmert led the team that botched the Miami investigation. He should be held fully accountable for the glossing over of the academic fraud at UNC. Penn State and Ohio State punishments showed many flaws and may still come back to haunt the NCAA. The NCAA has proven time and time again they cannot or will not effectively police college athletics. The NCAA hands out punishments with no sense of equanimity. In fact their enforcement seems to be driven by appearance more than substance.
    The High majors realize that the death knell for the NCAA is sounding. They don’t need it. They don’t want it anymore. And if someone is smart and working for the NCAA, they will realize this as well. Get while the getting is good.
    This answer makes more sense than your accusations. Seems founded in actual reality and not pure supposition of sinister intent. It is a simpler reason and therefore probably more correct.
    I know you hate the business of college athletics. But while it is a business, don’t hate people or schools that make smart business decisions.

    1. kentsterling Post author

      There is a good chance that you are right, but my suspicion that sinister intent lurks in the hearts of college administrator is certainly more fun to contemplate.

      And I did say that my conspiracy theory is likely incorrect.

      I accused no one of anything – just advanced the possibility that the dots connect in a different way.

      Occam’s Razor is almost always right, but it usually leads to the least interesting conclusion, and sometimes disquieting ill-will actually is at the core of an issue. Acknowledging that possibility is what makes millions for Fox News.

      1. Bo Blackburn

        I get it. I love me some yellow journalism. But I think you had an better target to swing at in the NCAA. You could have still lobbed this shot, but anchor it in a larger more truthful hit piece, then your wild accusation gains some credence.

        Odds are though you see rats fleeing a sinking ship. 4 good(?) people tired of being painted with the same brush of failure and ridicule decided to get out.
        Now why should we stand for that in the NCAA? Shouldn’t Emmert inspire their confidence and loyalty? Have they lost hope in the mission? Why has Emmert let it slip to the point that the colleges feel they can do away with an independent oversight body. Yes, they have gutted the NCAA and then cried foul as it fails to serve their needs. But Emmert hasn’t stopped the bleeding, if anything his administration has increased it. He is watching the fracturing of “amateur” collegiate athletics. And he is not up to the task of keeping his own people let alone halting this decline.

        College athletics is broken. It has to be dismantled in its current state. I would argue, that universities like UK, KU, UNC, Penn State, Maryland, Ohio State, Oregon, UCLA, are fine with Emmert’s Barney Fife style of sheriffing. Occasionally it bites them in the ass, but on the whole, they are working the system from both ends. They don’t have to buy the deputies. They are Mr. Potter and they own the whole damn town. Now they are looking to bulldoze the place to put in casinos and hotels. Win, win.


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