Thursday October 8th, 2015 4:17PM

NCAA enforcement director defends investigators

By The Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS -- Jonathan Duncan understands that a perfect NCAA enforcement division won't catch every cheater in college sports. He still believes his team is getting the job done.<br /> <br /> Two days after Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby called the NCAA enforcement system overwhelmed and "broken," the NCAA's top cop fired back by defending his staff's work and acknowledging the impossible mission of policing more than 1,200 schools.<br /> <br /> Yes, sometimes, teams or schools might get away with breaking the rules for a while, Duncan said, but eventually most are caught.<br /> <br /> "We don't pretend to be able to catch every violation in any given year," Duncan told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "So the next question is, do we have a handle on it, and the answer is yes, I think we do. The people who violate the rules will be found out and we will report them back to the committee on infractions."<br /> <br /> Duncan took over the enforcement division on an interim basis in March 2013 when the department was embroiled in its own embarrassing scandal. An internal investigation found the NCAA improperly collected evidence against the University of Miami, which led to the ouster of Julie Roe Lach.<br /> <br /> Duncan took over a department that was losing experienced investigators and saw morale wane as it came under intense public criticism - criticism that hasn't diminished and has lately included leaders like Bowlsby, a former athletic director at Iowa and Stanford.<br /> <br /> Bowlsby put NCAA enforcement back in the spotlight Monday when he suggested the lack of high-profile cases over the past year are indicative of the problems within the current system.<br /> <br /> "Enforcement is broken," he said. "The infractions committee hasn't had a hearing in almost a year, and I think it's not an understatement to say cheating pays presently."<br /> <br /> He added about the NCAA: "They're in a battle with a BB gun in their hand. They're fighting howitzers."<br /> <br /> Duncan, an attorney whose private practice work included representing the NCAA, said statistics show roughly 20 schools are formally charged with major infractions each year - and he expects this year's number to hit 21. In addition, Duncan said investigators have looked into roughly 5,000 secondary infractions, a record.<br /> <br /> Numbers only tell part of the story.<br /> <br /> A year after NCAA President Mark Emmert boasted that tougher penalties had "upped the ante" on schools and coaches doing risk-reward analyses when it came to cheating, Duncan said the perceived slowdown in major cases in Division I is a result of an increased caseload in Divisions II and III and investigators' attempts to focus on more complex allegations that threaten the current collegiate model.<br /> <br /> He also said schools are going to greater lengths to avoid punishment and that it's difficult to obtain evidence when third parties are not compelled to testify. The NCAA lacks subpoena power.<br /> <br /> Duncan still expects the logjam to be broken next year when he estimates the infractions committee could hear an average of one major case per month.<br /> <br /> While Bowlsby declined to comment further on the issue again Wednesday, Gerald Gurney, president of The Drake Group, an NCAA watchdog, didn't hold back. He said the NCAA relies far too much on media reports and competing schools to do the legwork on investigations, and suggested outsourcing investigations could speed things up.<br /> <br /> "Bob Bowlsby says the enforcement unit is broken and my reaction is, `Duh, of course, it took you that long to figure it out?'" Gurney said. "If we're interested in fairness, it starts with giving schools and individuals real due process. Right now, once you get a notice of inquiry, you're presumed guilty and we've seen schools fire coaches regularly without due process. People don't have much confidence in this (system)."<br /> <br /> Duncan does believe in it.<br /> <br /> And while some have complained the NCAA doesn't have enough investigators, Duncan insists his staff can do the job with the 50-plus people currently in enforcement.<br /> <br /> "If the membership were to entrust me with additional resources, I would use them wisely," he said. "I feel strongly about my job to be a good steward financially. In the meantime, though, I feel like we have a talented staff to do what our resources allow us to do."<br /> <br /> Even if some people believe they're doing nothing at all.<br /> <br /> "It's a myth," Duncan said. "We're trying to move the right kind of cases with the right kind of philosophy, and we're trying to move them quickly. The notion we're sitting around here with nothing to do, I've got 55 people who would beg to differ with that."
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
2014 Top 10: Looking back at the top sports stories of the year
It was another year for the record books in 2014, mostly for the right reasons -- state championships, new challenges and new stars taking their turn to shine. But there were also plenty of big stories that reminded us that sports -- like life -- isn
11:55PM ( 9 months ago )
NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedules set for 2015
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - NASCAR announced recently the 2015 schedules for its top developmental regional touring series, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
2:00PM ( 9 months ago )
Lanierland boys final: Johnson makes history with win over Red Elephants <b> (VIDEO) </b>
Ever the aggressor on the court, Johnson
8:55AM ( 9 months ago )
Jackets, Mississippi St. clash in Orange Bowl
No. 10 Georgia Tech has the nation's second-ranked rushing offense. No. 8 Mississippi State has held seven of its 12 opponents under 125 yards on the ground.
5:04PM ( 9 months ago )
Ole Miss defense braces for TCU offense in Peach Bowl
Mississippi and TCU were part of the playoffs story in 2014. Each team was part of the chase. Each team fell short of the coveted semifinals.
5:01PM ( 9 months ago )
Kiffin shining again after season of redemption
Lane Kiffin was modest in his goals and complimentary about the team he'll be facing in the Sugar Bowl. He went on and on about how much he's learned from Nick Saban, while insisting it's no big deal when his boss yells at him. Very un-Kiffin-like, you might say.
11:02PM ( 9 months ago )
College Sports
Surprising Tigers looking to take early lead in 7-AAA
Sid Maxwell admitted he wasn’t sure what he was getting into when he decided to take the Dawson County job back in the spring.
8:02PM ( 3 hours from now )
Falcons downplay White's complaints about lack of passes
Atlanta Falcons receiver Roddy White skipped practice Wednesday for an undisclosed personal matter, while the team addressed concerns that he's not happy with a diminished role in the offense.
By The Associated Press
8:42AM ( 7 hours ago )
VIDEO: Kevin Harvick, Regan Smith tame the 'Monster Mile'
If there's one thing the NASCAR world should know by now, it's that Kevin Harvick is hard to beat when he's in a must win situation.
8:00AM ( 8 hours ago )
Tennessee dismisses WR Pig Howard ahead of facing UGA
Tennessee wide receiver Alton "Pig" Howard has been dismissed from the team for a violation of unspecified team rules.
By The Associated Press
5:48AM ( 10 hours ago )
Cross country: Johnson boys, North Hall girls claim Hall County titles
Johnson’s boys took first place individually and as a team, while North Hall’s girls did the same on Wednesday at the Hall County Cross County Championships at Chestatee High in Gainesville.
By AccessWDUN Staff
12:12AM ( 16 hours ago )