To coaches, the term “show-cause penalty” is enough to strike fear into even the toughest guys in the profession.
It’s widely considered the NCAA’s toughest penalty handed out to coaches, giving them one of the profession’s biggest black eyes and effectively keeping them off the sidelines unless the school is willing to face a committee to “show cause” on why the penalty shouldn’t apply to them, while also agreeing to take on the risk that the school could face big sanctions if that coach were to commit another NCAA violation.
Well a court ruling in California last night could end up having some interesting implications on show-cause punishments moving forward, specifically in The Golden State.
Judge Frederick Shaller doubled down on a tentative decision he made back in August, stating that show-cause penalties like the one specifically handed down to former USC assistant Todd McNair following his involvement in the Reggie Bush scandal, are “void in California as they constitute an unlawful restraint on engaging in a lawful profession,” ESPN points out.
Here’s a tweet summing up the key paragraph in Shaller’s ruling.
— Nathan Fenno (@nathanfenno) October 9, 2018
The specific show-cause for McNair, who is now a high school assistant in California, ended six years ago, but this is a ruling that clearly has the potential to impact future assistant coaches facing show-cause penalties.
Before the ruling, both Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott and Big West commissioner Dennis Farrell expressed concern to the court that this type of ruling would place their schools in an precarious situation as they would not be able to continue to meet the requirements of NCAA membership. Judge Shaller shares with the LA Times that those opinions were speculative and they were not taken into consideration.
The NCAA issued the following statement on Judge Shaller’s ruling:
“The NCAA disagrees with the court’s ruling, which is wrong as a matter of law and does not impact Todd McNair’s show-cause order that expired more than six years ago. We will explore all avenues for relief to ensure that NCAA member schools in California can continue to abide by the same rules as the rest of the NCAA’s membership.”
Will coaches who are issued a show-cause be able to run to California schools to find refuge and/or a safe haven? Will the ruling have implications on the NCAA membership of California colleges and universities?
These, and a lot more, questions remain as this situation continues to play out. Stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.
Head over to ESPN to read a full run down on the ruling and its implications.