Don Jackson Solicits Congressional Help

A press release this morning says that Don Jackson, attorney for Mississippi State basketball signee Renardo Sidney, is seeking a Congressional inquiry into the NCAA for what Jackson terms “racially selective conduct by the NCAA Enforcement Staff and Eligibility Center.” A quick review: Sidney has been declared “not certified” by the NCAA, which is conducting an amateurism evaluation of the 6-foot-10 McDonald’s All-American. The evaluation was prompted by questions about his family’s standard of living while residing in the Los Angeles area.

Several times, Jackson says the NCAA’s investigative tactics in certain cases “disproportionately” affect African-Americans. For example, in correspondence with congressional staffs, Jackson writes that “race neutral NCAA legislation is being applied in a manner that has a disproportionately adverse impact upon African-Americans.” He says he has provided some information to congressional staffs detailing investigations “where athletes’ due process rights have been systematically denied,” and he says he’ll have more such info in the coming days.

Jackson claims the NCAA has conducted “illegal” amateurism evaluations and that those actions “violate federal law and demonstrate a startling arrogance.” He goes on to accuse the NCAA of acting in secrecy and disregarding various Constitutional rights of student-athletes.

In addition to past investigations that have involved him – Mario Austin, for one – Jackson also cites the investigations into so-called “diploma mills” as one example of the alleged racial bias.

As for Sidney, he was recently denied eligibility for Jackson’s refusal to provide certain family financial records and tax returns. Jackson said he’s already given the NCAA some financial records – cancelled checks, loan files, leases, etc. – as well as cell phone records for every member of the family. Jackson has demanded proof from the NCAA of any violations committed by Sidney or his family. Sidney is currently enrolled at MSU and is working out with the team.

We’ll have more on this later. I’ve left a message with Jackson and e-mailed a query to NCAA spokesman Bob Williams.