I cranked up the laptop this morning to find that the Los Angeles Times had an article on Mississippi State signee Renardo Sidney. In the story, an anonymous source said the NCAA wants to know what collateral was used by the Sidney family to secure a personal loan (supposedly one of at least two such loans taken out).
Donald Jackson, the Sidney family’s attorney during the NCAA’s amateurism evaluation of the 6-foot-10 McDonald’s All-American, mocked (again) the use of an anonymous source by the L.A. Times. He reiterated that no bank statements will be provided, and he doesn’t see the need for the loan information request, either, calling it “almost a non-issue.”
He also said the NCAA is trying its best to drag out this process. How?
During the NCAA’s interviews with the Sidneys last week, investigator Alex Hammond made a second information request of the Sidneys. Jackson said it asked for “supplementary” info related to the first information request. Fine. But then, this past Monday, Jackson was told via telephone that a third request was immiment, and Hammond wrote in a summary that a fourth request was likely to be made. Those requests would be made, Hammond said, after the interview transcript was completed and reviewed.
“Now frankly, I don’t know what the hell that means,” Jackson said. “That’s almost like me telling you, ‘Brad, call me next week, call me two weeks from now, and then call me in two weeks again, and we’ll figure out what we’ll talk about between now and then.’”
Added Jackson, “This is nothing more than intentional effort now to drag this out. At a certain point, if there are violations, they need to point the finger and say what the violations are. If there are no violations, they need to leave this young man and this family alone.”
Strong words, and Jackson’s frustration is apparent. He was hopeful after the interviews that the process would move forward quickly and be resolved well before the season began. Now, he’s not so sure.
Jackson said he has asked the NCAA on five different occasions under what authority – NCAA rules, state law, the U.S. Constitution – they are justifying their demand for personal financial information. More strong words:
“Their own legislation doesn’t even support a demand like this. So what they are doing right now is distorting their own bylaws. … They don’t have the right to continually harass this family, they don’t have the right to drag this process out.”
I’ve e-mailed NCAA spokesman Bob Williams, who has already commented twice on this investigation, which is quite unusual. Haven’t heard back yet.