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Thursday, August 20, 2009
Freedom of Information Act & UConn's Self Reported Violations

Dave Altimari of the Hartford Courant recently made a Freedom of Information Request to discover UConn's self-reported violations for its big three sports teams: men's basketball, women's basketball, and football. Interestingly, despite the various scandals of the school -- most notably the scandal involving recruit basketball recruit Nate Miles and UConn student-manager-turned agent Josh Nochimson -- UConn only reported 17 minor infractions involving those teams over the last five years.

Altimari interviewed me for the story and here is an excerpt with my comments:

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The self-reported cases, known as secondary violations, normally don't end up putting schools on probation or costing athletes eligibility. But the 61 pages of documents obtained by The Courant through a Freedom of Information request provide a window into how a big-time athletic department polices itself.

At UConn, the women's basketball program has had the most self-reported violations in the past five years with seven. The men's basketball program has six violations and football three, records show. There was one violation involving overpayment of meal money to both football and women's basketball players.

"That strikes me as not a high number of cases," Vermont Law School professor and sports law analyst Michael McCann said. "On one level it makes UConn look good because it shows they are handling and recording everything, including things that a typical person wouldn't think are a big deal."

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UConn has been conducting an internal investigation into allegations that some of the contacts were illegal and that UConn coaches knew that Nochimson was representing Miles when they contacted him. Miles never played for UConn.

McCann said the fact that the school reported nothing about interactions with Nochimson is puzzling.

"How could they report all this other stuff and not report anything involving Nochimson and Miles? It's almost like they are ignoring the elephant in the room," McCann said.

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To read the rest, click here. For a terrific Sports Law Blog post on the Freedom of Information Act from 2007 by Rick Karcher and terrific comments by Howard Wasserman, Jimmy H, and Rick, click here.


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