The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


March 27, 2013

Coaches survive show-cause orders


Under the penalty, schools that want to hire coaches with active show-cause orders essentially must prove to the NCAA that the rule-breaker has made amends. If not, any broader sanctions levied against the offender's former school can carry over to the new employer.

Former New Mexico State assistant Fletcher Cockrell left coaching for law school after receiving a 10-year order in 2001. The NCAA found that former Aggies coach Neil McCarthy agreed to hire Cockrell from Jones County Community College in Mississippi if he steered two of his JUCO players to Las Cruces. The NCAA also found Cockrell guilty of academic fraud by providing test answers to the two players.

"I'm doing quite well," said Cockrell, now a Houston attorney. "I'm OK, trust me."

So is Sampson, who is now an NBA assistant with the Houston Rockets following previous jobs with the Milwaukee Bucks and San Antonio Spurs. He declined to comment for this story.

The punishment has a long history. According to the NCAA, the University of Nebraska-Omaha received the first show-cause penalty in April 1963 — an institutional penalty after the football team played in an unsanctioned postseason game. A decade later, the NCAA handed down what appears to be its first show-cause penalty against an individual, when the athletic director at what was then known as Bloomsburg State College in Pennsylvania was found to have improperly raised scholarship money from outside boosters.

Show-cause orders are more prevalent now, with the NCAA issuing more than 100 overall since 2000, covering sports from football and basketball to baseball, soccer, track, swimming, golf, rugby and rowing. Ten such orders were handed down in three of the past five years, with the penalties' duration ranging from two months to 10 years.

And coaches aren't the only ones hit. Recent show-cause orders have been issued against tutors, volunteer coaches, graduate assistants, secretaries, athletic directors, compliance officers, faculty athletic representatives and directors of operations.

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