(Photo of NCAA Logo: Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The already lengthy and drawn out infractions case against the University of Louisville's men's basketball program finally took its next step. The NCAA announced last Friday that Louisville's referral to the Independent Accountability Resolution Process, or IARP, has been been granted.
In essence, the IARP serves as an alternate to the NCAA's Committee on Infractions for complex cases, and was created in 2018 based on recommendations from the Commission on College Basketball, led by former U.S. Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice.
For those that need a refresher, last May, the men's basketball program received a Notice of Allegations that consisted of one Level I and three Level II allegations. The four total allegations stem from the recruitment of Brian Bowen and the Adidas pay-for-play scheme uncovered by the FBI in late 2017.
Now that the infractions case has finally started to advance closer to getting resolved, we will be giving a simple and easy to follow breakdown of the entire IARP.
The first stop is to the Infractions Referral Committee (IRC). The IRC is a five-member committee that actually decides whether to "approve or reject requests to refer infractions cases to the independent process." Louisville has already completed this step, so we'll go ahead and move on.
Once approved, then we move onto the Complex Case Unit (CCU). The CCU is where essentially where the actual investigative work is done, and consists of "both external investigators and advocates with no school or conference affiliations as well as one member of the enforcement staff". They also determine whether or not additional investigation is needed.
So, who are the ones actually doing the investigating? The independent investigators come from one of three firms: Berryman Prime LLC, AlixPartners and Kroll.
Here's some background information on the three: Berryman Prime LLC was founded by former U.S. Department of Treasury Special Agent Steven Berryman, who worked in the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, AlixPartners has helped advise the Chapter 11 bankruptcies of WorldCom, Kmart and Enron, and Kroll, according to The New York Times, was once referred to as 'Wall Street's private eye'.
If you really want to waste an afternoon and read up on the CCU's entire operating procedures and investigative guideline, you can find that here.
Finally, we head to the Independent Resolution Panel (IRP). The IRP is a 15-member committee that reviews the allegations brought forth by the CCU as well as the school’s response. They hold a hearing, decide if violations indeed occurred, and then administer penalties if necessary.
But we're not done yet. On top of everything, we have the Independent Accountability Oversight Committee (IAOC). The IAOC is a four-member committee that not only overseas the entire process, but selects the members of the IRC, appoints the investigators of the CCU, and nominates members for the IRP.
In layman's terms: the IARP consists of the IAOC, which oversees the IRC, CCU & IRP. Totally not confusing, right?
Then, to top the entire thing off, we have this line on the bottom of the IARP's official website: "Decisions issued by the Independent Resolution Panel are final and are not subject to appeal or further review."
You read that right. Whatever punishment a school could be dealt, it's there to stick. There's no appealing it. NC State is attempting to circumvent this by stating in their official response to the NCAA that it “does not concede its substantive right to appeal", but we'll see how far that gets them.
So, what should we expect as a result of Louisville taking the IARP route? Will they be successful? How long will it take? Well, to put it quite bluntly, we don't know. That's because there has not been a case submitted to the IARP that has actually been completed.
Louisville is the sixth school to have an infractions case handled by the IARP, following the footsteps of Memphis, NC State, Kansas, LSU and Arizona. The first case to be accepted into the IARP was with Memphis all the way back on Mar. 4, 2020, and that has yet to be resolved.
Additionally, details surrounding any case sent to the IARP "remain confidential until the Independent Resolution Panel releases its decision". We truly have no idea what to expect until it is literally all said and done.
The only certainly with this process is the uncertainty, at least for the time being. The only thing that really is concrete up to this point in time, is that Louisville fans should not expect a resolution to this on going matter for a very long time.
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