- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Private emails between NCAA committee members have been made public in the defamation lawsuit against the organization brought by former Southern California assistant football coach Todd McNair, whose alleged ethical breaches in the scandal surrounding Heisman Trophy-winning tailback Reggie Bush were outlined in an NCAA report.

The emails, among nearly 500 pages of documents filed in the case Tuesday that were obtained by the Los Angeles Times (https://lat.ms/1HA4eCv), include members of the NCAA infractions committee deriding the school for hiring back as its head coach former assistant Lane Kiffin, who had been an offensive coordinator for coach Pete Carroll during the Bush period that led to school sanctions.

“USC has responded to its problems by bringing in Lane Kiffin,” committee member Rodney Uphoff wrote in an undated memo to other members of the committee. “They need a wake-up call that doing things the wrong way will have serious consequences.”

Another committee member expressed similar sentiments about Kiffin in an email dated March 2010, after Kiffin had returned to lead USC after stints as head coach of Tennessee and the NFL’s Oakland Raiders.

“Lack of institutional control … (and do we add the hiring of Lane Kiffin?), is a very easy call for me,” committee member Roscoe Howard wrote.

Kiffin, 39, is now offensive coordinator at Alabama.

Uphoff’s memo also compared the evidence against McNair, who was found by the committee to have engaged in unethical conduct, to circumstances surrounding the 1995 bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City. He said the case against McNair was stronger than that against Terry Nichols, who was convicted as an accomplice in the bombing.

The NCAA had sought to keep the documents under seal for years, while the Los Angeles Times and New York Times had sought to have them unsealed.

McNair sued the NCAA in June 2011, claiming the association’s investigation was one-sided and his future earnings were hurt by its report on the Bush scandal. The NCAA determined McNair lied about knowing about some of the gifts lavished on Bush’s family by two aspiring sports marketers who hoped to land as a client the future NFL player, who last week signed with the San Francisco 49ers.

The NCAA imposed a two-year bowl ban and scholarship restrictions on USC as a result of the Bush case. McNair was prohibited from contacting recruits and his USC contract was not renewed.

The NCAA sought to have the suit thrown out, but in 2012 a judge ruled the NCAA was “malicious” in its investigation of McNair, who had a chance of winning. The judge kept the lawsuit alive and it has remained in court since.


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