July 16, 2009
Danny P Smith -
The NCAA Eligibility Center has requested more documentation in the case of Mississippi State basketball signee Renardo Sidney.
Sidney''s attorney, Donald Jackson, believes the request is an attempt by the Eligibility Center to prolong the investigation into Sidney''s amateur status that would keep him from getting on the court in a timely manner to play for the Bulldogs.
The main question with Sidney''s amateur status stems from his father''s involvement with former Reebok employees who might have provided funding for an Amateur Athletic Union team in Los Angeles, Calif.
On Monday, Jackson participated in a conference call with two representatives of the Eligibility Center who conducted interviews with the Sidney family on July 6-7.
After that conference call NCAA Eligibility Center representative Alex Hammond forwarded an e-mail summary of the meeting to Jackson and said there was a strong potential that additional document requests would be forthcoming.
Jackson is disturbed by this turn of events because it is the fourth request.
"It is highly unusual a notification of a proposed third and fourth request for documentation would be made prior to the response to a second request," Jackson said. "It is quite clear the motivation of the Eligibility Center is to prolong things. At the outset of the investigation, I stated my concerns about the historical effort to impose "de facto" suspensions whereby investigations are prolonged for the sole purpose of keeping student-athletes off the court. It is my belief this is occurring in this investigation."
Jackson said the notification of proposed multiple requests for documentation creates a unnecessary burden on the Sidney family, and he said it could be considered harassment.
With the NCAA''s failure to establish a violation, Jackson said the Sidney family shouldn''t be asked to provide any more information.
"At some point in this investigation the burden of establishing violations must rest on the NCAA," Jackson said. "At this point, the organization has taken the approach that the family must establish its innocence (as opposed to the NCAA establishing the existence of a violation of any type).
"In this quest, the organization has engaged in a pattern of harassment. The recent pattern of "document requests" is indicative of this effort to harass."
Jackson has attempted five times to request the Eligibility Center and their predecessors provide him with legal authority under the U.S. Constitution, Constitution of the State of Mississippi, NCAA Bylaws, or the Constitution of the National Collegiate Athletic Association to justify their demand the Sidney family produce bank statements.
At this time, the authority hasn''t been provided.