August 4, 2009 11:15:00 AM
Danny P Smith -
The NCAA notified Donald Jackson, the attorney for Mississippi State basketball signee Renardo Sidney, by an e-mail Monday morning that he wouldn''t be permitted to participate in interviews of third parties unless he signed a statement of confidentiality.
Jackson, who is trying to clear up issues surrounding the amateur status of Sidney so he can play basketball for the Bulldogs in the fall, wouldn''t sign the agreement when the two sides met a month ago. He said last week he has refused to execute confidentiality agreements in NCAA cases for almost a decade.
Jackson doesn''t see anything out of the ordinary with the actions he''s taken, and believes the e-mailed response from the NCAA was in response to his criticism through the media of the methods utilized in the investigation.
In addition, Jackson feels Sidney''s federal and state guaranteed rights have been violated.
"It presents a direct effort to bar Sidney''s access to critical information in the case," Jackson said. "Further, the NCAA again refused to produce information (that Sidney is entitled to) under state and federal law."
Jackson said the NCAA''s recent response, through representative Alex Hammond, stated he should request information through MSU.
Jackson calls threats to member institutions by the NCAA and pending legal action in Florida concerning confidentiality issues "the most recent in a long list of heavy-handed actions by the NCAA."
Jackson said he is confused that the NCAA and Eligibility Center have failed to establish the existence of violations of any type against Sidney even though the Sidney family met requests and produced several volumes of financial documents and there were several days of interviews.
Last week, the NCAA interviewed several individuals in connection with the case. Jackson was excluded.
In early July, one of Sidney''s former high school coaches was interviewed. Jackson also was excluded.
"No evidence establishing past violations was unearthed in either interview," Jackson said.