In their zeal to protect schools from the long arm of NCAA law, state lawmakers may unwittingly put their favorite colleges in even greater peril.
It's even possible, NCAA chief Dick Schultz said at a news conference Tuesday, that they could force their schools to be disqualified from NCAA membership."It would depend on how the legislation is written," Schultz said Tuesday at the conclusion of the NCAA's college football seminar. "But it might be impossible for that state's institutions to be a member of the NCAA because there would be no way for them to comply with the rules."
The Nebraska legislature, over the advice of University of Nebraska athletic director Bob Devaney, has enacted into law a bill that requires the NCAA to guarantee rights of due process when dealing with all Nebraska schools. Another Nebraska bill being considered would require schools to pay athletes.
Several other states, almost all with schools recently punished, are considering or have considered legislation dealing with the NCAA, including Kansas, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, California and South Carolina.
"We certainly didn't go to the legislature and ask them for protection," said Devaney. "I don't know of anybody in athletics who has gone to their state legislature and asked for protection."
Schultz said any state regulation could run afoul of the U.S. Supreme Court decision of 1988, when the court ruled 5-4 that UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian's rights to due process hadn't been abridged by the NCAA process.