With a larger and more diverse Committee on Infractions, especially with ex-coaches now part of the group, questions were bound to arise about the COI’s recusal policy. One of the first instances has come up in Georgia’s infractions case involving swimming and diving coach Jack Bauerle. Chip Towers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the details:
“Mr. Bobby Cremins coached for many years at the University of Georgia’s in-state rival, Georgia Tech, and his appointment presents the appearance of a conflict of interest that the University would like to avoid,” wrote UGA’s attorney, Mike Glazier, of Bond, Schoeneck & King. “Thus, the University respectfully request that Mr. Cremins be recused. Such a recusal will alleviate the concern that Georgia athletics supporters may perceive a conflict and a less partial review of the University’s case.”
The Bulldogs’ plea proved unnecessary.
On July 25, Cremins asked to be recused from the panel “because he and Coach Bauerle have a friend in common,” an NCAA administrator replied. “In order to avoid either an actual conflict or the appearance of a potential conflict, Mr. Cremins believed recusal was necessary.”
Traditionally, the COI’s policy was to recuse any member who was part of the same conference as an involved school or individual. This policy is a bit limited and raised the appearance of other conflicts. One notable example was Notre Dame deputy director of athletics Missy Conboy hearing the USC/Reggie Bush case despite the two schools being traditional football rivals.
The old policy was limited partly out of necessity. The entire committee heard each case, so a recusal was removing a member of the group hearing the case, who were often replaced with former COI members. Now with a larger group where panels hear cases rather than the entire committee, it should be easier to take into account more actual and perceived conflicts while still putting together a panel of current COI members.