The Missoulian’s Bill Speltz, quoting Montana president Royce Engstrom about a petition asking Montana to appeal NCAA sanctions from last year’s major infractions case:
“I am in the process of talking to a variety of people about the matter that these folks have brought forward,” he said. “I’ve made some phone calls to people that are helping me think it through.
The biggest problem for Montana supports that want an appeal is that the time for an appeal has long passed. Institutions have 15 days from the release of the public report to file notice of an appeal of the findings or penalties. This was the case under the old enforcement program (under which Montana was sanctioned) and the new enforcement program.
So Montana is left with two options. First is to try some informal type of appeal much like the requests USC made to have its penalties reconsidered following subsequent cases and rule changes. Second is to file a lawsuit against the NCAA. Neither are likely to succeed and a lawsuit, if it is successful, will only come after years of battling the NCAA, long past the time the sanctions would be over.
Institutions might be emboldened by the relative success of lawsuits against the NCAA arising out of the Penn State case, but that was much different than what happened with Montana. Even though the petitioners suspect that the unrelated sexual assault investigation influenced the NCAA, the fact still remains that Montana’s penalties are not completely unprecedented and the NCAA used the normal infractions process to sanction Montana, a process Montana did not exhaust in trying to have the sanctions reduced.