After weeks of on and off courtroom drama, it appears that the lawsuit against the NCAA by former Alabama booster Ray Keller is almost over. The original judge suffered a heart attack, causing the trail to be delayed for a long period of time. But, closing arguments have been made, and it is up to the jury to decided if Keller deserves the $35.5 million in damages he is seeking.
Part of this trail comes down to timing, what NCAA rules the investigators actually followed, and what the NCAA said about Keller. LINK
The NCAA charged Keller with participating in a scheme with two other boosters to woo blue-chip football prospect Kenny Smith to Alabama; buying the Smith family meals; paying former Crimson Tide linebacker Travis Carroll $400; and having improper contact with prospect Eric Locke at an A-Day Game.
Lamb told the jury that former NCAA Committee on Infractions chairman David Swank claimed the organization violated its own bylaws in pursuing charges against Keller. According to Swank:
The NCAA should have investigated Smith’s recruitment in 1996, after getting a memo detailing potential violations from Auburn. Instead, the memo lingered for five years.
The NCAA ignored its own four-year statute of limitations when it added the allegation, which then included Keller, in the 2002 case against Alabama.
But, there are a few issues regarding what Keller claims he lost because of the NCAA calling him a “pariah”, “rouge”, and “parasite” in their report. LINK
Keller testified he lost a chance to participate in a large store development project with a longtime associate because of news coverage of the NCAA’s report.
“I’m sure if that infractions report had not come out we would have moved forward,” Keller testified. “A contract was our word.”
But NCAA expert Barry Kennedy, an accountant, testified that Keller would actually have lost money had he invested in the shopping center project in Scottsboro.
While Keller claimed he never signed any documents on the project, which was supposed to be worth millions, Kennedy said he never had heard of such a large development proceeding without any paperwork.
Who knows what’ll happen with this trail. I do have a feeling that this will probably be the last we have to face anything involving the 2002 sanctions for a while. Finebaum seems to think Keller has a solid case. But, he also felt that Cottrell and Williams would get the NCAA as well, only to watch them wiggle out of it as the judge, a former student to the then head of NCAA infractions committee, tossed a majority of the case out.