The University of Hawaii claims a powerful NCAA committee “abused its discretion” and penalized the school under the wrong version of its bylaws in imposing a post-season ban on the men’s basketball team for 2016-17.
The claims are contained in a 17-page UH rebuttal to the NCAA Committee on Infractions filed today by the school’s Alabama-based law firm.
UH had until Monday to reply to the COI’s defense of the penalties it announced in January.
The final decision on whether to retain or dismiss the penalty rests with the Infractions Appeals Committee which reviews the submissions by UH and the Committee on Infractions. A decision could come as soon as next month.
In the interim, at least two UH juniors who could have returned to school next season, announced their departures. Aaron Valdes and Stefan Jankovic have announced they will pursue professional careers.
In its rebuttal to the NCAA released today, UH said, “The COI’s response to the University’s appeal is grounded in little more than bald ipse dixit (an assertion claimed but not proven) – the postseason ban penalty is proper because the COI says it is and nothing further need be considered. The COI attempts to defend its arbitrary imposition of an excessive penalty through a litany of unsupported, conclusionary statements and rank speculation that find no support in the record of this case, and which, in some instances, are flatly contradicted by the record.”
In addition, UH claims, “NCAA bylaws require more before the extraordinarily severe penalty of a postseason ban may be levied against a member institution and its current student-athletes.”
UH asserts, “There are multiple grounds on which this Committee should vacate the postseason ban penalty. First, the COI imposed the penalty under the wrong version of Bylaw 19.9. The violations in this case predominately occurred before October 30, 2012, which requires that the COI impose penalties under the more lenient penalty structure.”