Penn State Legal Analysis: Memphis Should Sue NCAA Over 2008 Banner

The NCAA and Pennsylvania officials announced a settlement Friday in a lawsuit stemming from the organization’s penalties levied against Penn State as a result of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal. The agreement restores 112 football victories to Penn State and directs $60 million – the penalty the school agreed to as the result of the scandal – to programs serving child sexual abuse.

This commentary is not about comparing a child abuse scandal to an SAT / eligibility scandal. Let’s not go there.

This is about the fact that some brave public official in Memphis needs to step up on behalf of the alumni, ticket holders and taxpayers and sue the NCAA. Some brave politician needs to sue on behalf of these aggrieved parties  – sue for the right to have Memphis’ 2008 banner hung from the rafters of FedExForum and the wins from 2008 added back to the record book. In other words, justice.

It needs to happen and it needs to happen now.

The NCAA is crippled. Amid a fight for its own existence given the governance changes and new autonomy of the so called “Power 5,” amid antitrust lawsuits challenging the concept of amateurism of which the NCAA’s validity as an organization derives from, amid the organization’s diminished credibility resulting from years of inconsistent discipline and enforcement — it’s time someone stood up for justice and equality.

Citizens of Memphis should sue the NCAA.

Citizens of Memphis, fans of Memphis, alumni of Memphis, consumers of college basketball in Memphis should sue the NCAA, seeking the equitable relief of returned monies, returned victories and a re-raised banner.

Spoiler alert, we’d probably settle for the banner and the wins.

Also there’s a caveat – I’m not actually sure there’s a legitimate legal case. The issue is probably one of standing – which basically means the right to initiate a suit in the first place.

This idea is somewhat of a joke, but somewhat serious. It might work. I haven’t done all the legal research (perhaps a lawyer better versed in gaining standing against the NCAA and seeking equitable relief of this nature will read this and come forth), but common sense says the Penn State case could be a template. Penn State University didn’t sue the NCAA, their public officials did – on behalf of citizens. The facts were different, but the circumstances could be similar enough to merit consideration. The goal would be to settle for the NCAA allowing Memphis to raise that damn banner.

The University of Memphis itself can’t sue for numerous reasons – not the least of which is they don’t want to do anything to draw the ire of the NCAA as they are still subject to its guidelines and enforcement. But that doesn’t mean citizens, and their public officials, can’t sue the NCAA seeking equitable relief.

Penn State public officials sued – and got a result they wanted. Perhaps its time the brave citizens of Memphis stood up and did the same thing. I’m sure there’s some heroic public official willing to put his or her name behind the effort.

Come forward, ye who seeks justice.

Come forward, ye who seeks attention and votes.

Amazingly, despite the fact that the NCAA ruled Memphis’ participation in the 2008 tournament no longer exists, they still play the Memphis – KU 2008 Championship game on their official YouTube channel (see video below), which links to their website, which is sponsored and branded. So the NCAA can still profit from the game, but Memphis can’t mention it in their record books? Makes zero sense.

It’s time for common sense to take over.

It’s time for lady justice to do her thing.


2 thoughts on “Penn State Legal Analysis: Memphis Should Sue NCAA Over 2008 Banner”

  1. forget all that. just hang the banner and if the ncaa says anything about it, ask them to describe in detail why a retroactively declaring an athlete who the ncaa itself had cleared to play and providing his brother transportation to games is more dastardly than a university purposely enabling and covering up decades of child rape. i would enjoy that press conference.

    just hang the silly strip of cloth up and be done with it.

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