- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. Wisconsin-Green Bay spokesperson Christopher Sampson said Tuesday that the lesson the school learned from the Rutgers case when there are allegations of mistreatment against a coach is that the story goes national. But UWGB has already done something Rutgers didn't and should have immediately -- take the investigation out of the school's hands. When the results are in from the independent investigation, led by a local attorney, then it will be much harder to refute the results if everyone involved has cooperated in talking to the investigator and all evidence has been examined. Rutgers made the major mistake of only examining the charges within Rutgers last fall. The penalties -- if there are any -- should be decided by the president and athletic director. But to put the parents at ease of a fair investigation by using a third party, the issue has a chance to be treated appropriately. This will also help coach Brian Wardle if he is exonerated since it would come from a third party without any agenda to either save or hurt his job status.
2. The Lance Thomas case involving how the former Duke player received a loan to purchase jewelry while a senior in 2009-10 had no chance with the NCAA when the key people involved -- Thomas and a jeweler -- decided not to talk to the NCAA. This has always been the issue with the NCAA. The only people who are "forced" to talk to them are those who still are employed by an NCAA institution and players who still have eligibility remaining. In this case, having a third party of an experienced attorney or professional investigator may not have mattered, either, since Thomas and the jeweler wouldn't have been under any legal obligation to talk. Still, it would have helped perception for the NCAA if the attempt was made by an independent body. If the NCAA is going to regain its credibility, then using a third party, out of NCAA headquarters, to conduct investigations might make more sense. There is a larger extra benefit issue here at stake that may need to be addressed of whether or not it's OK for players to be treated differently in securing loans or product because of who they are as long as everything is done legally. This is an ongoing fluid topic about whether or not an athlete can be treated differently for what they do for the university.
3. The new American Athletic Conference is close to securing the Mohegan Sun Casino arena, home to the WNBA's Connecticut Sun, for the women's basketball tournament in 2014. But the American Athletic Conference isn't interested apparently in making it a home for the men's tournament. Instead, sites like the XL Center in Hartford, FedEx Forum in Memphis and facilities in Cincinnati, Tampa and the Palestra in Philadelphia are being considered. Bids are being accepted and a decision is forthcoming in the coming weeks. UConn athletic director Warde Manuel said the 9,000 seats would probably be too small for the men's event in the hope that it could grow beyond that at a place like the XL Center. But the new conference needs a destination site and the Mohegan Sun could offer that for fans, akin to those who go to Las Vegas sites at the MGM for the Pac-12 and the Orleans Arena for the WCC. The American Athletic Conference needs to make the right call here in the hope that this tournament can grow. It will have the advantage of Louisville fans flooding the site for 2014, but then won't have the Cardinal faithful in 2015 and beyond. So making a long-term choice that will be a destination for fans is critical.