Six months have passed since the NCAA accepted the University of Arizona’s request to have its infractions case resolved by the Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP).
The NCAA has mostly remained quiet on the IARP’s timeline, except for a statement put out in late April that said, “Decisions in all six cases are expected within the next 12 months.”
That means it could be until (at least) April 2022 before Arizona receives punishments related to nine allegations of misconduct against the school’s men’s basketball and swimming and diving programs.
Five of those allegations are Level I violations, including lack of institutional control and failure to monitor by the university; a lack of head coach control by men’s basketball coach Sean Miller; and a lack of head coach control by Augie Busch, the women’s swimming and diving coach.
These are the type of infractions that can sink an athletic program, so it would make sense if the IARP acted with a sense of urgency, right? Apparently not.
Emmert recently sounded off to Sports Illustrated writer Pat Forde on the IARP’s progress, saying, “In many ways it’s moved into a whole new adjudicative process, obviously. That’s taking longer than I or anybody else would like, I’m sure. My hope is that as we work our way through these current cases, we can find all the ways to streamline it and make it much, much more efficient.
“The original intention was to allow for cases to be essentially reinvestigated in some element. That’s taking a long period of time. … I think we’re all, or nearly all, frustrated that it’s just taking too bloody long.”
As a reminder, the IARP is an independent commission founded in 2018 by Condoleezza Rice whose responsibility is to review high-profile infractions cases against top college basketball.
Any punishments handed down by the IARP are final and not open to appeal. Arizona is one of six schools to have its cased reviewed by the IARP and is fifth in line behind Memphis, N.C. State, Kansas and LSU.
Considering the IARP must first work through four other cases, it seems doubtful that a verdict on Arizona will come out before next spring, potentially not until after the NCAA Tournament.
Any punishments would likely go into effect for the 2022-23 academic year.
Level I violations carry the most severe punishments, which include the possibility of a postseason ban, loss of scholarships, recruiting visit restrictions, fines, a head coach suspension, and/or show-cause penalties.
Arizona President Robert Robbins tried to take matters into his own hands by self-imposing l a one-year ban from the NCAA Tournament.
Arizona’s choice to fire Miller was also an indirect result of the impending IARP decision. By alleviating itself of the individual at the heart of the allegations, Arizona can ask for greater leniency from the IARP.
Only time will tell whether Arizona’s self-punishments diminish the severity of the IARP’s findings, and that time does not appear to be approaching soon.