Mike Ermert appeared on The Morning Drive radio program on Birmingham, Alabama-based WJOX-FM this morning for an hour-long discussion regarding the NCAA sanctions against USC’s athletic program.

Ermert said these sanctions are the most significant penalties the NCAA has issued in recent history and even though USC may have strong arguments in an appeal, the cumulative issues in this case are going to be very difficult to overcome.

“Any appeal, especially under the new NCAA standard, is an incredible uphill battle,” says Ermert. “This case involves a complex factual situation and the lack of full cooperation by the student-athletes involved in the findings.  USC will likely argue that the NCAA established a new precedent for how one becomes a representative of a collegiate institution and that the Committee on Infractions reached inappropriate factual conclusions in the face of contradictory evidence.  Whether these arguments will reduce the severity of these penalties remains to be seen.”

One of the key elements in the NCAA Infractions Report was the admonition that institutions adopt an increased level of vigilance, especially with regard to high-profile, elite student-athletes with potentially lucrative professional careers.

“The high profile athletes require a much more diligent effort,” states Ermert. “The NCAA is basically saying to USC, there was a lot of smoke and you should have looked harder for the fire. The bottom line here is you have to continually monitor and make sure you have dedicated the resources to do so. At one point, USC only had one person working in their compliance department.  The NCAA felt that this was unacceptable given the nature of their athletics program.”

Mike Ermert served on the legal team which obtained the first successful appeal in NCAA infractions history.