Former Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi will have his name attached to the Sports Pavilion when the arena is renamed in a ceremony on Saturday. A staunch supporter of Gophers' Olympic sports as AD, Maturi now serves on the NCAA's Committee on Infractions that oversees punishment of schools that break rules. He spoke recently with Chip Scoggins about this new chapter in his career.
Q How did you get involved with Infractions Committee?
A I was nominated by Morgan Burke, who at the time was the director of athletics at Purdue. They made a decision to include retired people. They got some people who had some perspective on campus and expanded the number.
Q What is the time commitment?
A It varies by case. I'm not exaggerating when I say you have well over 1,000 pages to read to prepare for this. You want to do what's right and fair so you take a lot of time. I could not do this if I were still the director of athletics at Minnesota.
Q How does the process work?
A Hearings usually take place in the middle of the month. They send out a calendar to find out if you are available these dates. Then an institution is set up for a hearing and you respond if you have a conflict of interest. For example, there was a case recently that I had a relationship with that school so I said, "No, I can't serve. I have to recuse myself." So that month becomes free for me and somebody else ends up having to be selected.
You are sent the materials that you are asked to read up on. That's because the enforcement staff has previously spent weeks, months investigating an allegation that was brought forth by the institution, the individual, by campus, whatever it might be. They do the research and issue what is called a notice of allegations.
The enforcement staff presents what they found in their research [allegation of a rules violation]. The institution responds to that allegation and the individual — the coach, or whomever — responds to that allegation. We as a panel — usually it's about seven people — ask questions. After an entire day or sometimes longer, you go deliberate and we make a decision of whether the individual is guilty of that allegation or not, what the severity is of their involvement, and then we assess penalties based on a framework which has been established by the [NCAA] membership.
Q Kind of like a jury?
A In some ways, but it's a hearing, not a trial. … I think we have shown statistically that we have been tremendously consistent in our decisions, even though sometimes the public doesn't feel that way.
Q Do you have a better appreciation for the process now?
A No question. I know that people in the room try to do their best based on the information they have. Whenever you give penalties, sometimes it's a new coach and athletes who have never been involved. Minnesota can identify with that, when they had their serious basketball infractions in the late '90s and obviously were hit tremendously hard. It wasn't Dan Monson or one of his players, but they were impacted negatively because of the sanctions. That's hard but that's the process.
Q Has this been fun?
A I don't know if the word is fun because it's serious. It's rewarding because I feel good about working hard, and I feel good about when we have a hearing and I'm prepared. Sometimes I've been on the wrong end of the consensus [in committee deliberations]. But that's what the process is and I don't walk away angry, bitter or whatever.