They'll fly or drive a combined 8,600 miles to Indianapolis in June to ultimately settle on a punishment for the University of Tennessee's football and basketball programs, which are accused of a combined 12 major violations in a recently acquired Notice of Allegations.
The 12-member panel of the NCAA Committee on Infractions features a lawyer from Malibu, Calif., a former George W. Bush-appointed U.S. attorney, two conference commissioners, one of Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols' court-appointed attorneys, two former standout women's basketball players, four law professors and only one person with direct SEC ties.
Hundreds of years of experience in law and athletic administration will be on the other side of the table when UT administrators, men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl, the school's team of lawyers and others will present their case on June 10 and 11. Though UT desires it, a summary disposition was all but ruled out by NCAA Vice President of Enforcement Julie Roe Lach in a letter to UT chancellor Jimmy Cheek.
The people who will peruse those documents with scrupulous, diverse and experienced eyes:
Britton Banowsky Commissioner, Conference USA
The successor to current SEC commissioner Mike Slive at Conference USA in 2002, Banowsky has more than 20 years of experience as a college administrator. A licensed attorney in Texas, he serves as a member of a number of NCAA committees, including Collegiate Commissioners Association and Bowl Championship Series Properties, LLC. Banowsky spent six years with the Big 12, serving as Associate Commissioner and General Counsel. He graduated from Oklahoma, where he picked up both a business and law degree.
John S. Black: Senior Partner at Polsinelli and Shughart
Based in Kansas City, Mo., Black has 35 years of experience as a lawyer and "helps not-for-profit organizations, many of them sports-related, anticipate opportunities, implement strong procedures for effective governance, rights protection and risk minimization," according to his online biography. Along with his work as an attorney, Black serves as general counsel for the National Federation of State High School Associations and serves as an amateur sports law adjunct professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School.
Missy Conboy: Senior Deputy Director of Athletics, Notre Dame
A 23-year veteran of the Notre Dame athletic department, Conboy was recently promoted to her current position after serving as a deputy athletic director since 2004. A Buffalo, N.Y., native, Conboy played on the Fighting Irish women's basketball team 1978-82. She received her juris doctorate from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1985. Conboy was previously a member of the NCAA's Legislative Review Committee and served as chair for her final two years. She also has served as a four-year member of the NCAA Interpretations Committee.
Roscoe C. Howard Jr.: Partner, Andrews Kurth LLP
Howard has experience in "handling investigative matters initiated by the Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, and local state law enforcement agencies," according to his online biography. Based in Washington D.C., Howard also provides advice on corporate compliance and ethics issues. Before he went into private practice in 2004, Howard was appointed as the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia from 2001-04 by President George W. Bush. Howard has served on the Attorney General's Advisory Committee and was appointed as U.S. Attorney while at the University of Kansas School of Law.
Eleanor Myers: Professor of Law, Temple University School of Law
A University of Pennsylvania graduate, Myers was appointed Temple's faculty athletics representative in 2006. She specializes in legal ethics and professional responsibility, according to a Temple Times article. Before moving to Temple full time in 1993, Myers held posts at Penn and Stanford and also handled securities and anti-trust class-action litigation for a Philadelphia law firm.
James O'Fallon: Professor Emeritus, University of Oregon School of Law
Oregon's faculty athletics representative, O'Fallon has worked all over the country. He started his career with a clerkship in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, held a fellowship at Harvard and moved on to law schools in Richmond and Detroit. The author of numerous scholarly articles, O'Fallon focuses on "constitutional history and theory and legal philosophy."
Gregory Sankey: Associate Commissioner, SEC
The SEC's director of compliance, Sankey has been with the conference since 2002. An Auburn, N.Y., native, Sankey was formerly the commissioner of the Southland Conference. He has been the point man on a number of compliance issues that have constantly reared their head in recent years. He is the only member of the 12-person panel with SEC ties.
Dennis Thomas: Commissioner, Mid-Eastern Conference
Entering his 10th year with the MEAC, Thomas serves as the chair of the Committee on Infractions. A 1974 graduate of Alcorn State University, a 1975 graduate of the University of Louisiana Monroe (master's) and a 1984 graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo (doctorate), Thomas also is member of the NCAA Division I Leadership Council and the NCAA I-FCS Governance Committee. He formerly served as the athletics director at Hampton University and was the head football coach at South Carolina State in the 80s.
Rodney Uphoff: Professor of Law, University of Missouri
A Wisconsin graduate, Uphoff has been a faculty member at UM since 2001 and also has served as the associate dean of academic affairs for three years. Before be became a law professor, Uphoff was a public defender in Wisconsin. He was one of four attorneys appointed to represent Okahoma City bomber Terry Nichols in Oklahoma state court. Nichols was convicted of murdering 160 people in the 1995 terrorist attack and is currently serving a life sentence in prison.
Julie Roe Lach: Vice President of Enforcement, NCAA
Formerly college sports' governing body's Director of Enforcement, Lach just recently took over as the Vice President of Enforcement. Lach has been involved with the NCAA since 1998, when she became a student-athlete reinstatement representative while playing basketball at Division II Millikin University. She moved up to director of student-athlete reinstatement in 1999 and director of enforcement in 2004.
Shep Cooper: Director of the Committee on Infractions, NCAA
Cooper has been the point man on investigations for a while now, as his name typically appears at the tops of letters most coaches dread seeing. He is the nephew of John Cooper, one of the originators of the jump shot, and works from the NCAA's headquarters in Indianapolis.
Brian P Halloran: Halloran Law Office