INDIANAPOLIS - Coaches, no matter what the sport is, consider a valuable defense to be a priceless commodity.
The same can be said for an athletic department's legal team in a 26-month NCAA investigation.
That kind of defense, however, most certainly has a price. And it's meaty.
Through January 2011, the University of Tennessee, which - alongside a number of its former rule-breaking coaches - will appear today before the NCAA Committee on Infractions, paid more than $202,000 in legal fees, according to legal documents obtained by the News Sentinel through a Freedom of Information request.
A breakdown of Tennessee's legal fees for the ongoing NCAA investigation
Other related documents
BY THE NUMBERS
Legal fees paid by UT by month since the NCAA investigation began in November 2009.
- Nov. 2009: $1,783
- Dec. 2009: $9,893
- Jan. 2010: $4,232
- Feb. 2010: $2,357
- March 2010: $19,562
- April 2010: $18,440
- May 2010: $19,127
- June 2010: $20,970
- July 2010: $19,469
- Aug. 2010: $27,923
- Sept. 2010: $16,720
- Oct. 2010: $10,650
- Nov. 2010: $14,208
- Dec. 2010: $7,773
- Jan. 2011: $9,015
- Total: $202,122
That figure does not include the man hours its Kansas City-based lawyers from the firm Bond, Schoeneck and King put in during the 90 days it was allotted to respond to February's Notice of Allegations. Based on the hourly rates charged by the university's high-profile lawyers, who specialize in NCAA-related cases, the final tally could very well dwarf the latest figure released by the school.
Today's appearance before the Committee on Infractions will likely add more than $25,000 to the final tab. According to the Hartford Courant, the University of Connecticut paid Bond, Schoeneck and King $25,811 for its appearance last October.
All told, UConn, like most major programs that are summoned to the Committee on Infractions, paid a small fortune by the time its investigation was over. It originally paid Bond, Schoeneck and King $338,000 to investigate problems within its men's basketball program but was eventually forced to request permission to spend another $337,000, according to the newspaper.
Using the same law firm as UT, the University of Alabama spent $188,443 over a year while defending itself during its textbook scandal-triggered NCAA investigation, according to The Birmingham News. The University of Michigan paid more than $600,000 to the firm Lightfoot, Franklin, White during its recent infractions case, according to Ann-Arbor.com.
Throughout its investigation, which began in April 2009, UT has worked directly with Michael Glazier, the lead attorney of the firm's Collegiate Sports Practice Group. Before he landed at Bond, Schoeneck and King, Glazier, who began his career working for the NCAA in the infractions department, co-founded the Slive/Glazier Sports Group with Mike Slive, who has served as the SEC commissioner since 2002.
UT sought counsel seven months into its investigation. It was first billed for services on Nov. 13, 2009, when Glazier made separate phone calls to UT associate athletic director for compliance Brad Bertani, men's athletic director Mike Hamilton and NCAA enforcement official Dave Didion regarding the NCAA's inquiry into the school's men's basketball, football and baseball programs.
None of the 12 major violations levied against UT implicated the baseball program, but it did spend months in the NCAA's crosshairs, according to the legal documents.
At the start of UT's relationship with Bond, Schoeneck and King, Glazier charged $305 per hour and Kyle Skillman, another attorney actively involved in the case, charged $195. By October 2010, Glazier's rate was $330 per hour and Skillman's jumped to $205.
Chris Schoemann, another lawyer who helped UT during the investigation, charged $205 per hour at the start and $215 by October 2010.
Time devoted to the transcription of interviews cost UT $80 per hour.
UT spent just $1,782 in its first month with the firm, but that total jumped to nearly $10,000 in December 2009 when potential violations in the Lane Kiffin-led football program popped onto the radar. The bulk of those funds covered the work done, and expenses accrued, by Glazier when he traveled to West Palm Beach, Fla., to sit in on multiple NCAA interviews with people whose names were redacted in the documents provided to the News Sentinel.
Glazier also participated in NCAA interviews with Byrnes (S.C.) High School strength coach Mike Srock and the school's athletic director, Bobby Bentley. Srock was interviewed on three occasions from December 2009 to December 2010.
Former quarterbacks coach David Reaves, who is now the offensive coordinator at New Mexico, is accused of failing to notify the school of improper contact with recruits. He allegedly was aware that two members of the UT hostess group known as Orange Pride traveled to Byrnes High and posed for pictures with two high school prospects - Corey Miller, who is a sophomore at UT, and Brandon Willis, who is now at North Carolina.
UT paid its legal team the bulk of its money for hours worked from March 2010 to November 2010.
In March, Glazier spent two days at UT while the NCAA interviewed a number of UT football staffers. The group included offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, defensive line coach Lance Thompson, associate athletic director David Blackburn and Kris Ann Hawkins, the top coordinator of Orange Pride.
April 2010 featured more travel and more interviews regarding the UT football program. Former assistant Eddie Gran, who is now at Florida State, and former assistant director of football operations Bruce Warwick were among those interviewed by the NCAA in a month that ended with $18,440 in legal fees for UT.
In June, Glazier, accompanied by Skillman, returned to Knoxville for two more days while former men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl and his staff of assistants interviewed with, and ultimately misled, NCAA investigators. Flying in, feeding and housing the lawyers made up for $1,835 of the $20,970 spent that month.
The largest sum, though, came in an August that ended with a $27,923 bill.
Glazier started the month with a trip back to Knoxville to participate in the NCAA's second round of interviews with Pearl and his staff. Near the end of the month, he traveled to Albuquerque, N.M., where he participated in Reaves' interview with the NCAA. The next two days were just as busy, as Glazier participated in NCAA interviews with Kiffin and former UT assistants Monte Kiffin, Willie Mack Garza, Ed Orgeron, James Cregg and Aaron Ausmus.
Reaves and Orgeron interviewed with the NCAA once more in November 2010. Orgeron's recruiting records were requested by the NCAA later that month, according to the legal documents.