Media members set to experience enforcement: More than 30 members of the media and readers of a live blog will participate in the Enforcement Experience − a day-long session that will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the complex task of holding institutions, administrators, coaches and student-athletes accountable for NCAA rules that are intended to promote education and fair play. Read more »
New section on NCAA.org details Enforcement process: The NCAA enforcement program strives to maintain a level playing field for the more than 400,000 student-athletes. Read more »
By Marta Lawrence
The Academy Award-winning movie “The Blind Side” got it wrong when it came to NCAA investigative practices, and NCAA Associate Director for Enforcement Joyce Thompson set the record straight in front of an audience of nearly 30 journalists in Tuesday’s Enforcement Experience.
Thompson, an NCAA investigator for nearly a decade, was portrayed in the 2009 movie as the hard-nosed, humorless and intimidating Jocelyn Granger. The Enforcement Experience is a day-long session that provides media members with a behind-the-scenes look at the complex task of holding institutions, administrators, coaches and student-athletes accountable for NCAA rules that are intended to promote education and fair play.
Thompson’s name wasn’t the only thing that was given literary license in “The Blind Side.” The actress’s portrayal of the personable and engaging nine-year NCAA veteran was as much fiction as the setting for the scene.
Thompson first met Michael Oher (the football player who was the subject of the movies) at his home with his legal guardian, Sean Tuohy, present. She interviewed Oher, then a high school senior, as part of the NCAA’s Top-Prospect Program, which is designed to identify and monitor the recruitment of elite high school athletes.
In the movie, Granger, played by Sharon Morris, interviews Oher alone in a sterile conference room, asking Sandra Bullock’s character, Leigh Anne Tuohy, to wait outside. Oher, a homeless youth, was taken in by the Tuohys when they discovered his dire situation.
As Granger paces the room, Oher becomes visibly nervous.
“What do you want, ma’am?” he asks as Granger looms over him.
“I want the facts! I need the truth,” she responds.
A flustered and intimidated Oher says, exasperated, “I didn’t lie!”
“The way we interview student-athletes or prospects is completely different from how it was portrayed in the movie,” Thompson said in an article that appeared in NCAA Champion magazine. “I didn’t like the fact that the investigator came off as intimidating. I try not to be that way.”
Jocelyn Granger: My name is Jocelyn Granger, and I’m the assistant director of enforcement for the NCAA.
Leigh Anne Tuohy: Please, call me Leigh Anne.
Jocelyn Granger: So, let’s do this. Shall we? Ms. Tuohy, if you wouldn’t mind, I’d prefer to speak with Michael alone.
Leigh Anne Tuohy: And how long is that gonna take?
Jocelyn Granger: Awhile.
Leigh Anne Tuohy: Go, Mike. Okay? Go. Michael? Michael! I’ll be waiting for you in the lobby, all right?
Jocelyn Granger: Were you aware that coach Cotton is accepting a job at Ole Miss?
Michael Oher: No.
Jocelyn Granger: And that this job offer came after you signed with them? Sean Tuohy, your legal guardian, went to Ole Miss.
Michael Oher: He played basketball.
Jocelyn Granger: And Mrs. Tuohy went to Ole Miss as well.
Michael Oher: She was a cheerleader.
Jocelyn Granger: Is this safe to say that Ole Miss is their favorite school? Did they like any other universities? What about, say, Tennessee?
Michael Oher: No. They can’t stand Tennessee.
Jocelyn Granger: And your tutor...
Michael Oher: Miss Sue.
Jocelyn Granger: Miss Sue. Miss Sue is an Ole Miss grad, too. Miss Sue ever tried to persuade you to attend Ole Miss? Did you know that the Tuohys make generous donations to Ole Miss? That even Miss Sue makes donations? That the Tuohys, they have a condo in Oxford so they can attend as many athletic events as possible? That, in fact, Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy are by our definition... “boosters.”
Mr. Oher. Mr. Oher? Do you understand...Do you know why am I here?
Michael Oher: To... investigate.
Jocelyn Granger: Yes. To investigate. I’m here to investigate your odd...predicament. Do you find it odd? Your predicament? Michael?...
Michael Oher: I don’t know. What do you want, ma’am?
Jocelyn Granger: I want the facts! I need the truth.
Michael Oher: I didn’t lie!
Jocelyn Granger: And I want to know what you think about all this.
Michael Oher: THINK ABOUT WHAT?!
Jocelyn Granger: The NCAA fears that with your recruitment a door might be opened − that boosters from lots of schools in the South will become legal guardians for young athletes without means and funnel them to their alma maters.
I’m not saying I believe it and I’m not saying I don’t, but there’re many people involved with this case who would argue that Tuohys they took you in, they clothes you, they fed you…
Michael Oher: No.
Jocelyn Granger: they paid for your private education…
Michael Oher: No.
Jocelyn Granger: …They bought you a car…
Michael Oher: No!
Jocelyn Granger: …And paid for your tutor…
Michael Oher: No.
Jocelyn Granger: …All as part of a plan to ensure that you play football for the University of Mississippi.