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Represented by Bingham McHale, Mike Rooney Exonerated in NCAA Investigation

12.15.2010

In a decision handed down today by the NCAA Committee on Infractions regarding allegations of major infractions against Arizona State University, its baseball coaches and other staff members, ASU was found to have committed major and secondary violations and was cited for lack of institutional control. On the other hand, Michael Patrick Rooney, former Director of Baseball Operations at ASU and color commentator for the Sun Devil Sports Network, was completely exonerated of any improper conduct and the Committee did not name him in any findings of violations. Joe Champion, Casey Kannenberg and James Bell, attorneys at Bingham McHale LLP in Indianapolis, represented Rooney.

The ASU Sun Devils’ Baseball Program is one of the top programs in collegiate athletics. A 2009 investigation conducted by the NCAA Enforcement Staff examined the possibility of improper reporting of recruiting-related phone calls by ASU. During this investigative period, Rooney and several other members of the current and former coaching staff came under fire by the NCAA for allegedly compromising the integrity of the investigation. Specifically, the NCAA Enforcement Staff pursued allegations of unethical conduct stemming from Rooney’s involvement in assisting ASU’s own investigation into the recruiting violations.

After Rooney was named in the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations, ASU did not renew his contract as Director of Baseball Operations. Shortly thereafter, in January 2010, the Sun Devil Sports Network informed Rooney that the station was “going in a different direction” and that he was no longer needed as a commentator. The Committee on Infractions heard the case on August 13, 2010 in Seattle, Washington.

The NCAA ultimately found that Rooney violated no NCAA rules. ASU, on the other hand, will be on probation for three years—through December 14, 2013—and the ASU baseball program will not be allowed to participate in the Championship Segment of the 2011 season.

“This was a long road but we are thrilled with the Committee’s findings. The findings simply reinforce what we knew all along—Michael did nothing wrong. Michael is a man of unwavering integrity and is someone any college program or organization would be fortunate to have as a member.” said Champion, a former Indianapolis prosecutor and current partner at Bingham McHale.

“I am glad this ordeal is over,” Rooney said. “The Committee’s clear statement that I committed no infractions provides some comfort. Sadly though, this investigation has taken an unnecessary toll on me and my family. I am grateful for the incredible work and support of my Bingham McHale legal team.” Rooney is looking forward to future endeavors in the collegiate sports industry.

Rooney / Bingham McHale LLP Team
Michael Rooney played baseball at the University of Notre Dame and was brought on as an assistant coach to his former Notre Dame Head Coach, Pat Murphy, at ASU. Rooney served in this capacity for six years. In this role, Rooney was heavily involved in the recruiting process and became intimately familiar with the nature and length of recruiting and non-recruiting phone calls to prospective student-athletes. In 2007, Rooney began serving as the color analyst for Fox Sports Network Arizona television broadcasts, and in June 2008, he became a full-time color commentator for all ASU baseball radio broadcasts. He also hosted the Pat Murphy radio show on The Fan 1060 AM.

Joe Champion, a former prosecuting attorney, provides transactional and regulatory advice to municipalities and highly-regulated businesses. Prior to private practice, Champion tried hundreds of cases from robbery to capital murder. Currently, he limits his law practice to providing municipal economic development, gaming and legislative affairs assistance to those entities. Champion has negotiated contracts, development agreements, transactions, acquisitions and economic development projects worth billions of dollars. Additionally, he is a key member of Bingham EST — Bingham McHale LLP’s own entertainment and sports group. In that role, he works with athletes, coaches and professional entertainers on contractual matters, sponsorship opportunities, overall brand management as well as matters involving the NCAA.

Casey Kannenberg practices in the areas of business litigation, entertainment and sports talent, white collar criminal defense, attorney discipline and administrative law. He earned his undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and his law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law. While in law school, Kannenberg served as Editor-in-Chief of the “Journal of Corporation Law.” Kannenberg is currently the District 6 representative for the Indiana State Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section, as well as the Indiana State Coordinator for the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division.

James Bell practices in the areas of criminal defense and attorneys discipline defense. James has served as Vice President of the Indianapolis Bar Association and was the 2009 Chair of the Indianapolis Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section. Bell was also a two-term Chairman of the Criminal Justice Section of the Indiana State Bar Association. As a Marion County Public Defender, he represented clients in numerous jury and bench trials.

Bingham McHale LLP is a multi-disciplinary business law firm serving regional, national and international clients with offices in Indianapolis, Jasper and Vincennes, Indiana. Bingham McHale LLP attorneys were ranked first tier in Indianapolis in nine categories by The Best Lawyers in America 2010.

 

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