Attorney Tom Mars, who emerged in recent years as a powerful force in college athletics, will become an investigator with the NCAA's new Complex Case Unit, multiple sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Complex Case Unit, which is scheduled to come into being next month, was a recommended reform by the Condoleezza Rice-led Commission on College Basketball last year. The group is expected to be comprised of a combination of external investigators and members of the NCAA enforcement staff that is tasked to handle the more complicated and large-scale investigations of potential NCAA rules violations. The CCU's first cases could well be related to the investigation of corruption in college basketball, which started with a federal probe and has since transitioned into an NCAA undertaking.
Both Mars and an NCAA spokesperson declined comment to Yahoo Sports on Thursday night.
Mars came to prominence in the college sports world in 2017 when he sued the University of Mississippi on behalf of former Rebels football coach Houston Nutt, alleging breach of contract. That suit ultimately led to the downfall of Nutt's successor at Ole Miss, Hugh Freeze, and showed the investigative prowess of Mars.
Thereafter, Mars continued to spread his influence in college football by taking up the cause of immediate-eligibility waivers for high-profile transfers like quarterbacks Shea Patterson (who went from Ole Miss to Michigan) and Justin Fields (who went from Georgia to Ohio State). Six former Rebels enlisted Mars to make their transfer waiver requests and gained immediate eligibility to play last season.
Recently, however, Mars told reporters that he was getting out of the waiver appeal business. Now we know why.
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