The Raiders’ Antonio Pierce will not be part of the resolution negotiated between Arizona State and the NCAA as the case nears its conclusion.



Las Vegas Raiders coach Antonio Pierce will not be part of the resolution negotiated between the NCAA and Arizona State related to the nearly three-year-old case that is nearing a conclusion, sources said at CBS Sports.

Pierce is not necessarily exonerated in this case. He is not required to have an in-person interview with NCAA investigators looking into alleged major recruiting violations at the school, but sources told CBS Sports that Pierce will submit a written statement to the NCAA. Once the statement is reviewed and compared to the NCAA’s findings, Pierce could then be penalized. Pierce’s cooperation with the NCAA is unnecessary because he no longer plays college athletics.

Sources previously told CBS Sports that the negotiated resolution, which is expected to be made official in the near future, contains a show cause penalty for former Sun Devils head coach Herm Edwards. Pierce, considered a central figure in the recruiting scandal, could receive a similar sanction.

A show cause penalty means a school could be subject to sanctions if it hires a coach during the duration of that sanction. However, neither Pierce nor Edwards are expected to return to college football anytime soon.

This is essentially the NCAA’s scarlet letter to prevent accused coaches from getting jobs. Sanctions for show cause were recently strengthened at the NCAA’s annual convention in January.

CBS Sports reported in February that Arizona State would have to accept major violations as part of the negotiated resolution process. The case began when ASU staff allegedly entertained recruits on campus during the COVID-19 dead period, which was a violation of NCAA rules. Further postseason sanctions are not expected after the school self-imposed a one-year bowl ban in August 2023 in an effort to mitigate future sanctions.

A negotiated resolution occurs when schools, individuals involved and NCAA law enforcement agree on the “violation, level, classification and sanctions,” according to the association. The process uses fewer resources and speeds up files. All final sanctions are approved by the NCAA Infractions Committee.

Pierce, a former Arizona linebacker, was a valued assistant at ASU from 2018 to 2021. He was elevated to defensive coordinator in 2020 and resigned before the 2022 season.

The alleged violations came to light in 2021 when an information package was sent to Arizona State and NCAA Compliance. Edwards reportedly met with several prospects, including some in 2020, at an off-campus rented house in the upscale Paradise Valley neighborhood.

It’s unclear whether any sanctions would follow Pierce to the NFL.

Edwards, returning to his former job as an NFL analyst at ESPN, could also be disciplined under the NCAA’s head coach liability regulations. Although the rule was strengthened on Jan. 1, 2023, Edwards would be subject to the previous language, which existed at the start of ASU’s investigation, stating that coaches are “presumed responsible” for the actions of their staff.

Pierce was among five aides who resigned or were fired after the allegations surfaced. Other Arizona State aides have reportedly cooperated with the NCAA in hopes of lessening sanctions.

The Arizona State case is believed to be “bifurcated” – a newly adopted method where a resolution can be reached with individuals and/or schools as part of a larger case.

The Air Force, Tennessee and Memphis have recently seen cases resolved by bifurcation. Arizona State self-imposed a postseason ban while former assistant coaches were still subject to traditional investigation.

Michigan and former coach Jim Harbaugh were seemingly on a divided path when they agreed to what was described as an “interim resolution” that resulted in a four-game suspension for Harbaugh to start the 2023 season. he ongoing case, Harbaugh allegedly lied to NCAA investigators about Level II violations regarding recruiting visits during the pandemic.

Michigan is also under investigation for possible wrongdoing in the notorious sign-stealing case.



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