The men and women of the NCAA enforcement staff prefer to work in secret.
They almost never speak publicly about tips they receive or evidence they gather against cheaters in big-time college sports. Rarely will they acknowledge the existence of an investigation.
Now several recent incidents — all in Southern California — have dragged them into the spotlight, raising questions about how they police athletes and coaches on campuses nationwide.
In one of the cases, at UCLA, the lead investigator has been accused of prejudging UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad before all of the facts were gathered.
Across town, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge in a defamation suit has portrayed other NCAA officials as potentially malicious for the way they dealt with a USC assistant coach linked to the Reggie Bush sanctions.
Things could get worse. The judge could unseal files from that lawsuit, providing greater insight into this powerful, quasi-judicial organization.