An order to show cause
is a type of court order
that requires one or more of the parties to a case to justify, explain, or prove something to the court
. Courts commonly use orders to show cause when the judge
needs more information before deciding whether or not to issue an order requested by one of the parties. For example, if a party requests that the court find another party in contempt of an existing court order, the judge will typically issue an "Order to Show Cause Re Contempt" to the party accused of being in contempt of court
. At the hearing
on the order to show cause concerning contempt the judge will take evidence
from both sides concerning the alleged failure to comply with the court order. Appellate
courts often issue orders to show cause to lower courts requesting that the lower court explain why the appellant
should not be granted the relief requested by the writ
. An order to show cause is always an interim order because it is never the first nor the final action in a legal action.
American college sports
The term is also used by the NCAA
to describe a rules violation
where a coach, athletic director
is effectively blackballed
from being employed at any NCAA member school. This penalty is usually reserved for particularly serious violations of NCAA rules.
Although a school can theoretically hire someone with a show cause on their record during the time the show cause order is in effect, it could only do so with permission from the NCAA Infractions Committee. The school assumes the risks and taint of hiring such a person. It may then end up being sanctioned by the NCAA and the Infractions Committee for their choice, possibly losing athletic scholarships, revenue from schools who would not want to compete with that other school, and the ability for their games to be televised, along with restrictions on recruitment and practicing times. As a result, most schools will not even consider hiring a coach or athletic director with an active show cause order on his record.
Currently, Dave Bliss, former basketball coach at Baylor University, has the longest show cause order. As a result of his involvement in serious rules violations, Bliss is effectively banned from coaching at the major college level until the 2015-16 season.