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NCAA Announces Improper Conduct During Investigation of Miami Scandal

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2013

On Monday, rumors swirled that the NCAA was about to issue notices of allegations to several ex-University of Miami assistant coaches, including Missouri head basketball coach Frank Haith and Louisville defensive line coach Clint Hurtt.

As of Wednesday, Jan. 23, the NCAA will not be moving forward with the notices until an internal investigation is conducted.

 

UPDATE: Wednesday, Jan. 23, at 2:40 p.m. ET by Timothy Rapp

University of Miami president Donna Shalala released the following statement after the NCAA's announcement (via Andrea Adelson of ESPN):

Since the University first alerted the NCAA to the possibility of violations more than two years ago, we have been cooperative and compliant with the NCAA and, I believe, a model for how institutions should partner with NCAA staff during investigations. In addition to encouraging current and former staff members and student-athletes to cooperate with investigators, we have provided thousands of documents to the enforcement staff.

I am frustrated, disappointed and concerned by President (Mark) Emmert's announcement today that the integrity of the investigation may have been compromised by the NCAA staff.

As we have done since the beginning, we will continue to work with the NCAA and now with their outside investigator hoping for a swift resolution of the investigation and our case.

---End of update---

 

The following comes from NCAA.org:

The NCAA national office has uncovered an issue of improper conduct within its enforcement program that occurred during the University of Miami investigation. Former NCAA enforcement staff members worked with the criminal defense attorney for Nevin Shapiro to improperly obtain information for the purposes of the NCAA investigation through a bankruptcy proceeding that did not involve the NCAA.

As it does not have subpoena power, the NCAA does not have the authority to compel testimony through procedures outside of its enforcement program. Through bankruptcy proceedings, enforcement staff gained information for the investigation that would not have been accessible otherwise.

In that article, NCAA president Mark Emmert notes that Kenneth L. Wainstein will conduct an investigation of the enforcement program and that the Miami investigation will be put on hold.

It looks like the NCAA's case against the Miami assistants could fall apart. At a procedural level, the initial investigation sounds as though it violated several NCAA rules.

Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated shared the following:

Emmert: Investigators worked with Shapiro's lawyer to "improperly subpoena and depose witnesses" in bankruptcy case. Wow.

— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) January 23, 2013

Mandel also added this:

It gets worse. The NCAA actually had the Shapiro attorney on its payroll. "This is obviously a shocking affair, said Emmert.

— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) January 23, 2013

According to Bruce Feldman of CBS, the coaches in question were being investigated for the following:

The coaches are expected to be cited for "unethical conduct," better known in NCAA circles as a violation of Bylaw 10.1, said the source. Among the charges the NCAA will allege against the former UM football assistants are impermissible transportation, impermissible lodging as well as impermissible benefits, the source said.

For now, those charges will be held in limbo.

In other words, if you were hoping this situation would be quickly resolved, think again. Before the NCAA continues its investigation into Miami, it will have to complete its internal investigation of the investigation done in the first place.

For now, Haith, Hurtt and any other coaches in question are off the hook. Now might be a time to do what any smart college coach does when facing sanctions: find a job in the pros.

 

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