NCAA Releases External Findings on Botched Miami Investigation

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2013

An external review of the NCAA following its investigation into the University of Miami case revealed the association didn't violate any specific laws or bylaws, but overreached its investigative powers and illustrated a lack of oversight, according to a report on the official NCAA site

UPDATE: Monday, Feb. 18, at 6:33 p.m. EST by Tim Keeney

University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala has released a statement responding to the NCAA's report:

The University takes full responsibility for the conduct of its employees and student-athletes. Where the evidence of NCAA violations has been substantiated, we have self-imposed appropriate sanctions, including unilaterally eliminating once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for our students and coaches over the past two years, and disciplining and withholding players from competition.

You can read the statement in its entirety by clicking on the link above. 

---End of Update---

NCAA president Mark Emmert released a statement as a part of the finding in which he acknowledged the mistakes and vowed to make improvements moving forward.

With the completion of the external enforcement review, we recognize that certain investigative tactics used in portions of the University of Miami case failed our membership. As I stated before, we are committed to making the necessary improvements to our enforcement processes and ensuring our actions are consistent with our own values and member expectations.

Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports passed along a comment from Emmert, in simpler terms.

Mark Emmert: "It's an embarassment to the association and our staff."

— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanCBS) February 18, 2013

The report points to several mistakes during the Miami investigation, including circumventing legal advice and violating internal policies. A lack of oversight from leadership was also listed as a contributing factor to the situation.

It does go on to state that the proper decisions were made on how to proceed once the errors, such as engaging Nevin Shapiro’s criminal defense attorney, were recognized. The NCAA will continue the Miami case based on information that wasn't received improperly.

Kenneth Wainstein, who is from the law firm (Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP) that had access to conduct the NCAA review, also provided comments about the findings in the final report. He said it shows the downfall of using "questionable tactics."

This report is an important first step in responding to the issue at hand. For an organization with an oversight function like the NCAA, its credibility and reputation for fair-dealing are always more important than its ability to prove the allegations in any particular case. This episode is a reminder of the problems that arise when investigators resort to expedient but questionable tactics.

The NCAA states the review will continue beyond what this report provided. It will talk to other schools that went through the enforcement process to develop a more concise role for the association when it comes to future situations.

Additionally, Pat Forde and Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports reported just prior to the release of the external review that the NCAA fired Julie Roe Lach, its vice president of enforcement, for her role in the Miami case.

The NCAA did not provide a time frame for the remaining portion of its review, simply stating it would discuss with its membership the "desired outcome of regulation and to what level the membership wants to be held accountable."