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Miami NOA delayed as NCAA investigates itself

Mark Emmert AP

No, seriously.  This is actually happening.

Two weekends ago, a report surfaced that the NCAA would be issuing a Notice of Allegations to the Miami Hurricanes in connection to  improper benefits involving both the football and basketball programs.  That issuance was expected as early as a week ago Monday; since that report, there’s been nothing but crickets chirping as far as the ear could hear.

Today, we now know why the Notice of Allegations has been delayed, and the reasons behind the delay paint the NCAA in an even more negative light than it already has been over the past few years.

In a press release, the NCAA announced that its “national office has uncovered an issue of improper conduct within its enforcement program that occurred during the University of Miami investigation.”  In other words, the NCAA violated NCAA bylaws in its investigation of an NCAA member.  The genesis for the improper conduct seems to stem almost solely from documents obtained by the NCAA from bankruptcy proceedings involving Nevin Shapiro, the former UM booster who allegedly lavished millions of dollars in impermissible benefits on Hurricane football (mainly) and basketball players.

From the release:

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.

As a result of misconduct on the part of his enforcement staff — conduct that he says “angered and saddened” him — president Mark Emmert confirmed that the NCAA “will not move forward with a Notice of Allegations against Miami until all the facts surrounding this issue are known.”

An external review of the NCAA’s enforcement program has been commissioned by Emmert.  Kenneth L. Wainstein, a partner with the law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, has been retained by the NCAA and will be charged with conducting “a thorough investigation into the current issue as well as the overall enforcement environment, to ensure operation of the program is consistent with the essential principles of integrity and accountability.”

Emmert hopes that the review will be completed in a period of 7-10 days.

“Trust and credibility are essential to our regulatory tasks,” said Emmert.  “My intent is to ensure our investigatory functions operate with integrity and are fair and consistent with our member schools, athletics staff and most importantly our student-athletes.”

Regardless of how long this external review takes, it’s yet another delay in an investigation that’s more than two years in the making.

Shapiro first came to the NCAA’s attention in August of 2010, with reports surfacing that the convicted felon was writing a tell-all book in which he was alleging former Hurricane players had committed major NCAA violations.  In August of the next year, the NCAA’s investigation became public knowledge; a Yahoo! Sports report that same month had Shapiro claiming he spent “millions of dollars” on six dozen UM student-athletes, with the benefits ranging from “cash, prostitutes, entertainment in [Shapiro’s] multimillion-dollar homes and yacht, paid trips to high-end restaurants and nightclubs, jewelry, bounties for on-field play (including bounties for injuring opposing players), travel and on one occasion, an abortion.”

In February of 2012, Shapiro, apparently agitated that nearly four dozen individuals connected to The U were lined up to testify against him in his federal trial, promised to take “that program down to Chinatown” and that the Miami story will become “an urban legend” before it’s all said and done.

Shapiro was ultimately sentenced to 20 years in prison for orchestrating what was in the neighborhood of a $1 billion Ponzi scheme.  The damage outside the courtroom, though, had already been done.

Miami has already self-imposed a bowl ban each of the past two seasons in an attempt to soften potential NCAA sanctions, although it was holding off on self-imposing scholarship reductions and other punitive measures for the time being.  How this latest revelation by the NCAA will affect a Notice of Allegations — if there even is one — remains to be seen.

Per the NCAA, a NOA is sent to notify a member institution that enough evidence exists that major violations have occurred and that The Association is moving forward in the process.  Some have asked whether misconduct on the part of the investigative staff will result in some sort of a “mistrial” for Miami’s case.

“It’s premature to answer that question,” Emmert said on a conference call Wednesday, adding, “this is a shocking affair.”

If/when Miami receives its NOA from the NCAA — Emmert said during the conference call that information obtained surreptitiously was a very small part of the case and would be “thrown out” — they will have 90 days to respond.  Following that response, UM will appear in front of the Committee on Infractions to answer the allegations.  Typically 6-8 weeks thereafter, the NCAA will issue its findings and any sanctions will be revealed.

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32 Responses to “Miami NOA delayed as NCAA investigates itself”
  1. YouMadCauseImStylingOnYou says: Jan 23, 2013 2:36 PM

    How can you even move forward at this point?

    Everyone knew this was a witch hunt from the beginning. Love watching the NCAA crumble.

    Miami should sue the pants off the NCAA for the last two years of lost seasons.

  2. collegefan1984 says: Jan 23, 2013 2:48 PM

    Calling Penn St….. SUE THE PANTS OFF OF THE NCAA ASAP!!!! Obviously they can’t do anything right.

  3. crazycane says: Jan 23, 2013 2:49 PM

    WE SKATE!!!

  4. overratedgators says: Jan 23, 2013 2:51 PM

    And here come the PSU child molestation cover-up apologists…

  5. raiderufan says: Jan 23, 2013 2:51 PM

    If the outcome of this investigation results in anything more than a scholly reduction over the next few years the NCAA will have a lot of explaining to do.

    The school has skipped bowls the last 2 years AND took itself out of the conference championship game….on top of suspending every single player that was still on the team and even slightly involved in the scandal.

    Now I’m not saying the NCAA was on a witch hunt but they sure treated part of it like it was and like somebody busted for drunk driving you can say it was the first time you’ve done it but we all know the truth.

  6. clod jeer-roo says: Jan 23, 2013 3:40 PM

    ‘Freeh’ Miami !!

  7. necr0philia says: Jan 23, 2013 3:42 PM

    35miles wants answers now… He has been part of the witch hunt since the beginning.

  8. WingT says: Jan 23, 2013 3:47 PM

    Everyone involved at the NCAA in these unethical practices should immediately be fired from their job – starting with president Mark Emmert.

  9. uziele says: Jan 23, 2013 4:05 PM

    So basically the NCAA just admitted they can’t use information obtained in non-NCAA legal matters as the basis for their investigative/sanctioning process. How is this NOT what they did at Penn State by using the Freeh report as the sole basis of their findings?

    Somewhere I imagine Governor Corbett on behalf of the people of PA and Senator Jake Corman are thanking the NCAA for setting precedence that using legal proceedings as the basis of their investigation and sanctions is outside of the scope of the NCAA’s purview.

  10. drarb says: Jan 23, 2013 4:39 PM

    I would guess that soon the ncaa will disappear – not being able to follow their own bylaws seems to be a problem –
    I can hear Tom Corbett saying thank God the ncaa really is that stupid. I can hear the Big 10 saying damn the ncaa is really that inept.
    Emmert talks about a football culture and he can’t keep the ncaa culture clean – how can he be trusted to do anything, other than perhaps resign in disgrace? But can he follow the bylaws in doing so?

  11. atxcane says: Jan 23, 2013 4:40 PM

    uziele —

    I may be missing something, so correct me if I’m wrong here. I thought the uniqueness of PSU’s case was that all interested parties agreed that a formal NCAA investigation would be long, expensive, and damage PSU’s reputation badly enough that they’d skip the investigation, and instead go directly to sanctions based on the findings of the Freeh report.

    I thought reliance on the Freeh report was an outcome *specifically arranged* by PSU?

  12. yyyass says: Jan 23, 2013 5:01 PM

    Unbelievable – just when you think their linemen are just big fat guys, you find out one of them was pregnant.

  13. southbeachtalent says: Jan 23, 2013 5:02 PM

    How does the cover up those sick bastards in PSU orchestrated (from President on down) even begin to come to light hear? Do not see the relation.

    What the U did is done in 99.9999% of schools with football programs. And apparently most of the information obtained by the NCAA was done illegally. PSU agreed to the allegations on the Freeh report, meaning that rabbit hole probably went on for miles so they decided to cut their losses.

  14. uziele says: Jan 23, 2013 5:09 PM

    Atxcane –

    It’s possible I suppose. However it always seemed to me that it was more a case of Penn State being told “Sign this or else.” I never got the sense that this was something that Penn State ever did to avoid an in depth investigation but rather something to which they were held over the barrel.

    In light of the McNair/USC v. NCAA lawsuit which shows evidence of the NCAA and it’s board making threats, and now this precedence where the NCAA is admitting it was wrong for them to use legal proceedings outside of NCAA purview to investigate/sanction a school, that the case(s) against the NCAA as a corrupt governing body are mounting.

    At this point I begin to assume that actual courts are very much going to want to get their hands on the NCAA which has been making money hand over fist but maintains it’s tax exempt status as it’s collecting fines and punishing state held institutions.

  15. uziele says: Jan 23, 2013 5:13 PM

    And no, using the Freeh report as the basis of sanctions was never something that was prearranged by Penn State. The BOT requested the Freeh Report as a method of internal review to look at policies and procedural matters to identify and correct shortcomings.

    Mr. Freeh did not speak to anyone named in any of the legal proceedings because they were and are ongoing, but rather filled in the blanks with his own narrative and experience. It is, ultimately, his opinion of what happened and is factually inadmissible in court because it is a ton of hearsay.

    The NCAA however took it and ran with it.

  16. mogogo1 says: Jan 23, 2013 5:37 PM

    “Through bankruptcy proceedings, enforcement staff gained information for the investigation that would not have been accessible otherwise.”

    This part is confusing… Shapiro threatened to take down Miami. Wouldn’t he have been able to provide the information directly since it was his bankruptcy? The article even says that investigators worked with his lawyers to get that info and his lawyers wouldn’t be privy to anything that he couldn’t access. Is the claim that the NCAA forced him to provide the info in some way?

  17. hardinjw says: Jan 23, 2013 5:37 PM

    What a tired, pathetic joke the NCAA has become. It’s time to pull the plug on these bumbling incompetents and let them go the way of the Keystone Kops.

  18. olskool711 says: Jan 23, 2013 5:42 PM

    For years the NCAA was allowed to just make up things and didn’t require any evidence whatsoever in destroying people’s lives and communities sports programs. (ie google Jerry Tarkanian and UNLV)

    The NCAA has long acted as a diabolical, fascist, enforcement agency. “Truth, truth, you can’t handle the truth.”

    It’s an ironic coincidence that someone with a documented background of irrational bureaucracy like Donna Shalala would now find herself dealing with a situation that goes directly in line with the way her people have always done things.

    If the NCAA is consistent, they will end up taking scholarships away, reducing practices, and having the Athletic Director at Boise State fired for students spending too much time sitting in the food court at the local Burger King.

  19. florida727 says: Jan 23, 2013 5:53 PM

    I think the NCAA should give itself the “death penalty”. Hey, what’s fair, is fair!

  20. atxcane says: Jan 23, 2013 6:00 PM

    uziele —

    Maybe PSU was ‘coerced’ into the agreement. I could see both sides of the coin: the NCAA coercing PSU into the agreement b/c the NCAA really having no idea how to approach it (really unprecedented — the NCAA hasn’t had to investigate *criminal* matters of this magnitude).

    I could also see PSU pushing for the agreement, for as Miami will attest: an interminable (2+ year) investigation kneecaps a program.

    My impression of the NCAA right now is they just lash out hitting easy targets, to assert *some* form of dominance.

  21. frug says: Jan 23, 2013 6:17 PM

    Interesting I didn’t know the NCAA had rules of evidence. (And I’m not being sarcastic, I just assumed that since the NCAA wasn’t a court of law it could use whatever evidence it wanted regardless of how it was obtained)

  22. atxcane says: Jan 23, 2013 6:34 PM

    I have to say, even abstractly removing myself from the situation as a Miami fan, is this not comical? I knew things would be a bit of a circus considering the person who levied the allegations, but seriously NCAA, *this* is how you handled it???

    The university bent over backwards to provide the NCAA with anything they needed; yet we still saw:
    1) A 2+ year investigation
    2) Miami disqualifying DeQuan Jones, who is then reinstated by the NCAA b/c no evidence exists for the allegation.
    3) NCAA lawyers threatening former players
    4) NCAA lawyers attempting to ban former players from a location (Miami campus)
    5) NOA coming Jan 1st — whoops just kidding!
    6) NOA coming Jan 15th — whoops just kidding!
    7) Okay, seriously NOA coming this week
    8) Hold up on that NOA, we [the NCAA] have to investigate ourselves first.

    /facepalm

  23. atxcane says: Jan 23, 2013 6:36 PM

    Dammit. That smiley face was supposed to be an “8” followed by “)”

  24. charger383 says: Jan 23, 2013 6:47 PM

    Loss of institutional control by the NCAA

  25. sailbum7 says: Jan 23, 2013 6:56 PM

    The entire NCAA disciplinary process is flawed beyond repair. It is allowed to use inuendo, hearsay, supposition, and inferences as if they were proven facts in order to justify their actions. What was done in the case of Penn State was criminal and never should have been allowed. There was never any connection shown between the operation of the football program and Sandusky’s actons. In fact, the actions that landed Sandusky in prison occurred after he had already retired as a coach. To penalize the football program and the current players for things that had no direct relation to the program and that occurred years before these players even set foot on a football field is just wrong. To penalize a football program for the actions of a former member that had nothing to do with his role as a Penn State coach is just wrong. The sanctions leveled on Penn State were done for political purposes that were completely unrelated to anything the football program had done wrong. What is next, is the NCAA going to start sanctioning schools if one of the coaches get a DUI or is arrested for something that has nothing to do with their coaching duties. It is time for the NCAA disciplinary process to be scrapped and replaced with something that follows more closely our judicial process where things need to be proven beyond reasonable doubt before sanctions can be leveled.

  26. fuzzebear says: Jan 23, 2013 6:59 PM

    I don’t understand what the NCAA did wrong.All bankruptcy records are open to the public meaning everyone has access. Information like a social security number bay be blocked out but most, if not all other info is open to the public.

    Unless the NCAA has written in thier bylaws they themselves cannot use bankruptcy records in an investigation ad they broke that bylaw I just don’t understand the problem.

  27. bigmatt1982 says: Jan 23, 2013 8:15 PM

    Good thing bill Obrein didn’t leave penn state since
    They will be playing in a bowl next year! Insert lion roar sound effect.

  28. gotdebttoo says: Jan 23, 2013 9:22 PM

    Huh? I don’t see any issue with this. There must be something more there. Everything in a bankruptcy proceeding is public record and available fro anyone to view (unless sealed). Why wouldn’t this be permissible.

  29. scorpwood says: Jan 23, 2013 10:46 PM

    The NCAA hired Shapiro’s attorney to ask their questions to the Miami players during the bankruptcy interviews. Whoops!

  30. chachooga says: Jan 23, 2013 11:03 PM

    @JohnTaylor

    I think it is fair that when you mention self imposed sactions, you note that UM not only gave up two bowl games, but they gave up their spot in the ACC championship game this year.

    that is a big deal.

    thanks

  31. txnative61 says: Jan 24, 2013 12:59 AM

    I’m just a disinterested party trying to sort this thing out. OK, Shapirio, later convicted of felony fraud for running $1 Billion Ponzi scheme vows revenge on U Miami people lined up to testify against him. During bankruptcy proceedings he has attorney give extremely damaging but uncorroborated information on Miami to NCAA investigator. NCAA uses information to coerce Miami people “witch hunt” style into accusing each other and making “confessions” to salvage their own careers and remaining reputation. NCAA determines Shapiro motivated by malice and likely embellished many of the accusations, so the only usable evidence are the coerced accusations and confessions. Miami has already imposed self-sanctions, so NCAA needs to sort out enough plausible evidence of some kind to intimidate Miami into not suing them. What am I missing?

  32. mancave001 says: Jan 24, 2013 7:17 AM

    Certainly not an apologist for what happened at PSU, but this does show that the NCAA is completely without credibility or moral authority. I’m all for people going to jail in these cases (especially PSU), but the NCAA’s “enforcement” operation and subsequent PSU punishments are a joke.

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