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Report: NCAA VP approved payment to Shapiro’s attorney

MIAMI NCAA VIOLATIONS AP

Uh, whoops?

Late last month, the NCAA announced that it would have to, in so many words, investigate itself after it “uncovered an issue of improper conduct within its enforcement program that occurred during the University of Miami investigation.” The NCAA has been looking into Miami’s athletics program for over two years thanks to allegations of improper benefits ranging in the millions of dollars provided by former booster Nevin Shapiro (pictured) to dozens of football and basketball players.

Reports from the Associated Press and CanesInsider.com stated earlier in January that the NCAA was on the verge of issuing UM with a Notice of Allegations. However, that has since been delayed as the Association and president Mark Emmert “will not move forward with a Notice of Allegations against Miami until all the facts surrounding this issue are known.”

One of those facts has just reportedly come to light. Dennis Dodd of CBSSports reports that NCAA vice president of enforcement, Julie Roe Lach, approved a payment to Shapiro’s attorney, Maria Elena Perez, in order to obtain information in the UM investigation. The report states that Lach “discussed and approved the disbursement of at least $20,000″ in budgeting to Perez for legal fees and expenses in October and November, 2011. Per the report, Perez was paid to depose two people connected to Shapiro in a bankruptcy proceeding in Dec., 2011.

Here is a portion of the NCAA’s original press release on the improper conduct:

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.

Lach did not directly respond to messages sent by CBS, and the NCAA refused to comment further.

If true, this would further damage the reputation of the NCAA and their investigation of Miami, and could potentially result in legal ramifications of its own. The program has already self-imposed two bowl bans in an effort to lessen the blow of possible NCAA sanctions. However, it has not self-imposed other punitive measures, such as scholarship reductions.

Shapiro is currently serving a 20-year sentence for orchestrating a roughly $1 billion Ponzi scheme.

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43 Responses to “Report: NCAA VP approved payment to Shapiro’s attorney”
  1. be4bama says: Feb 5, 2013 7:43 PM

    So, what do y’all think about this?

  2. kattykathy says: Feb 5, 2013 7:51 PM

    Nobody really cares. Much like nobody really cares about Bama, or the simpletons that are Bama “fans”

  3. mgmac says: Feb 5, 2013 7:58 PM

    julie roe lach is unethical. paying money for information. she’s as low as shapiro and all the other cheats

  4. soflosportsfan says: Feb 5, 2013 8:03 PM

    The NCAA better end this bs before Miami sues them. For 2+ years the NCAA has tried to gather anything, in anyway possible so they can crush UM. For christ sakes end it already. It took them 1 week to investigate Cam Newton which everyone knows he was guilty and they let him get away with it.

  5. chachooga says: Feb 5, 2013 8:10 PM

    Even in good news for the Canes….Benny K you misrepresent.

    Shapiro is not accused of giving benefits “ranging in the millions of dollars”. The Hollywood of this is insane.

    Sleep on a couch in Boise….$25. Sleep on a couch in Miami $2,500 value. Get a ride in Boise…$30, Go out on a boat in Miami $30,000.

    This is ridiculous. All of it. And the drool was so apparent for the demise of the U, that the freakin NCAA paid the “accuser felon’s” attorney to use a bankruptcy court hearing for said felon to force people to testify under oath in a court of law asking questions about UM dictated directly from the NCAA offices.

    That is INSANE…..INSANE!!!!! What is worse giving college athletes boat rides, or abusing the justice system to illegally get information under oath.

    INSANE Benny K…INSANE!!!!

  6. chachooga says: Feb 5, 2013 8:12 PM

    And Benny K, instead of poo pooing UMs self imposed sanctions you should get it right.

    They skipped two bowl games and THE ACC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME!!!!

    That is worth five bowl games….goodness man….INSANE!!!!

  7. necr0philia says: Feb 5, 2013 8:33 PM

    NCAA needs the DEATH PENALTY!!!

  8. dhlions says: Feb 5, 2013 8:36 PM

    Later NCAA.

  9. frug says: Feb 5, 2013 9:03 PM

    This may be unpopular, but unless the NCAA has rules of evidence I am unaware of, I fail to see what the investigators did wrong. As long as Shapiro knew the NCAA was using his lawyer this way (and it appears he did) then they didn’t violate anyone’s rights.

  10. canetic says: Feb 5, 2013 9:15 PM

    And that’s the end of that chapter. Case closed. Miami has paid the piper enough. Better luck next time.

  11. tttrojan4life says: Feb 5, 2013 9:25 PM

    Thug U. needs to be shut down. The players can return to prison, the alumni can go back to gangbanging and all ends well.

  12. digit960 says: Feb 5, 2013 9:50 PM

    Trojan you are just upset that Paul Dee gave you straight bukkake

  13. WingT says: Feb 5, 2013 10:05 PM

    @Frug,
    I don’t think it’s a question of rights being violated, but to me, it is a question of unethical behavior on the part of the NCAA. They (NCAA) are all about policing unethical practices of coaches and universities and to me, this makes their actions in regards to Miami totally unacceptable – they should be harshly punished for this – they are suppose to set an example.

    It makes we wonder what other unethical practices they may have been involved in over the years – OSU? USC?

  14. atxcane says: Feb 5, 2013 10:18 PM

    Heh, the NCAA is bumbling around with their pants down.

    Miami wants to close this thing out. The NCAA doesn’t want to give in to Miami b/c other schools (USC etc.) will cry foul.

    If the NCAA doesn’t give in, Miami sues. And discovery is a btch.

    I’m sure USC is pushing hard for a lawsuit so ALL the skeletons come out of the closet.

  15. frug says: Feb 5, 2013 10:48 PM

    @WingT

    That’s my point though; what was unethical about what they did? They didn’t break any laws or (to my knowledge) their own bylaws, they just pursued a vigorous investigation. Was this a “normal” approach? No it wasn’t, but that doesn’t mean it was wrong. All the questions Shapiro’s attorney asked were relevant for a bankruptcy filing.

  16. WingT says: Feb 5, 2013 10:55 PM

    @Frug
    I see your point but why did the NCAA start an investigation on this if it wasn’t unethical?

  17. WingT says: Feb 5, 2013 11:01 PM

    Frug – the NCAA states;

    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.

  18. frug says: Feb 5, 2013 11:02 PM

    @WingT

    That’s what makes me wonder if their isn’t something else going on here that hasn’t been revealed. Especially since it has been public knowledge for months that the NCAA used the bankruptcy depositions to gather evidence (though the fact that Shapiro’s attorney was on their payroll is new).

  19. WingT says: Feb 5, 2013 11:06 PM

    @Frug
    I agree with you – this thing smells bad. Probably some damn good attorneys for Miami uncovered how the NCAA obtained their eventide and a whole big bunch of lawyering up has commenced..

  20. WingT says: Feb 5, 2013 11:06 PM

    evidence

  21. kozbee says: Feb 5, 2013 11:08 PM

    NCAA sure stepped in #2 on this one.I think somebody gets sued over this before its over.

  22. atxcane says: Feb 5, 2013 11:24 PM

    Frug/WingT:

    The problem arises because the NCAA paid Perez to depose witnesses (under oath) in the bankruptcy trial for issues relating to the NCAA. According to someone who was deposed in the bankruptcy trial, Perez initially questioned them about Shapiro and where money went (things applicable to the bankruptcy trial), then questioned them about NCAA violations (not applicable to a bankruptcy trial).

    This is wrong 2-fold:
    1) The NCAA does not have the authority to compel testimony. They compelled testimony via Perez.
    2) In doing so, the NCAA interfered with a federal bankruptcy trial. They probably won’t get much flack for it, but that’s illegal.

    It’s incredibly stupid for the NCAA, if only for the fact that anyone investigated KNOWS what the NCAA can ask and how they can get their information. If information pops up that was *not* provided to the NCAA but *was* mentioned in a bankruptcy trial, it’s fairly obvious what is going on.

    I have to say I’m honestly surprised at how dumb the NCAA behaved. I can’t tell if it was blinding ignorance or arrogance that led them to think they could get away with it.

    I’m leaning towards the latter as more details come out about previous investigations.

  23. frug says: Feb 5, 2013 11:38 PM

    @atxcane

    Issue #1

    I still don’t see why that is an issue. To the best of my knowledge, even though the NCAA can’t issue subpoenas doesn’t mean they can’t use evidence obtained from those who can.

    Unless the NCAA has rules that explicitly prohibited their investigators from using “compelled” testimony I don’t see a problem with this.

    Issue #2

    This is legitimate. The problem is we don’t know exactly what questions were asked. The fact is as long the questions were phrased in such a way that they were even tangentially related to where Shapiro’s money went they would have been fair game in a bankruptcy proceeding.

  24. frug says: Feb 5, 2013 11:40 PM

    Meant to include the word “probably” in the last sentence.

  25. chachooga says: Feb 6, 2013 12:16 AM

    @Frug @atxcane

    Thanks Cane for the clear explanation.

    Frug. The NCAA cannot coerce testimony. Nobody ever ever ever has to talk to the NCAA.

    The NCAA forced the witnesses of a bankruptcy trial that had nothing to do with their investigation to answer questions under oath that had nothing to do with said trial. They gave the lawyer the questions to ask.

    Then they paid the lawyer who asked the questions $20,000 for doing it.

    Dude if you don’t see how horribly illegal and unethical that is….well I guess you have different standards for how governing bodies should behave.

    I think they should obey the law. I think they should follow their own rules. Just saying.

    And it is terribly ironic that a body that is enforcing violation of very specific and detailed rules would behave in such a manner.

    It is almost like they needed to get something….maybe the lights were too bright and they didn’t wanna let it go as just a convicted felon making stuff up from jail about people who didn’t go to bat for him when he needed them.

    They can thank the very shoddy “journalism” at yahoo for that.

  26. frug says: Feb 6, 2013 12:49 AM

    @chachooga

    Dude if you don’t see how horribly illegal and unethical that is….well I guess you have different standards for how governing bodies should behave.

    You can debate the ethics, but I highly doubt they would be dumb enough to do anything illegal. As long as the questions that were asked dealt with where Shapiro’s money went they were relevant for the proceedings.

  27. frug says: Feb 6, 2013 12:52 AM

    Sorry for the double post but

    I think they should follow their own rules.

    I still haven’t heard what “rules” the investigators violated. I’m not saying they didn’t, but nothing that has been publicly revealed (to the best of my knowledge) violates any rules the NCAA has regarding investigations.

  28. mogogo1 says: Feb 6, 2013 1:24 AM

    Boy, does this stink to high heaven. $20K for a couple of depositions? That’s way beyond “covering costs” and straight into “paying for testimony” territory. And didn’t Shapiro WANT to nail Miami? He paid all that money out and couldn’t substantiate any of that on his own to the NCAA? This is way beyond some procedures being broken; it’s sounding like the NCAA was bribing people to produce evidence.

  29. mogogo1 says: Feb 6, 2013 1:47 AM

    @frug
    I respect your questions but you’ve got to understand how bad it looks for the NCAA to be paying exorbitant sums to the attorney of the chief accuser/witness against a member school. That must amount to thousands of dollars an hour for those depositions; way beyond what a bankruptcy attorney would get for that kind of work. Why pay through the nose like that? Where’d that money go? Did Shapiro get part of it directly? Did he get a break on his attorney fees as a direct result? Were the people deposed compensated for their testimony? Those are all fair questions that need to be answered. Maybe nothing improper happened, but it’s easy to see how very improper things COULD happen given those circumstances.

    If they’d just asked the attorney to collect some info during the regular process of the bankruptcy proceedings, then maybe it would have passed the smell test. But the appearance here is they were paying for dirt on Miami. I’ve never much liked Miami but I sure can’t support how this investigation was run.

  30. atxcane says: Feb 6, 2013 12:30 PM

    Frug, the NCAA violated its own rules in compelling the testimony. If the bankruptcy proceedings were public record, the information would be fair play.

    However, the NCAA’s own rules say they cannot ‘force’ testimony on someone. By using Perez as the avenue to ask non-bankruptcy related questions in the bankruptcy hearing, they were ‘forcing’ testimony, in direct violation of their own rules.

    Also, getting involved with Perez is dirty for both Perez and the NCAA. Perez is defending her client in a bankruptcy claw-back case. The bankruptcy trustees are going after any asset Shapiro has. Perez’s goal in this case is to claim that every penny Shapiro bilked from people went to others — and that the bankruptcy trustees should therefore go after THOSE people and not Shapiro. So it’s in HER best interests to manufacture as large a case against Miami as possible.

  31. atxcane says: Feb 6, 2013 12:36 PM

    @frug
    “As long as the questions that were asked dealt with where Shapiro’s money went they were relevant for the proceedings.”

    That’s one of the problems, they weren’t. Perez was asking about pointed *NCAA* violations while the witness was under oath. Stuff like “On March 7th, is it true that Coach X brought Recruit Y over to Shapiro’s house to meet him?”

    It’s akin to your ex-wife being deposed as a witness to a car-accident and you pay off the attorney to ask her if she cheated on you so you could use the information in a custody battle.

  32. chachooga says: Feb 6, 2013 12:57 PM

    @FRUG

    they coherced testimony…they have NCAA bylaws against that.

    They basically highjacked a bankruptcy hearing that is not public record, to force individuals to testify under oath where if they lie it is criminal, they provided the questions to the attorney, then they paid the attorney.

    Oh by the way this is the attorney of their main source of information.

    I have a feeling you are intentionally playing this down.

    wonder why? :) Are you secretly Benny K????

  33. frug says: Feb 6, 2013 4:37 PM

    @atxcane

    “On March 7th, is it true that Coach X brought Recruit Y over to Shapiro’s house to meet him?”

    Even a question like that would be legal so long as the lawyer asserted it was asked in order to determine if anyone money may have changed hands at said meeting.

    That said, I get your overall point and think it is worth considering. Personally, I would love to get a hold of the deposition (not that it will ever happen) to see exactly what was asked because while I doubt they are dumb enough to actually break the law people have certainly done dumber things.

    @chachooga

    So far as I know the NCAA doesn’t have any bylaws prohibiting investigators from coercing testimony; they simply don’t have any bylaws specifically allowing them to do so. It’s a narrow difference, but it’s significant.

    Also, who is Benny K? (I’m not being sarcastic. I honestly don’t know)

  34. chachooga says: Feb 6, 2013 5:00 PM

    @frug

    come on man….i am no lawyer but all I have read speaks of the NCAA violating their own bylaws and regulations….what is your deal here? I would find the specifics, but just knowing their structure as a private organization separate from the justice department, they are set up in a way that does not allow them to coerce testimony. The justice department and our judiciary are the ones who dictate who is forced to testify under oath. Not the NCAA…..make enough sense for you?

    Or go read their bylaws…i would provide a link, but just google it….i did not take the time to read all that.

    Benny K is the author of this among other articles that constantly paint UM in a poor light despite this mess being a Hollywood story being woven by a felon on a 20 year sentence.

    Benny once displayed The U logo upside down on this site….and ever since I will not allow his status as a “hater” of The U slide.

    thought you might be him the way you are meticulously defending the NCAA’s behavior.

    And dude the questions are non legal once this woman becomes an emplyee of the NCAA….do you not get that??? $25,000 for a bankruptcy deposition??? Come on man….it is not legal.

  35. frug says: Feb 6, 2013 5:11 PM

    Ahhh. Ben Kercheval. Didn’t make the connection.

    As for your other point, I don’t know, I guess I am just a stickler for rules and nothing (so far) appears to violate them.

    Yeah, $25,000 is a lot of money, but this was also a $900 million bankruptcy case and while I don’t know the standard fees for bankruptcy cases I know litigators that charge that much for what amounts to depositions. Plus, it’s not like there are laws prohibiting anyone from overpaying their attorneys.

    That said, I do think there is something more that hasn’t been revealed. Based on their statements it feels like NCAA may be using this as a smokescreen to hide something else.

  36. atxcane says: Feb 6, 2013 6:50 PM

    @frug

    Numerous people have pointed out the NCAA *does* have bylaws preventing the coercion of testimony. And I’ve pointed out that the questions were *specifically* asked about NCAA violations — beyond anything that is relevant to the bankruptcy hearing.

    Hell, the NCAA even acknowledges what they did was illegal. Where is the confusion?

    You’re either ‘playing’ ignorant or have selective reading comprehension.

  37. frug says: Feb 6, 2013 8:10 PM

    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.

    Nothing in this statement (or any other as far as I know) says that the NCAA violated any rules or laws. Period.

    If you can find contradictory evidence I am more than happy to change my opinion, but I have looked at no where does the NCAA admit actually violating any laws or procedures.

    (Note the “numerous people” you are referring to are individuals who comment on a blog. None of them has ever looked at the NCAA rules regarding this issue.)

  38. frug says: Feb 6, 2013 8:12 PM

    And I’ve pointed out that the questions were *specifically* asked about NCAA violations — beyond anything that is relevant to the bankruptcy hearing.

    Actually, you didn’t.

  39. chachooga says: Feb 6, 2013 8:50 PM

    @frug

    no I pointed it out that the NCAA provided the questions.

    But nevermind. You are right. The NCAA brought this up and Emmert was all ticked off in those phone interviews because they didn’t do anything illegal.

    What is wrong with you man. The NCAA brought this up, they are ticked. It goes all the way up to the VP.

    But you are right…nothing wrong.

    They are wetting their pants about lawsuits from not just UM, but USC, UNC, PSU, etc…

    but nevermind…there isn’t anything illegal.

    You are Benny K, aren’t you?!?!??

  40. atxcane says: Feb 6, 2013 8:56 PM

    Wow. Just wow.

    “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.”

    It says right there. “The NCAA does not have the power to compel testimony”…”enforcement staff gained information for the investigation that would not have been accessible otherwise.”

  41. frug says: Feb 6, 2013 9:12 PM

    @atxcane

    Did they admit to violating a rule? No. All they said was they obtained evidence that couldn’t have obtained otherwise.

    Guess what…

    The whole purpose of an investigation is to obtain evidence they wouldn’t be able to get otherwise. If the information was freely available they wouldn’t need to investigate.

    @chachooga

    Do you know what illegal means? Because that has been accused thus far has been illegal.

    I’m not saying that nothing criminal has occurred; I’m saying nothing that has been publicly reported rises to that level.

    (Also, the PSU lawsuit is joke and the NCAA knows it. Not only is it a political stunt being carried out by one of the most unpopular governors in the country to hide the fact he is being investigated by the state’s attorney general for his mishandling of the Sandusky case, he doesn’t even have standing to sue since Penn St. isn’t a publicly owned university. Hell, even the school opposes the lawsuit.)

  42. frug says: Feb 6, 2013 9:13 PM

    should read

    Because nothing that has been accused…

  43. chachooga says: Feb 7, 2013 8:06 AM

    Ok never mind….the NCAA is investigating itself and making this huge stunt because they don’t think they did anything illegal.

    Again IT IS ILLEGAL to abuse the justice system for your own gain, to highjack a trial pay the attorney to force witnesses to answer questions you provide to the attorney under oath. Then pay that attorney for their work.

    but yeah….never mind….nothing illegal…they are doing a self investigation because they didn’t do anything illegal….

    comedy….the haters of the U…comedy.

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