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Miami’s response to NOA: many allegations ‘remain unsubstantiated’

Donna Shalala AP

Confirming what was reported by the Associated Press Tuesday evening, Miami has in fact received its Notice of Allegations from the NCAA following an investigation into the program spanning over two years.

As of last month, that investigation appeared to be coming to an end with multiple outlets reporting the NCAA was close to handing Miami its NOA. That step took a backseat in a major way less than two weeks later when the NCAA announced it was investigating itself for improper conduct related to the Miami case.

The results of that independent investigation revealed select enforcement staff, including soon-to-be former Vice President of Enforcement, Julie Roe Lach, allowed Nevin Shapiro‘s attorney to depose witnesses in a bankruptcy case in order to seek information related to the UM investigation in exchange for money — despite the fact that the NCAA’s legal staff did not sign off on that particular tactic.

The NCAA did, however, sign off on continuing its investigation of UM and sent the university its NOA on Tuesday — this coming after Miami president Donna Shalala released a scathing open letter asking demanding no additional punitive measures be taken.

As one would imagine, Shalala’s response to the NOA is no different. In a release, Shalala claims that while Miami “takes full responsibility for those NCAA violations… based on fact”, many “allegations included in the Notice of Allegations remain unsubstantiated.” Shalala also directly attacks Shapiro’s claims of providing lavish benefits to athletes, including cars, bounties, and prostitution, calling the story “fabricated.”

It should be pointed out that, because the NCAA lacks subpoena power, it has considerably less access to relevant parties. That’s a big reason why the misconduct of using an attorney to depose witnesses for information occurred in the first place.

But if the NCAA is alleging certain violations by Miami that cannot be backed up without using information provided by Shapiro’s attorney, then the university could have a compelling counterargument on its hands. UM is a private institution and therefore not required to release the NOA.

Point being, Miami looks like it’s prepared to fight this one — be it in front of the COI or in a court of law.

Anyway, here’s Shalala’s statement in its entirety:

“The University of Miami deeply regrets and takes full responsibility for those NCAA violations that are based on fact and are corroborated by multiple individuals and/or documentation.  We have already self-imposed a bowl ban for an unprecedented two-year period, forfeited the opportunity to participate in an ACC championship game, and withheld student-athletes from competition.

“Over the two and a half years since the University of Miami first contacted the NCAA enforcement staff about allegations of rules violations, the NCAA interviewed dozens of witnesses, including current and former Miami employees and student-athletes, and received thousands of requested documents and emails from the University.  Yet despite our efforts to aid the investigation, the NCAA acknowledged on February 18, 2013 that it violated its own policies and procedures in an attempt to validate the allegations made by a convicted felon.  Many of the allegations included in the Notice of Allegations remain unsubstantiated

“Now that the Notice of Allegations has been issued, let me provide some context to the investigation itself:

> Many of the charges brought forth are based on the word of a man who made a fortune by lying. The NCAA enforcement staff acknowledged to the University that if Nevin Shapiro, a convicted con man, said something more than once, it considered the allegation “corroborated”—an argument which is both ludicrous and counter to legal practice.

> Most of the sensationalized media accounts of Shapiro’s claims are found nowhere in the Notice of Allegations.  Despite their efforts over two and a half years, the NCAA enforcement staff could not find evidence of prostitution, expensive cars for players, expensive dinners paid for by boosters, player bounty payments, rampant alcohol and drug use, or the alleged hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts given to student-athletes, as reported in the media.  The fabricated story played well—the facts did not. 

> The NCAA enforcement staff failed, even after repeated requests, to interview many essential witnesses of great integrity who could have provided first-hand testimony, including, unbelievably, Paul Dee, who has since passed away, but who served as Miami Athletic Director during many of the years that violations were alleged to have occurred.  How could a supposedly thorough and fair investigation not even include the Director of Athletics? 

> Finally, we believe the NCAA was responsible for damaging leaks of unsubstantiated allegations over the course of the investigation.   

Let me be clear again: for any rule violation—substantiated and proven with facts—that the University, its employees, or student-athletes committed, we have been and should be held accountable.  We have worked hard to improve our compliance oversight, and we have already self-imposed harsh sanctions.   

We deeply regret any violations, but we have suffered enough. 

The University and counsel will work diligently to prepare our official response to the Notice of Allegations and submit it to the Committee on Infractions within the required 90-day time period. 

We trust that the Committee on Infractions will provide the fairness and integrity missing during the investigative process.”

 

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31 Responses to “Miami’s response to NOA: many allegations ‘remain unsubstantiated’”
  1. YouMadCauseImStylingOnYou says: Feb 19, 2013 11:02 PM

    “The NCAA enforcement staff acknowledged to the University that if Nevin Shapiro, a convicted con man, said something more than once, it considered the allegation “corroborated””

    Are you absolutely kidding me? This is the dog and pony show that is supposed to run enforcement?

    Can’t wait for Miami to absolutely slaughter the infractions committee.

  2. atxcane says: Feb 19, 2013 11:36 PM

    Trying to inject some tempering knowledge into what I’m sure is going to become a quick firestorm:

    The enforcement committee and the infractions committee are two different groups. The EC is the ‘prosecutor’, the IC is the ‘jury’. So with that said, I’m not *really* surprised the EC is making allegations based solely on the word (spoken twice) of a convicted felon. They’ve certainly relied on a sole hearsay before (Lloyd Lake), though in this case it’s unique since the hearsay is from a *convicted felon who is in jail for massive fraud and a career of lying*.

    Intuition would normally tell me that this is a bit of theatrics: the NCAA gets to save face by storming at Miami, Miami rallies support by butting heads with the NCAA…while a carefully crafted agreement has been made for the COI (‘jury’) to ignore the unsubstantiated claims and cements the self-imposed scholarship reductions — both parties end up happy.

    HOWEVER, the NCAA/Emmert has been incompetent up to this point. I wouldn’t be shocked if they could bluster their way out on top. They’re already being sued by the State of Pennsylvania…it would be mind-numbingly stupid to invite ANOTHER lawsuit.

    Emmert is not going to survive as it is; if he keeps messing up, the NCAA might not either.

  3. necr0philia says: Feb 19, 2013 11:41 PM

    NCAA “it’s time for the DEATH PENALTY AGAINST YOURSELF”!!! And when it happens I’m going to live up to my Name!! Oh yeah I’ll MUNG you too!!!

  4. thraiderskin says: Feb 20, 2013 3:04 AM

    I don’t want UM to get the death penalty, but there is little doubt in my mind that everything Shapiro is claiming is probably true. The city of Miami is filled with corruption and has been for decades. Are you going to tell me, that a university, headed by that woman, based in that city, is clean from what they are being accused of? Really? Shapiro’s ties and money stretch too far back with UM, there is little doubt the role he played.

  5. noring4youstill says: Feb 20, 2013 7:34 AM

    I hope Shapiro gets shanked. And how can you not see that this is 95% BS? The guy was just inflating his own ego in the story telling. He wants everyone to think he is some damn Boss.

  6. raiderufan says: Feb 20, 2013 8:36 AM

    The U showed up ready for a fight and you best believe an institution of this magnitude wouldn’t hit this head on unless it felt very sure it had a compelling argument.

    It’s kinda nice after all the “we’ll let the process play out” statements you get from other teams that receive these notices.

  7. canehouse says: Feb 20, 2013 8:59 AM

    Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press tweeted that total tally of extra benefits in 10 years was $40k… What a joke!!!

    Is there a better University than the U to trailblaze against the NCAA? The rest of you universities will benefit from the U!!

  8. xtremesportsmaniac says: Feb 20, 2013 9:00 AM

    ATXcane,

    Lloyd Lake was also a convicted felon /gang member.

    He and Reggie were from the same neighborhood and he was trying to use Reggie to start his own marketing firm after he got out of jail.

    It’s good to see Donna go after these guys I wish Pat Haden wasn’t so weak.

  9. thegamecocker says: Feb 20, 2013 9:38 AM

    The “U” will finally get what they are due: Unfortunately it will not be the death penalty. Donna Shalala is an absolute power-hungry big-mouth who doesn’t have a clue about what an athletic department does. She is a politician who absolutely believes that fellatio is “not sex.” Really, Shalala is the real culprit here along with the deceased Paul Dee, the hypocrite who tried to kill USCw. She allowed it and she is a snake. Cut off the “head of the snake” and it will die. In other words, fire her, get new leadership who knows how to run a university and ensure your “institutional control” efforts are in place and working. This school has gotten away with murder for way too long.

  10. gotampabay52 says: Feb 20, 2013 9:40 AM

    The U in which we protect and stand behind Let’s go canes

  11. tluds says: Feb 20, 2013 9:45 AM

    As much as the Noles fan in me has loved watching the canes twist in the wind over the past couple of years, they have clearly punished themselves enough. The NCAA needs to swallow their pride and call it a day. Even if they continue with this dog and pony show they have already given themselves a bigger black eye from this situation than Miami will ever have. They’ve paid their dues, let em get back on the field without having to keep worrying about this BS.

  12. atxcane says: Feb 20, 2013 9:48 AM

    @extreme

    Sorry for the confusion, I was trying to emphasize that Shapiro is a guy whose entire life revolved around creating illusions, not just that he was a convicted felon.

    Taking Shapiro at his word is believing someone who is a pathological liar. Sure some of what he says may be true, but goddam you’re gonna have to back it up with *hard* evidence.

    Now apparently, all the ‘explosive’ claims have no merit (per the NCAA itself), and “many” of the claims that made it into the NOA are uncorroborated…hell what *is* there? If the Reynolds information is true, we’re looking at 35k (subtracting the 5k that players were suspended for in 2011) over a 10 year period?

    USCe will tell you that’s a blip on the radar.

  13. atxcane says: Feb 20, 2013 10:01 AM

    @extreme

    Also, Haden didn’t have this chance to stand up. Shalala is in the position to do so only b/c Miami has cooperated so heavily over the past 2.5 years. If Haden had done so, it wouldn’t have made a big impact.

    USC famously *refused* to cooperate, which as the last 2.5 years indicates, is the RIGHT thing to do. If the outcome is pre-determined, may as well make it hard as hell for the NCAA.

  14. canehouse says: Feb 20, 2013 10:10 AM

    I will say it again… 40k over 10 years… That’s 4k a year… YES Miami deserves a punishment, and they have done so. Give it a rest gamecocker… 40k is tallied in one month at some of your SEC brothers. Of course I kid… but you know there are schools all over the country that have done likewise… Miami just happens to be the ultimate lighting rod!!

  15. thegamecocker says: Feb 20, 2013 10:28 AM

    @canehouse
    The question is WHY is Miami such a lightening rod to scribers like me? The answer IMO is because some of the players with unsavory character who have been coddled at Miami and treated favorably by persons such as Nevin Shapiro. People like Ray Lewis who will always be associated with the Atlanta incident and others who have gone to the “U”. That brand IMO also does not help U. of Miami. Let me ask something else: if Nevin Shapiro was never convicted, would Miami have disassociated itself from this guy? My sense is “no, they would not” because there would not be an incentive to end such activity. Is it happening at other schools? My judgment is absolutely yes. But I also believe there is only so much university’s can do to police it.

    Donna Shalala is another issue entirely. She is a politician at heart who was a cabinet member of President Clinton. I happen to like Clinton politics but never was a fan of Secretary Shalala. Truly an empty suit with a big mouth.

  16. MasMacho says: Feb 20, 2013 10:50 AM

    The U is about to change to “Used to be.” This is the third round of major violations at Miami in the last 20 years. No way the NCAA leaves anything standing.

    I hope Miami fans are enjoying basketball season this year, it will be the last interesting thing that happens on that campus for a very long time.

    The only thing about this that is sad is that the NCAA seems to only care about the successful programs… USC, Ohio St., Miami, North Carolina, Auburn, Oregon… it seems the NCAA is trailing those successful programs (money) with a poop bag trying to scrape just a little more off the top.

    But what you can’t argue is that Miami plays by the NCAA rule book VOLUNTARILY, and are subject to the whim of the NCAA for breaking those rules. This is not law, not a court, and fairness has nothing to do with what is going on here.

  17. mogogo1 says: Feb 20, 2013 11:05 AM

    It no longer matters whether Shapiro was telling the truth or not. This is like an arrest where it turns out all the cops involved were dirty. Sure, the person arrested might still be guilty, but best of luck proving that when the witnesses are all discredited.

    And those depositions really smell bad. If Shapiro had kept any records of his own, those depositions would never have been needed. The only two possibilities would seem that either A) The NCAA thought they needed them because they knew they didn’t have much of a case without them, or B) The entire purpose of them was to launder the $20K and get it to Shapiro. Which one of those does the NCAA want to cop to?

  18. monsterright says: Feb 20, 2013 11:25 AM

    Lets just put all this behind us and move on. I’m ready to see open bleachers at the U games!

  19. uglytrog says: Feb 20, 2013 11:41 AM

    Big difference between the way Miami handles NCAA sanctions and the way Penn State simply accepted them. Which program has a ‘Football First Culture’, again?

  20. YouMadCauseImStylingOnYou says: Feb 20, 2013 11:53 AM

    @thegamecocker

    “Let me ask something else: if Nevin Shapiro was never convicted, would Miami have disassociated itself from this guy? My sense is “no, they would not” because there would not be an incentive to end such activity. ”

    You clearly have no idea what you’re talking about in regards to this case as Shapiro was exiled long before he was even arrested. Randy Shannon barred him from the players well before his ponzi scheming came to light.

    Anyone who thinks Miami is taking ANYTHING close to a death penalty is just lying to themselves at this point. They have been blinded by libelest Charles Robinsons fluff piece from 2 years ago that presented no facts, to the point where the NCAA ran a witch hunt and paid a convicted felon to talk on a burner cell phone.

    If the infractions committee DARES to raise one finger to Miami they will be into a massive lawsuit not only from Miami but from the entire ACC, considering the Bowl Revenue that Miami turned down is split amongst the conference.

    This is a war the NCAA doesn’t want. They don’t want to go to discovery with a University President that has the White House standing behind her.

  21. MasMacho says: Feb 20, 2013 12:03 PM

    So naiive. This is not a legal matter. Even if the COI hammers Miami, the first step is arbitration, then settlement, then possibly a court case. Then some misguided congressman will call for hearings, and blah blah, on and on.

    People keep talking about “Truth” and “Facts.” They don’t matter. It is what is “proven” and “not proven” to the satisfaction of the NCAA. The NCAA is not accountable to the public or to the fans. And this is all possible because Miami agreed to the rules of the NCAA in exchange for their participation in the giant money-grab that is NCAA Football.

    If they don’t like it, the NAIA would certainly be willing to take them.

    But please, stop playing lawyer. There is nothing here that involves the legal or justice system.

  22. xtremesportsmaniac says: Feb 20, 2013 1:03 PM

    ATXcane,

    If you go through the USC report you will see they never had any evidence against USC. The did have evidence that Reggie’s family took gifts from a criminal but no evidence that USC knew about it. Todd McNair, the coach the NCAA referenced in their report is about to win his lawsuit against the NCAA over this situation.

    The USC case an the UM case are very similar aside from the amount of players involved and the type of gifts.

    The NCAA hammered SC because they said they “should have known” and had no facts that they did know. The NCAA is not a court of law they do not need facts. They will operate and punish on hearsay.

  23. xtremesportsmaniac says: Feb 20, 2013 1:10 PM

    Atx,
    There is also no rhyme or reason to what these guys do. I still have no idea how Cam Newton remained eligible and was cleared in 24 hrs. Dillon Baxter got a ride on a golf cart and it took two weeks to clear him.

  24. frug says: Feb 20, 2013 2:10 PM

    Most of the sensationalized media accounts of Shapiro’s claims are found nowhere in the Notice of Allegations. Despite their efforts over two and a half years, the NCAA enforcement staff could not find evidence of prostitution, expensive cars for players, expensive dinners paid for by boosters, player bounty payments, rampant alcohol and drug use, or the alleged hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts given to student-athletes, as reported in the media. The fabricated story played well—the facts did not.

    If the NOA is so flimsy then maybe you shouldn’t be afraid of releasing it to the public?

  25. honkerdawg says: Feb 20, 2013 2:10 PM

    It’s time to break the stranglehold the NCAA has on schools and athletes. It’s time for somebody to stand up and fight and stop these demigods from running college athletics with an iron hand. They sure don’t cry when the networks sign those billion dollar checks andyhe athletes get NONE

  26. thegamecocker says: Feb 20, 2013 5:41 PM

    @youmadcauseimstylinonyou

    Randy Shannon closed the barn door after all the cattle and horses were allowed to roam free. The “Used To Be” is finally going to receive what is due them. I don’t care who Pres Shalalalalala knows in the White House! Two years of bowl bans are not enough. This is Miami’s third major violation in 20 years and that big mouth President of yours can yell and scream all she wants! She should have known what was happening and my sense is Paul Dee, your esteemed former and now deceased AD, probably did know! He probably said: it’s not on the “U’s” dime so what do I care…..FIRE SHALALA for starters!!!

  27. canehouse says: Feb 20, 2013 7:09 PM

    gamecocker…. Seriously give it a rest!!! Your absolute hate for us is ridiculous… why? Your depiction of Miami is so cliche… Seriously why so much hate??

  28. thegamecocker says: Feb 20, 2013 8:03 PM

    @canehouse

    It’s because of the THUGS that Miami has used to attain their haughty record over the years. Ray Lewis – 6 kids with 4 different women! What kind of role model is that for inner city children? No, no, no…. I’ve had enough of Miami and the “U” and all the other shtickla that Miami represents. Just look in the mirror and see what Miami has become….you guys are like a pariah. Everyone except your small fan base wants to see Miami go down…and go down HARD!! Get ready because the NCAA is going to grill ya. But Canehouse, I have nothing against you personally….What can I tell ya….

  29. dolfan1 says: Feb 20, 2013 9:26 PM

    thegamecocker I’m sorry what has your team every won?????? NOTHING…….. You are very jealous of MIAMI!!!! Don’t blame you !

  30. xtremesportsmaniac says: Feb 21, 2013 6:26 AM

    Gamecocker,
    If you ‘re looking to college football for role models you’re looking in the wrong place. Also, not everyone wants to see Miami go down they haven’t been relevant for awhile so I would assume most people don’t care what happens to Miami.

  31. thegamecocker says: Feb 21, 2013 9:33 AM

    @xtremesportsmaniac

    Ugghhh, where should I look for role models for youngsters in the inner city, many of whom do not have a male role model? The professional leagues? Colleges are a GREAT PLACE for role models b/c if nothing else, these people GO TO SCHOOL!! To some of these young people, school is not cool so we need to change that to inspire more kids to go onto school….BTW, Miami is facing more penalties and you can point to the knee-jerk reaction of your esteemed President Madam Shalalala for her outburst against the NCAA.

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