Miami details damages caused by investigation
By TIM REYNOLDS
CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Calling the investigation into its athletic department “corrupted from the start,” Miami has told the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions that it will stipulate to any properly corroborated allegations against the Hurricanes if the case is brought to a swift end and without any further penalties.
Miami made that offer in the motion filed last week to dismiss the case. Four other former Miami coaches filed similar motions.
The Hurricanes want the infractions committee — which is not the NCAA’s investigative arm, but a separate group — to use the broad power it has under the association’s bylaws to end the case before it even goes to a hearing, scheduled to begin in June. The motion is in part based on Miami’s assertion that the investigation was filled with “gross incompetence and mismanagement.”
Miami also makes several accusations that the NCAA lied to the school.
“Prolonging the conclusion of this case would further irreparably harm the University,” reads part of the motion’s conclusion.
It’s unclear what happens next — when the motion will be heard, if the motion will be heard and who would even actually hear the motion. It was sent to infractions committee member Eleanor Myers, an associate professor of law at Temple, the school where Miami coach Al Golden last coached before he left for the Hurricanes.
Among the damages Miami cites as part of the investigation: excessive resources devoted by the school, two years of uncertainty around the football and men’s basketball programs, and smearing of the reputation of Golden, who was dogged by allegations last year that his staff knowingly broke NCAA recruiting rules.
The Associated Press learned in February, when the notice of allegations was filed against Miami by the NCAA, that Golden was not named in that document, which has not been publicly released.
“The University is not asking for a windfall or quick escape,” reads Miami’s motion to dismiss. “To the contrary, largely because of the NCAA’s misconduct and mismanagement, this matter has languished for twice as long as it should have, to the University’s detriment.”
Much of what’s contained in the motion is not surprising, given that Miami has publicly asserted for some time that the NCAA’s probe was extremely flawed. The most damning accusations, other than just an overall sense of incompetence and mismanagement, come with Miami saying that the NCAA ignored its own promise of honesty.
“Perhaps most distressing and unconscionable, on multiple occasions, members of the enforcement staff intentionally misled the University by withholding key information, failing to inform the University of scheduled interviews and, most egregiously, lying to the University and its outside counsel,” reads part of Miami’s motion.
The details of the motion became widely known on a day where embattled NCAA President Mark Emmert spoke at the Final Four in Atlanta, with part of his remarks in a question-and-answer session revolving around the Miami mess.
Emmert ordered an investigation of the investigation in January, after apparently becoming aware of the scope of the association’s ties with attorney Maria Elena Perez, who represents Nevin Shapiro — the convicted felon and former booster at the center of the Hurricanes’ scandal. The NCAA paid Perez after she conducted depositions as part of Shapiro’s bankruptcy case, and part of the information from those sessions worked its way into the Miami case.
The nature of the relationship between Perez and the NCAA is still up for some debate. Perez said the NCAA paid her as a third-party and that she was never specifically an NCAA employee. Emails from now-former NCAA investigators, however, clearly show that she was paid to do interviews the association thought it could not obtain on its own.
“The Miami case is obviously a significant blow to the confidence people have in enforcement, and we’ve worked very, very hard to be as open and frank about that case,” Emmert said Thursday. “We’ve dealt with it directly. If we have to change, continue to change, the culture of enforcement, that’s certainly on me and something I’m working hard on.”
As part of the motion, Miami also told the committee that bringing the case against the Hurricanes to an immediate end would help the NCAA restore the confidence of its member schools.
Miami has already self-imposed sanctions such as scholarship reductions and three missed postseason games. The Hurricanes have long said that should be enough.
Other highlights of the motion, many sentiments of which have been aired publicly in past statements and filings, include:
— That Miami remains troubled over the decision of NCAA investigators to not interview former Hurricanes athletic director Paul Dee, a longtime infractions committee member, before his death last year.
— That Miami believes a now-former NCAA investigator should not have vouched for Shapiro’s credibility by writing a letter to a federal judge days before the former booster was sentenced for masterminding the Ponzi scheme. Shapiro’s attorney filed a motion this week to have that letter stricken from court records.
— That the outside report the NCAA ordered after the scope of the relationship with Perez was exposed is both incomplete and incorrect, and that not all information that should have been deemed tainted because of its association to the ill-gotten depositions was excluded from the notice of allegations.
— Finally, that investigators withheld information about interviews with witness, misled the university in some cases and lied to witnesses as an interview tactic.
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