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Miami continues to fire at NCAA, this time alleging more unethical behavior

Frank Schwab
Dr. Saturday

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NCAA president Mark Emmert (USA Today Sports Images)

Without knowing how the Nevin Shapiro-Miami case will turn out, one unexpected outcome is that the NCAA continues to have its integrity battered by the Hurricanes.

There haven't been many cases, at least those not involving Jerry Tarkanian, in which the subject of an investigation has laid bare its feelings about how it perceives the NCAA and how it has handled its case. After Miami has ripped the NCAA, it will be hard for any institution being investigated to not be at least skeptical of the NCAA's methods, or perhaps hostile as well.

Miami will file a motion to the NCAA to dismiss the case on Friday. The Miami Herald had some new claims by the school that are involved in that motion. The paper reported that after a NCAA investigator was fired following improperly using Shapiro's lawyer to build a case against Miami, his successor continued to try and work with Shapiro's lawyer to get information. Also, Miami claims the NCAA lied to interview subjects by telling them other interview subjects said things they never did, to presumably coerce them into giving information.

The claims make the NCAA, which already looked about as bad as could be in the Miami case, look even worse.

Ameen Najjar was a NCAA investigator who was fired after it was found the NCAA was improperly working with Shapiro's attorney by using a bankruptcy proceeding to try and build a case against Miami. The Herald says Stephanie Hannah continued working with Shapiro's lawyer to get information after she replaced Najjar, "a detail curiously omitted from the NCAA-commissioned report detailing the NCAA’s improper handling of the case," the Herald noted. The Herald an email exchange between the parties.

The other key new detail that the Herald wrote about was the NCAA lying to interview subjects "in order to trick the subjects into revealing incriminating information they otherwise might not." Miami argues that behavior is unethical.

"UM also will claim that significant charges made against UM in the NCAA’s notice of allegations are uncorroborated by anyone besides Shapiro, and that tainted evidence has not been fully purged from the case," the Herald wrote.

This case has been irreparably damaged. When the NCAA made an apology, said it got rid of the improper information (as the Herald points out, the tainted evidence can't possibly be completely purged, it's simply impossible) and went right along with the Miami case, it passed the point of no return. It was simply a bad decision to try and move on like it could still be a fair arbiter in the case. Nobody would ever buy that the NCAA could ignore the improper information it obtained by saying it purged it from the investigation, and Miami has come out and ripped the organization pretty good for its misdeeds.

Miami president Donna Shalala has made a pair of biting statements, referring to a "supposedly thorough and fair investigation" in one and "we have been wronged in this investigation" in another. The further allegations, which found their way into the Herald this week, continue to pile on the NCAA.

The question now isn't whether the Miami investigation has been ruined by the NCAA. It has. There's no turning back on that. The issue that will endure is how bad the NCAA's integrity has been damaged going forward with its member schools.

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