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Miami receives Notice of Allegations, responds

The SportsXchange

The University of Miami received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA for alleged rules violations involving disgraced former booster Nevin Shapiro, the result of an official review opened in September 2010.

Multiple media reports said Miami had been cited for the dreaded "lack of institutional control," through president Donna Shalala did not address the specifics of the NCAA's notice, again stressing the lackluster investigation. An external review of the NCAA investigation over the past 2 1/2 years found the investigation to be flawed and Shalala labeled it "unprofessional and unethical."

In response to the NCAA Notice on Tuesday, Miami issued a statement stressing many of the details made public from the investigation are not found in the new documentation. At least 13 interviews and portions of at least a dozen more were removed from the Miami investigative record because the NCAA's research and investigative misconduct that led to the departure of vice president of enforcement Julie Roe Lach.

After the external review by attorney Ken Wainstein of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft found that Shapiro attorney Maria Elena Perez's services were obtained by the NCAA in deposing their own witnesses, NCAA president Mark Emmert said Monday that any "tainted" information -- produced by or shared from Shapiro's legal representative -- would be removed from the investigative record.

"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," the statement from Miami reads. "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."

Shapiro is currently serving a 20-year sentence for orchestrated a $930 million Ponzi scheme. He alleged to serve Miami athletes with lavish yacht excursions, cash, gifts, strip club outings and other entertainment that would violate NCAA regulations.

Miami, despite being eligible for the college football postseason the past two seasons, voluntarily gave up bowl eligibility, self-imposing the punishment while the NCAA investigation advanced. On Tuesday Miami's blunt criticism of the NCAA's foibles also mentioned it never once interviewed Paul Dee, who has since passed away. He served as Miami athletic director for many of the years during which violations were alleged to have occurred.

"How could a supposedly thorough and fair investigation not even include the Director of Athletics?" the Miami statement asked, rhetorically.

"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."
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