NCAA releases report of missteps in Miami probe

The SportsXchange

An external investigation into a probe of Miami athletics concluded that some NCAA enforcement staff acted contrary to internal protocols, legal counsel and the membership's understanding regarding the limits of its investigative powers.

The report, which was from the law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, was released by the NCAA on Monday.

In the wake of the missteps and insufficient oversight, the NCAA named Jonathan Duncan as interim vice president of enforcement. He will replace Julie Roe Lach, whose firing was reported earlier by Yahoo! Sports.

The NCAA said the case against Miami will proceed with information that was properly obtained by the enforcement staff.

Presumably, that clears the way for Miami to receive a notice of allegations of the rules that allegedly were broken within the athletics department. The investigation surrounds Nevin Shapiro, who claims to have provided benefits to athletes and coaches that are not permissible by NCAA regulations. Shapiro is currently in prison for his part in a Ponzi scheme.

The external report says the NCAA went to an attorney for Shapiro and improperly obtained information.

According to the report, Shapiro's attorney, Maria Elena Perez, billed the NCAA for $57,115 worth of work performed in 2011 and 2012. The NCAA said it paid about $18,000.

According to the NCAA, Perez offered to use depositions and subpoena power to assist with the case the NCAA was building against Miami. Perez deposed former Miami equipment room staffer Sean Allen. He provided testimony that could have supported the case against Miami, but the NCAA does not have subpoena power, so what he said should not have been used in the case against Miami.

The NCAA's legal team urged the NCAA's enforcement staff not to go forward with the plan to collaborate with Perez.

Miami president Donna Shalala issued a statement in response to the external investigation report, saying, "We believe strongly in the principles and values of fairness and due process. However, we have been wronged in this investigation, and we believe that this process must come to a swift resolution, which includes no additional punitive measures beyond those already self-imposed."

Among other things, the statement also said, "I pledged we would ‘vigorously pursue the truth, wherever that path may lead' and insisted upon complete, honest, and transparent cooperation with the NCAA from our staff and students. The University of Miami has lived up to those promises, but sadly the NCAA has not lived up to their own core principles. The lengthy and already flawed investigation has demonstrated a disappointing pattern of unprofessional and unethical behavior."
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