An attorney representing several former University of Miami football players may challenge the NCAA after a number of those players received an ultimatum from the athletic association.
According to a report posted Wednesday on the Miami Herald's web site, the NCAA has threatened to assume that allegations of rampant violations of NCAA rules by those players while they were students at UM from imprisoned Miami booster Nevin Shapiro are true unless they agree to be interviewed by NCAA investigators by the end of this week.
Miami attorney Bruce Fleisher represents several of the former Miami players targeted in the probe and told the Herald that he responded to the NCAA that his clients would not admit to any infractions, even if they do not respond by Friday's deadline.
"We're taking a wait and see approach," Fleisher told the Herald. "We'll have a response for the NCAA once we know what their protocol is."
The NCAA sent a letter to numerous former Miami players and their attorneys, including Fleisher, invoking a deadline of this Friday to speak with the association's investigators about Shapiro's allegations.
"If we do not hear back from you or your clients by that time, the staff will consider the non-response as your client's admission of involvement in NCAA violations," the letter reportedly said.
The letter was signed by NCAA assistant director of enforcement Molly Richman, although the association's infractions committee will decide the fate against the school, if any, with potential penalties likely due sometime next summer.
On Wednesday, Fleisher received support from a fellow prominent Miami attorney, Ben Kuehne.
Kuehne, who is not involved in the case currently, told the newspaper that those players being pursued by the NCAA would have legal grounds for a lawsuit against the association if it follows through on its threat, the paper said.
"It would be catastrophic for the NCAA to do something that outrageous," said Kuehne, former president of the Miami-Dade County Bar Association.