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College Football
NCAA gives University of Miami notice of allegations; ‘lack of instituational control’ reportedly among charges
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NCAA gives University of Miami notice of allegations; ‘lack of instituational control’ reportedly among charges

NCAA gives University of Miami notice of allegations; ‘lack of instituational control’ reportedly among charges
Photo Credit: Allen Eyestone
Miami students hold up a poster backing Unversity president Donna Shalala during the Hurricanes' basketball game against Virginia on Feb. 19, 2013 in Coral Gables. News of the NCAA allegations and Shalala's harsh response broke while the game was going on. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

NCAA gives University of Miami notice of allegations; ‘lack of instituational control’ reportedly among charges

Nearly two years after the NCAA began its investigation, the University of Miami has finally received its notice of allegations, the university confirmed Tuesday.

The notice of allegations details the charges UM is facing in connection with impermissible benefits provided by rogue booster Nevin Shapiro.

The Associated Press reported that the notice of allegations includes a “lack of institutional control” charge against the university and names former UM basketball coach Frank Haith, among others.

The institutional-control charge is typically one of the most severe the NCAA can bring after an investigation of rules violations. The governing body for college athletics declined comment Tuesday, one day after revealing that it was erasing some elements of its case against Miami because the information was obtained in impermissible ways.

University president Donna Shalala released a harshly worded statement Tuesday night saying the school accepted “responsibility for those NCAA violations that are based on fact” but added that “many of the allegations included in the Notice of Allegations remain unsubstantiated.”

Shalala, who said Monday that UM was “wronged” by the NCAA and did not deserve any further punishment, attacked the NCAA investigation on several fronts.

Among other things, Shalala said the NCAA “acknowledged” that it considered anything Shapiro said “more than once” to be “corroborated.” Shapiro is a convicted Ponzi schemer serving 20 years in a federal prison.

The NCAA’s stance on Shapiro’s testimony, Shalala said, is “an argument which is both ludicrous and counter to legal practice.”

Shalala also ripped the NCAA for not interviewing “many essential witnesses of great integrity,” including former UM athletic director Paul Dee, who died last year.

“How could a supposedly thorough and fair investigation not even include the Director of Athletics?” the statement said.

Shalala blamed the NCAA “for damaging leaks of unsubstantiated allegations over the course of the investigation” but did not provide details.

Among the gifts Shapiro is alleged to have provided UM athletes were cash, strip-club visits, expensive dinners and even an abortion.

Shalala referred to those claims as “sensationalized media accounts.”

“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 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,” Shalala said. “The fabricated story played well — the facts did not.”

As she did Monday, Shalala again stressed that Miami should not face any more sanctions. The Hurricanes have already self-imposed several sanctions, including sitting out two bowl games and a conference football championship game. In addition, a dozen football and basketball players have been suspended for various lengths of time for accepting a variety of benefits from Shapiro.

“We deeply regret any violations, but we have suffered enough,” Shalala said.

UM now has three months to respond before the case is heard by the NCAA’s infractions committee. The committee normally takes several weeks to arrive at a final determination on sanctions, meaning that UM may not get a final resolution until, at least, May or June.

UM’s case was delayed after the NCAA learned that members of its enforcement staff had acted improperly in procuring information from witnesses.

Documents released Monday by the NCAA showed that Shapiro’s attorney, Maria Elena Perez, offered to help investigators probing UM’s athletic department by using subpoena power to depose witnesses.

An external review of the investigators’ improper conduct resulted in 20 percent of the information gathered in the Miami case to be discarded, it was revealed Monday.

Despite acknowledged “missteps” by investigators, NCAA president Mark Emmert discounted the possibility of a settlement with UM, saying that the case will end up being heard by the infractions committee.

“We trust that the Committee on Infractions will provide the fairness and integrity missing during the investigative process,” Shalala said.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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