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NCAA gives ultimatum to players in UM investigation; Canes, Dolphins, Marlins, Heat chatter

WEDNESDAY BUZZ COLUMN

The NCAA has delivered a new and disturbing ultimatum to numerous former University of Miami football players: Either talk to us or we’ll believe Nevin Shapiro’s claims against you.

The NCAA last week mailed a letter to former players that allegedly committed NCAA violations by accepting gifts from Shapiro, including dinners, prostitutes, trips to nightclubs, cash and other perks. Shapiro told the NCAA that 114 players committed violations; Yahoo previously identified 72 of them.

Only players who were playing college football at the time the investigation was launched are required to speak to the NCAA. Thirteen current or former UM football players did so in 2011. So the players who were sent the letter last week are no longer playing college football; some are in the NFL.

The letter, which I obtained, gives the players a Friday deadline to speak to the NCAA. What’s surprising is that the NCAA states in the letter that it will conclude the players committed violations if they do not respond.

UM officials were privately hopeful that many of the allegations made against players who left UM several years ago cannot be corroborated. Unless the NCAA is bluffing, it appears it might take Shapiro’s word on these claims unless the players refute them.

In recent days, several players and their attorneys have been trying to decide whether to speak to the NCAA.  Even Tuesday, one said he's not sure what he will do. So it’s unclear how many players will speak to the NCAA.

Here’s how the letter to one player attorney reads:

"The purpose of this letter is to apprise you that the NCAA enforcement staff is requesting to schedule an interview with your clients regarding their knowledge of or involvement in possible NCAA violations concerning the University of Miami, Florida, football program.

"Interviewing your clients is important in order for the enforcement staff to conduct a thorough investigation, and both the staff and the institution request you and your clients’ cooperation in this matter. However, at this time, all attempts to schedule and execute interviews with [blank] have been unsuccessful. As a result, this letter serves as a formal and final request by the NCAA enforcement staff for interviews with [blank] to be completed by Nov. 23, 2012.

“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. You may contact me at [blank] in order to arrange this interview. Your assistance in this matter is appreciated.”

Sincerely,

Molly Richman,

Assistant Director of Enforcement

### My opinion: Regardless of whether it's bluffing or not, the NCAA - by sending this letter to former players - is being heavy-handed and manipulative. Considering the NCAA has no jurisdiction over former players, it's offensive that it would threaten to believe a convicted felon without additional corroboration. A felon, for that matter, who's in jail for a crime involving lying (a Ponzi scheme).

CHATTER

### Keep this in mind: Shapiro claims player violations started in 2002, but the NCAA’s four-year statue of limitations doesn’t apply when there’s a longstanding pattern of willful violations that continues into the past four years. The NCAA previously told UM that it will consider invoking that “willful violators” clause.

### Though several high-ranking UM officials believed UM should play in a bowl game if it won the ACC Coastal, a UM official said the school went with the advice of outside attorney Mike Glazier, who thought it would mitigate future penalties but was given no assurance that UM would not have any more bowl bans. Though Penn State got a four-year bowl ban this year for the Jerry Sandusky tragedy, no school has had a recruiting-related three-year bowl ban since Oklahoma State (1989-91).

One upshot, a UM official said, is self-imposing lessens the chances of prematurely losing seniors- and juniors-to-be, who could transfer and play elsewhere immediately, if UM gets a one- or two-year bowl ban, respectively.

### Some former players are upset about UM’s self-imposed bowl ban --- “These players don’t deserve it and Miami could be punishing themselves for no reason!” Olivier Vernon told me --- but current players “were told to watch what we say,” Brandon McGee said. That's one reason why you haven't heard any current Canes voice displeasure.

### Seniors McGee and Mike James are expected to be drafted, and UM hopes a few juniors (including Seantrel Henderson and Curtis Porter) don't turn pro, too. UM lost five early entrants to the NFL last year, but Al Golden said Tuesday: "There's a stronger relationship with a lot of these young men [now].... A lot of guys understand from last year, perhaps guys would have gone higher if they had stayed. We want to make sure they have the facts, not just leaning on one side."

### Golden, on his WQAM radio show Tuesday night: "The thing people don't understand and accept is I want to be here for a really long time."

### Here’s what has changed in how teams are defending Ryan Tannehill: According to Matt Moore, he’s seeing more zone coverage and “looks that are better disguised.” Also key: Tannehill is being blitzed less; he faced only three blitzes against Buffalo and threw his only touchdown against one of them. His 2012 quarterback rating is 77.2 when blitzed, 66.5 when not blitzed.

“Teams are adjusting to what the Dolphins are doing. There’s not much separation from their receivers, so the windows are always tight that Ryan is throwing into,” ESPN’s Ron Jaworski said off air Tuesday.

### Coach Joe Philbin said Tuesday that owner Stephen Ross – who expected this team would be a playoff contender – “has been fantastic, very, very supportive” through this losing streak but “of course, I give him a 72-hour cool down period.” Ross, predictably, was down in the wake of the Bills loss, a friend said. But he likes this coaching staff.

### Chris Leible, one of Jose Reyes’ agents, said Reyes was “shocked” about being traded and confirmed a Fox report that the Marlins had orally promised he would not be traded. “He was told many times he wasn’t going anywhere,” Leible said, declining to say who told Reyes that. (Another friend of Reyes said it was Jeffrey Loria who told him.)

Mark Buehrle also was angry and told associates that he, too, was told he wouldn't be traded, an associate said… The Red Sox pursued Reyes before the Toronto deal but offered only marginal prospects and wouldn’t pay most of his salary.

### Marlins executive Larry Beinfest suggested he would explore adding a power-hitting center fielder (either a cheap free agent -- good luck with finding one of those -- or through a trade) but otherwise would go with a combination of Justin Ruggiano, Gorkys Hernandez and Bryan Petersen in center. Chris Coghlan also might get yet another chance.… Beinfest said Wade LeBlanc, Brad Hand and Tom Koehler will compete for the fifth rotation spot behind Ricky Nolasco (Beinfest won’t guarantee he will be back), Jacob Turner, Henderson Alvarez and Nate Eovaldi.

### Though the Heat’s Mario Chalmers continues to allow too many blow-bys defensively, his improved passing is encouraging: His career-best 3.1-to-1 assist to turnover ratio ranks 10th among starting point guards. Last season, his 1.56-to-1 ratio was third-worst.

“We need Chalmers to be low turnover,” Shane Battier said. “He still has a tendency to go off the reservation and get crazy at times, but he’s better. He makes less young-player mistakes.”

Comments

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Ivan

So why does the NCAA not believe Nevin when he says that he could not compete with the SEC schools in terms of trying to buy players....so much for innocent until proven guilty!

BillyBob

The Marlins are going to lose 115 games. Maybe 110 if they're lucky.

IMAWriter

I've been posting to anyone who will listen that UM could forfeit multiple bowl games and it won't matter. The NCAA has, and always will have a vendetta against UM, stemming from Jimmah's willful destruction of all teams in the path of UM's Hurricane.
He!! hath no furry like redneck SEC AD's, Big 10 Blowhards, and midwest sore losers

UM is sca-rood.
Only those with no knowledge of UM past 25 years would be so naive as to think self-imposed bowl bans will mean a thing, though the NCAA will say otherwise, while giving UM a TV ban/bowl ban, and loss of 20 total scholarships...right up there with PSU.
Fair, eh?

IMAWriter

Oh yeah, and 10 years probation.

rboud

The NCAA is way out of control. They know they have no jurisdiction with former players and this letter sent to these players sounds like it is and unprecedented action. I'll bet they've never threatened former players of other schools with this type of letter. This investigation is getting way too personal for a supposed objective body. They make the rules and then they decide they'll break their own rules if it suits them. This battle is going to end up in Court if the NCAA takes this any farther.

SEC SEC SEC

The NCAA just needs to go a head and hammer UM. They are dirty as hell and they know it. I say give them the death penalty. NOW!!!

ARDVARKAS

This is extortion, and it is illegal. The NCAA can't use the threat of sanctions against our program in order to extract information from former players... If the NCAA does this, then it will open up a massive Pandora's Box of controversy and class action lawsuits from now until 2040..

CaneLoyalty

Blackmail, and illegal. This NCAA attorneyjust opened a whole mess, and now UM and its former players have LEGAL grounds to sue the NCAA.

Crazy that the NCAA is turning this investigation into a witch hunt, and I'm sure they are PISSED that this letter leaked to the media. UM former players need to hold their ground and not get BLACKMAILED into talking to an organism that has ZERO jurisdiction over them. They are NOT current student-athletes, and they are in all their right to REFUSE to be interviewed.

And I find it funny that the NCAA says "if you don't talk, then we'll believe Shapiro" a CONVICTED FELON, spending the rest of his life in jail for a Ponzi scheme (aka PROFESSIONAL LIAR & THIEF).

Metropolis75

Is what the NCAA doing legal? I can't imagine a lawyer not chomping at the bit for their client if their threats were out of bounds.

G-Money

I sincerely hope that this classless, lying body- NCAA gets what is coming to them. I really would love to see a law suit that will diminish their monopolistic authority. I would also like to see them quit riding these young athletes backs, where everyone is reaping great lifestyles with the exception of the athletes.

dmc

i would file a slander suit against the ncaa based on this letter alone, please someone sue the ncaa this is over the top.

dmc

anyone who equates strip clubs drugs and cash to sexual abuse that was known about needs to really ask themselves what a crime is. every school in the country has strip clubs drugs going on in some way on the football team.

PSU crimes were unthinkable and the biggest disgrace to college athletics period.

UM likes to party, is this news to any one.

Wow...

Blackmail, extortion and guilty before proven innocent. I expect this from a drug cartel but not a non-for profit organization. Unbelievable and disappointing. What a horrible mistake by the NCAA. The lawyers will come at these yahoos.

Steve B

This extortion letter was sent by Molly Richman JD Assistant Director of Enforcement at NCAA She was undergrad at UF .Thats a clear conflict of interest as her Alma Mater would benefit regionally from any sanctions to the U.
If this was a court case this attorney would be disbarred .At best its unprofessional behavior and should be sent to the Indiana bar as a complaint.All you attorneys out there chime in.
This clearly shows a vendetta against the U and is ammunition for litigation if uncorroborated allegations are used in this case.

Hypocrisy of the SEC...

Funny - someone from the SEC calling UM dirty! The conference with:

1. Nick Satan - "I am not going to be the Alabama coach".
2. The conference that brought you a dad selling his some to Mississippi State but Auburn obviously offerring more and then the NCAA doing nothing given the precious title game.
3. The conference that "graduates" its college football players!
4. And the conference where the always believable Nevin Shapiro said spent so much money on luring recruits that he could not compete!
5. The conference where its football coaches make more than any other public employee in their state.


I could go on, but I get bored...

VOICE OF THE PEOPLE

Will this be the straw? Will this be enough to get to finally get the media, any media, whether local, national or whatever to call out this investigation for what it is? An all out witch hunt to burn Miami at the stake no matter what they can prove to be true. A faux bad guy they can make an example of and act as if they strictly uphold the sanctity of college football all the while turning a blind eye to the escalating arms race and salary caps of the "traditional, good ol' boy" programs across the country and making oodles of money off the backs of amateur athletes.

Widespread academic fraud at UNC across Basketball and Football = BLIND EYE.
Auburn paying hundreds of thousand of dollars for a player = BLIND EYE.
Alabama players getting thousands of dollars worth of suits and clothing from a local business = BLIND EYE.
SEC schools using churches as middlemen to funnel the cash to recruits = BLIND EYE.
Clemson giving out cash and gifts to recruits and their families = BLIND EYE.
A convicted criminal picking up some entry fees to some night clubs and some dinner checks = NAIL THEM TO THE WALL.

In what reality does this make sense to rational people? How clouded and biased does your judgement have to be to not acknowledge the gross injustice present here? Where is the outrage? We know its become a sort of national pastime to pile on any and everything negative pertaining to Miami, but at what point do we say enough is enough!? When will conscious people with a voice stand up and say "this isn't right!" When will the local media get the back of the hometown team and decide to do their jobs, questioning the NCAA investigation and the motives of those who accuse, instead of just regurgitating the bile of those with an agenda to push? Only in Miami would being inflammatory be chosen over being just.

No one is denying that some wrongdoing did occur and no one is expecting to get a pass, all that is wanted is a fair shake just like any other program and not a guilty unless proven innocent standard of conviction.

STAND UP FOR THE U

-#IStandWithTheU

Steve B

Thank you Barry .This is an embarassment for the NCAA . Its a unique perspective on the inner workings of the NCAA. Normally comunnications like this never get seen the outside world. Its frankly a black eye for the NCAA and sets the stage for mediation by an arbitrator should it come to that.This helps the U. Dont be suprised if this Richman clown loses her post at the NCAA.

IbisAttack

This means the NCAA is frustrated. That's the only reason they would threaten some one with the word of a felonious liar.

Steve B

This IS extortion this Richman is in a world of hurt now. Here is part of the FLa Statute:

Under Florida criminal statute 836.05 [Threats; extortion], extortion can be in the form of a written or verbal threat or communication. The communication may be in printed form such as an email, letter, or blog.

Whenever a suspect:

maliciously threatens to accuse another of a crime, or
maliciously threatens an injury to the person, property, or reputation of another, or
maliciously threatens to expose another to disgrace, or
maliciously threatens to impute any deformity or lack of chastity to another,

with the intent to extort any money or any pecuniary advantage OR with the intent to compel the threatened person (or any other person), to do any act or refrain from doing any act against his or her will commits the criminal offense of extortion.

Brian

Can someone please forward this info about this threatening letter to ESPN so the whole nation can see what a witch hunt this is. The NCAA has to realize they are not the law and cannot threaten people for not granting an interview. Tell the NCAA people in charge Nevin has a sweet deal for them if they want to invest some money.

Georgia Cane

Wow! this tells me that the NCAA has nothing on UM. That's an extreme measure that won't work. I hope that it back fires on them and that they get sued because of it. WOW!

Nole4Life

UM fans are so delusional. Keep on believing the NCAA has nothing on you. It's not about if you get sanctions - it's about the severity. (That means how hard the penalty will be for all you UM fans that never graduated high school)

nimitz

Hey Nole4Life, if, and that is a big if, you actually attended or or are a graduate from FSWho, you may just have the equivalent of a high school ged. What a joke that junk place is. I understand that seniors get a C on a test if they can spell their name correctly on the front page!

mike

People dont get it...Sanctioned in 1995 and 7 years later, more problems starting. NCAA wants to hammer Miami. Olvier Vernon??? He's wrapped up with Shapiro..Rather than criticize the decision made by the University because of things he and fellow players did, he should probably just stay quiet. Look, drinks at a bar???Some food??? a boat ride? I dont think that's a big deal..but NCAA does and thats what matters.

Mike

The NCAA is ruining college football. They make the rules as they go along, and have no right to demand any type of response from a former player. Who do they think they are? The FBI? They sound like a bunch of power hungry pencil pushers.

Don't they have anything better to do with the zillion dollars they bring in, then investigating whether a former player took a ride on some guys jet ski?

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