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UM will push for settlement; Coley tells FSU he is taking Miami job; NCAA/UM fallout

A couple of Thursday updates:

1) In the wake of the NCAA's embarrassing revelation this week, UM intends to push hard for a settlement with the NCAA, provided president Mark Emmert is willing (which is questionable) and provided the terms are fair and friendly to UM, according to multiple sources.

"They haven't come to us," one UM official said of the NCAA. But "it's smart to get something done. We've suffered plenty. They would negotiate something reasonable."

But it would be highly unusual for a settlement to happen. Typically, a school receives its notice of allegations, then responds three months or so later in front of the infractions committee.

NCAA President Mark Emmert would need to make the decision to circumvent that process in this case.

The upside for Emmert to do that: Putting this embarrassment behind him. If UM goes in front of the infractions committee, the NCAA would likely be subjected to more negative publicity because UM would point out evidence that could be tied to improper investigative practices by the NCAA.

The downside: A settlement with UM would anger other schools that were not afforded the same opportunity. Also, Emmert said the depositions in question --- the ones that will be tossed out -- were only a small fraction of the evidence against UM.

If the NCAA is willing to do a settlement, UM --- which already has self-imposed two bowl bans -- might be willing to accept very modest scholarship reductions, according to the speculation of a UM official. But we haven't gotten to that point, so it's premature to say anything conclusive about what UM would be willing to offer.

John Infante, a widely-quoted NCAA expert, said he doubts Emmert will be willing to do a settlement. But UM will at least broach the issue.

2) Offensive coordinator James Coley informed FSU he is leaving to take the same job at UM, according to multiple sources.  An announcement could come today.

FSU agreed to match - but not surpass - UM's $500,000 offer. But FSU would not allow him to call plays; Fisher enjoys doing that himself.

At UM, Coley will run the offense and call plays. He has called plays only one season in his life - for a talent-deficient FIU team that finished 1-11.

Coley, a Miami High graduate, also liked the idea of returning home to Miami, where he has family.

Coley's move also should help UM in recruiting.

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Wednesday night update: Coley and NCAA news fallout:

 

Manny Navarro and I have confirmed that FSU offensive coordinator James Coley has interviewed with Al Golden and has told multiple people that he has been offered the UM offensive coordinator job. Coley is very intrigued because he would get to call plays - something he wouldn't be able to do at FSU.

One friend of Coley told me he expects Coley will take the UM job, while another said Coley indicated he had not decided as of Thursday afternoon.

FSU has agreed to match the $500,000 that Coley says UM would pay him, but Jimbo Fisher will not allow him to call plays. And Coley wants to call plays. Still, Fisher has been trying hard to pursuade him to stay.

### I've spent part of the afternoon re-reading Sean Allen's 170-plus page deposition with Nevin Shapiro's attorney to determine exactly what evidence from Allen will be tossed out if the NCAA removes that deposition from its case against UM, as NCAA President Mark Emmert indicated would be the case.

Here's my story on that topic:  

Sounding very much like an NCAA investigator, the attorney for Nevin Shapiro sat across the table from former UM equipment manager Sean Allen and peppered him with dozens of questions about alleged NCAA rules violations involving the University of Miami.

In the process of that deposition 13 months ago, attorney Maria Elena Perez extracted considerable incriminating information against UM – information that Allen has said he never would have disclosed if he had not been under oath.

The deposition was taken under the auspices of a bankruptcy court hearing – a proceeding designed to recoup money that Shapiro took from investors in a $900 million Ponzi scheme that led to Shapiro being sentenced to a 20-year jail term.

But a review of the deposition on Wednesday revealed that many of Perez’s questions had nothing to do with financial issues, and dozens had more to do with alleged violations by UM than any attempts to trace money that could be recouped.

That deposition with Allen --- and another Perez deposition with former sports agent Michael Huyghue – likely will be removed from the NCAA’s evidence against UM presuming an NCAA investigation confirms its belief that the information was improperly obtained, NCAA president Mark Emmert indicated Wednesday.

Perez submitted a bill for payment to the NCAA --- which the NCAA would consider a conflict because she was representing Shapiro.

What’s potentially problematic for UM, however, is that Allen met with the NCAA after that deposition and was asked to recap and confirm allegations that he made during the deposition. It’s unclear if Allen’s responses during that interview will be used.

Allen met with the NCAA in August 2011 but previously told The Miami Herald that he was not truthful during that meeting. He said he was truthful during the deposition only because he was under oath.

Among the highlights of what Allen told Perez in the deposition, which Allen said was attended by an NCAA official:

### Asked by Perez if he ever witnessed Shapiro paying money to UM football or basketball players, Allen said: “Yes. I don’t remember the specifics. It was relatively small amounts… low hundreds.”

He also said: “I vaguely remember Nevin giving [former UM running back] Tyrone Moss some sort of money for his baby or something like that.”

#### Allen said Shapiro gave him $3000 to entertain Ray-Ray Armstrong, Dyron Dye and Andre DuBose during an unofficial recruiting visit to UM. “Nevin said, ‘Take those guys out to a strip club and make sure they have a good time,’” Allen said. Armstrong and Dye ultimately attended UM; DuBose went to Florida.

### During the deposition, Perez presented numerous pictures to Allen showing Shapiro with several UM coaches and players, including basketball coach Frank Haith, assistant coach Jake Morton and football players Kellen Winslow, D.J. Williams and others.

Asked if Shapiro provided entertainment to UM players, Allen said: “Yes. Kellen, D.J. We would go on the boat. There would normally be food and drinks on the boat. They would go out to the club occasionally with Nevin.”

### Allen said he gave money to UM players who were being recruited by Axcess Sports, an agency co-owned by Shapiro and Huyghue. Allen confirmed those players included Tavares Gooden, Jon Beason and Devin Hester. “We’re talking small amounts of cash, maybe $50 here, because it was my own money.”

### Asked Shapiro’s motivation in giving players money, Allen said: “One, I think he enjoyed being around them. The other part is he ultimately wanted them to sign with Axcess Sports.”

### Allen, who worked for Axcess, said he brought UM players to Shapiro on behalf of Axcess, including Gooden, Hester and Kyle Wright. “I’m sure I’m missing someone. It was more bringing them around Nevin, and he was the one that would talk to them about that sort of stuff.”

### Allen told Perez that Shapiro would give money to the winners of bowling events at Lucky Strikes on Miami Beach, and UM players participated in those tournaments.

### Asked if he ever took players to Shapiro’s suite, Allen said: “Yes, one time that I remember: Jeffrey Godfrey and I believe Teddy Bridgewater was with him.” Both were high school players at the time, and neither attended UM.

“Miami was never serious about [Godfrey],” Allen said. “Jeff and I were at Nevin’s house one time and I remember Nevin giving him a pair of old white used sneakers. I want to say Nevin gave me $100 or something and said, ‘Go out to eat.”

### Allen said said he took Bridgewater to meet with UM coach Al Golden soon after Golden took the job.

### Allen said he “can say with certainty that Nevin paid” for a meals and a strip club outing with Haith and Morton.

### Perez repeatedly pressed Allen after he said he had no recollection of giving or witnessing Shapiro giving Morton $10,000, money that Shapiro claimed was ultimately to be forwarded to a family member of basketball player DeQuan Jones.

“I don’t want to trick you,” Perez said at one point. “I just want to understand what you’re saying.” Allen said: “I don’t remember doing it…. Possible it could have happened. I just really don’t remember.”

### Allen told Perez that Shapiro “had me take [former UM quarterback] Robert Marve to look at Escalades; Robert was paying for it.” He also said he saw former UM defensive back Randy Phillips at Shapiro’s home “multiple times.”

The deposition with Huyghue did not produce any significant incriminating information against Miami, according to a Herald analysis of the document.

Gary Freedman, a partner in the firm that is serving as the bankruptcy trustee in the case, said he was not aware that Perez was allegedly being paid by the NCAA until the news broke Wednesday.

“That was a shock to me,” he said. “I assumed anything she was doing was being done for the benefit of the client. [Allen and Huyghue] could have objected to the subpoena. I don’t believe they did.”

Freedman said the depositions with Allen and Huyghue were the only ones that Perez conducted and “we have not used the transcripts to try to recover money. We haven’t found the need.” The trustee has recouped $35 million in the case, Freedman said.

Though Freedman and partner Joel Tabas were aware the depositions were conducted, Freedman said Perez did not need their permission to do them.

He said in the Southern District of Florida, attorneys can issue subpoenas in bankruptcy court without the court’s permission. “Maria was representing Nevin,” Freedman said. “She wasn’t representing us.”

Asked if what Perez did was wrong, Freedman said: “I don’t know. I don’t know the agreement she had with her client or the NCAA. It wasn’t on my radar screen. As far as getting mad, it doesn’t affect anything we’re doing. [But] it could be a distraction.”

 

Comments

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Miami Penguin

It is a sorry day when attorneys abuse (Perez) or give license in (Freedman) a court proceeding.

Members of the Florida Bar serve the courts, and not the other way around. Perez should received sanctions from the Florida Bar and Freedman should be reprimanded by the Bankruptcy Court. Pronto for both.

As for Sean Allen, anything he said after he was misled into testifying should be treated as, in essence, fruit of the poisonous tree. Clearly, it was the deposition testimony that forced him to change course.

Juan

They need to throw out everything Allen told them and everything they learned because of it.

rboud

How can the NCAA say they were unaware that Perez's deposition for the federal case was not going to be part of their investigation. Didn't this come out months ago that Allen was much more forthcoming in the deposition for fear of being jailed. Lying in a federal case will get you in the slammer. Many people lie to the NCAA because you won't end up in jail or even break any societal laws. The NCAA has been heavy handed throughout this process and now have egg on their face. Whatever tiny bit of credibility they may have had left after letting the OSU players participate in the Fiesta Bowl a few years back is now gone forever. UM will benefit from their rush to nail UM any way possible.

Fred

I'm betting they wouldn't have confirmed a lot of this without Allen.

cane4ever

I ban the ncaa from investions for 10 years plus probation until they find suitable replacements and a set of stable standards and guidlines

cane4ever

See that took all off 3 min to issue. Fair and speedy

JohnYonko

It is obvious that Coley has a BIG MOUTH. The "friends" he allegedly speaks with are immediately quoted by the press... What a coincidence... He is already burning both sides of the candle for his own purposes.

This guy is no friend of FSU or UM. Maybe he should hire one of those sky writing airplanes to blow smoke into the Tallahassee sky announcing, "I'VE BEEN OFFERED A JOB - I'VE BEEN OFFERED A JOB - I'VE BEEN OFFERED A JOB.

Please do us a favor, Coley. Take the $500,000 and stay in Tally.

Mike

Miami Penguin, please please tell me under what theory of law should Freedman be reprimanded. Right I thought so DAHHHHHHHH

G Money

It is time for the NCAA to put this baby to sleep. There is no way that they can honestly say that they have been fair in this entire process. How do you determine what evidence is clean versus what evidence has been forced from witnesses? They were on a witch hunt, they screwed up their investigation- now it is time for them to close the book on this sad chapter.

AnonymousCane

Perez is as sleazy as Mini-Me," I did nothing wrong," I think Shapiro said that at one point too,lol! If the deposition shows questions related to the NCAA witch hunt and not the bankruptcy case then the evidence speaks for it self!

AnonymousCane

FSU boards in melt down over the botched Now Corrupt Athletic Association investigation and the possibility of Coley coming to the U. Evidence... see post above by JohnY ON NO!, lol

Jo jo

So what if Allen met with the NCAA after his deposition under oath with Ms Perez.Whatever info they gleaned was/is still nonetheless "tainted".Pulling out some specific info will not remove what the NCAA has now already read or heard.IT IS CONTAMINATED/TAINTED.The entire investigation has therefore become infected and all parts are intertwined whether remotely or directly.Last......how can Ms Perez not think she did anything wrong when she was serving both sides/parties in a collegiate investigation?SHE was getting paid by the NCAA and her mistake was to submit bills for her NCAA homework.SHE knew she gave them privileged information and she EXPECTED to be paid for it.SHE KNEW PRECISELY WHAT SHE WAS DOING.Conflict of interest and she figured she d talk her way out of it legalspeech wise if it ever came up.Well.....thanks to Emmert...it came up and she ll suffer sanctions from Florida s Bar Association eventually.

AnonymousCane

No matterwhen Allen spoke to Now Corrupt Athletic Association investigators it would be considered, "fruits of the poisonous tree." The Now Corrupt Athletic Association has numerous lawyers that run the show and work for them so.....what do you expect?

A guy walks into a bar,(Pee Wee Allen?) sits down and has a few drinks, then he says to the bartender, "all lawyers are a..h...s," a guy who has been sitting at the other end of the bar says, "I take offense to that remark," the guy who made the remark says, "Why? Are you a lawyer?" the guy who is offended says, No, I'm an A..H..."

Must have been screwed by the Now Corrupt Athletic Association or Maria Perez!

AnonymousCane

I find it VERY INTERESTING that Rivals/Yahoo has posted the Charles Robinson hit piece again on their front page as an aside to the NCAA announcement of corruption within their ranks.

boe

Barry you are doing a great job with all the UM updates.

AnonymousCane

My guess and that is all it is.....is that the U will get a two year bowl ban, already done, a few scholarships maybe 9/10 over a three year period, some probation, that some coaches will be dinged, like Hurtt and Hill, that the players suspended both basketball and football and fines paid or benefits to be paid back (already done) will be the extent of this.

The worst is over! Highly doubt that there will be a third bowl ban.

If I was the U I would have lawyers working day and night to threaten lawsuits that will put the Now corrupt athletic association directly in the crosshairs!

AnonymousCane

I know this is true....Maria Elena Perez has already been turned into the Florida Bar Association for review of her professional ethics!

LOL I meant to say should be......lol!!!!!

 UGoCane

A good example of this is to bring this down to something that can be understood.

When we have a disease or contaminant, in any food that we consume the DOH in Atlanta looks for the source of the contamination and THROWS OUT ALL THE AFFECTED..be it lettuce, pork, beef, etc.
The DOH does not go in and throw out only what they THINK is tainted..ALL of that group is eliminated.

The evidence presented by the NCAA therefore is so tainted against the 'Canes that ALL has to be thrown out, or it opens up questions at the conclusion.

I agree Miami should open the negotiation for the conclusion of this fiasco by stating: We have taken our medicine and we are ready to move on...
That would be fair.
NOw sign off NCAA and let us play some football without threats hanging over our head..
Go 'Canes

dbc

Maria Perez, UM law school grad, is a sleaze. Her billing the NCAA is unethical and slimy. Boycott her services in the interest of our personal integrity.

lasvegasman

I do not see why UM would want to settle anything with The NCAA. The NCAA has no case and Miami should sue them for defamation. I think UM should also sue Robinson and his employer. These cases could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars and I am sure it would lead to the firing of the president of The NCAA.

The NCAA would be foolish to pursue penalties against UM.

Dequan could also sue The NCAA.

Miami can not sue The NCAA for the self-imposed penalties.

Jim Gallo

what are you going to sue for...telling the truth? Everyone is upset because the ncaa got information under oath without being a party to a subpeona...maria perez did what she was supposed to do...cast blame on UM....ncaa got "under oath" testimony that usually gets lies from the accused. If there is a conflict of interest thats between allen and perez...ncaa has nothing to do with that....ncaa will not settle anything I bet...the weight of the incriminating evidence is too great I bet.....i still dont know how paying a attorney for services rendered is against the law....why is that improper, it happens every day in courts..are there any attorneys here, lol

rboud

There's no way that the depositions wrongfully obtained are a small part of the NCAA's findings and Emmert knows it. He's establishing a negotiation position. Wrongfully obtained evidence leads you to other evidence you would never have found without the wrongfully obtained evidence It's like a tree branching out. All the branches of evidence will be removed with the large trunk because you have to cut everything obtained from the trunk and all the branches connected to it. Isn't that right, Mr. Gallo. UM will be penalized, but not nearly as harshly as may have been expected. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Gallo.

NJshoreCane

Emmert will not settle.
The worst is behind us, though.

NJshoreCane

Not that it's any surprise, but gallo's posts in this blog really exposes his allegience.

Why are fans of others so obsessed with us???

SJMPARMAN

An attorney has an ethical obligation to represent only one master, a particular client. When an attorney engages in representing more than one master, there has to be full and complete disclosure of that fact to all parties involved, including witnesses in a deposition.

If the attorney did not disclose her representation as an agent of the NCAA at any point during the bankruptcy deposition, there are serious ethical concerns about it propriety. If she mislead Sean Allen into believing this was only about the bankruptcy matter, when she was being a paid agent of the NCAA, then she violated her ethics in my opinion.

Further, given the fact that Shapiro had previously announced an intention to publish a book about UM, and she stands to gain fees from the sale of such royalties should that ever occur, there is a smell about any questions that were an abuse of the discovery process in the bankruptcy proceeding.

Whenever an attorney is representing multiple interests, full disclosure is required. Frankly, this is an example of a criminal defense attorney who was out of her league handling a bankruptcy hearing and future royalties from a book deal. Unless that deposition clearly reflected the conflict of interests involved, I doubt she won't face some sanction from the bar.

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