I thought I'd make it a bit easier for you to dissect and put in perspective if I transcribed, word for word, what UM coach Al Golden told reporters this morning.
It took me a while, but here it is. Here are the questions, and replies.
I continue to be impressed by Golden, but I am somewhat bewildered that the UM administration would not have briefed him on Nevin Shapiro by this point. Even if he didn't know when he accepted the UM job, you'd think he would have known by this point. We wrote an article about Shapiro and his allegations in late August 2010.
Did departed UM AD Kirby Hocutt not tell him? And if the answer is no, then why didn't current AD Shawn Eichorst tell him? Did Al really not know about Shapiro? (actually, Golden makes it seem like Eichorst was surprised about NCAA stuff) If anybody can shed light, feel free.
One more thing. Here's the prepared written statement UM sent out on this:
University of Miami statement on NCAA investigation
When Nevin Shapiro made his allegations nearly a year ago, he and his attorneys refused to provide any facts to the University of Miami. The University notified the NCAA Enforcement officials of these allegations. We are fully cooperating with the NCAA and are conducting a joint investigation. The University of Miami takes these matters very seriously.
Here's my transcript
Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011
Obviously we’ve learned of a situation here that we’re working through right now. I’m as surprised as all of you and I’m learning and gathering information as you are.
Q: How much did you know about this at all?
A: “None. Zero. Absolutely nothing.
I just found out, just found out. Clearly there were some articles yesterday. But in terms of contact with the NCAA, I haven’t had any. Our AD and president have, but other than that, it’s a joint effort, it’s a cooperative effort. Once we learned of the allegations we wanted to make sure we’re doing our due diligence and obviously want to cooperate with the NCAA on this.’’
Q: Any idea how long the NCAA will be on campus?
A: “I have no idea. I really don’t know. My job is to support that. Clearly, this is not aligned with the University’s mission or goals or values; it’s not aligned with Mr. [Shawn] Eichorst or the president [Donna Shalala]. It’s certainly not mine. And again, I’ve been in this profession for 16, 17 years and haven’t had any NCAA issues. It’s important that if there are things there we’re honest, we don’t compromise our integrity and that we move forward. Again, ever since I’ve been here, the kids have been incredible. We’ll make sure we get to the bottom of it.”
Q: If there are current players that were active in some elicit behavior, what would your message be to them?
“Well, to be honest, to be truthful, and move forward. Again, I’m learning of it, so it’s hard for me to comment on it, but as we move forward there’s only one way to go here, and that’s to be honest. Clearly, we don’t need these types of things to be a great team. We don’t need it. We have 24 commitments right now and not one of them have taken an official visit, not one of them have been on our campus. They’re aligned with our core values, what we want to get done, the types of principles and cultures that we’ll have here, that are obviously congruent with our coaching staff and the direction of our football program. Again, this is tough for me to discuss guys, because this happened all before I got here and certainly Mr. Eichorst feels the same way. So we take this stuff, seriously, but at the same time, boy, we’ve made so much progress in the last eight months that we don’t want to go backwards.”
Q: What are you going to do to ensure this doesn’t happen again?
“We do something everyday. I can’t speak for the previous coaches that have been here, but for instance, every players has a ‘Cane Code’ and in that Cane Code we talk about extra benefits, we talk about agents, we talk about different things. So, there’s not only a compliance component, there’s an educational component. Everyday this summer our kids get an email from me about the things that have occurred in Chapel Hill or at Georgia Tech or at Ohio State, so we’re going to continue to be proactive and we’ve got to make sure third parties stay away from our student-athletes. Again, I said this to Shawn yesterday: Since I’ve been here, this is the tightest compliance department I’ve been around. And what I mean by that is they are strong, they have incredible manpower, they’re on top of everything. And for me that’s good as a head coach – because it helps you sleep at night. Dave Reed and his group do a tremendous job.”
Q: If you knew then what you know now would you still be here?
A: “Absolutely. This University of Miami, it’s a special place. It is. I can’t tell you enough that this is an incredible place and that you have a chance to do so many wonderful things, whether it’s academically or from a football standpoint. So we’re not going to let this knock us backwards. Again, we have great kids on this team. To the extent that they may have made a mistake, OK, that’s fine. But that’s also part of growing up. And what we have to teach them now is that if something did occur, let’s be honest and move forward.’’
Q: What was your emotion when you found this out?
A: “Well, you can probably see it on my face right now that I’m disappointed but I’m more disappointed because of the strides that we have made as a football program and the culture and understanding – how to conduct ourselves in the community, and those types of things. And how hard these kids have worked and how much leadership the seniors have provided, so we’ve made great strides. Again, I don’t know the extent of it, but we’re going to look at it like we’re disappointed in it, but we’re not discouraged. We’re going to keep moving forward.’’
Q: Have any of your players been interviewed or do you expect them to be interviewed by the NCAA?
A: “Well, I’m sure they will. Again, I’m learning this as you guys are. I’m no different than you. Again, they’re not going to include me in this process. And to be honest with you, what we’ve learned from some of the other incidents that have occurred recently is that they’re not permitted to discuss it with me. So, if they do contact a student-athlete they’re going to talk to them specifically and not include me in the situation.”
Q: Are you concerned at all that there might be an effect on commitments, recruits or current players that might get worried and transfer?
A: “I don’t think so. I really don’t believe it’s to that level. Clearly, the student-athletes that are committed to us know who we are, know what our core values are, know what we’re committed to, so again, the timing is unfortunate because we’ve been doing so many great things. Our kids are doing a great job in practice. Recruiting is going well. So the timing is unfortunate. But again, if the allegations, if some prove to be true, then we’ll get it corrected.”
Q: How do you keep them focused?
A: “We just have to. We have to. I mean, that’s part of being tough and having unity and staying together. We’ll stay focused. I’m certain of that. Again, we’re disappointed, but we’re not discouraged. There’s going to be a life lesson here if, if.. Again, we’re talking about allegations from a man that’s behind bars now. If these do hold some truth then we’ll deal with it. There’s no other way to do it.
Q: The NCAA can’t talk to you, but can you talk to your kids [about it]?
A: “No, no, no, no. The NCAA, if they’re doing an investigation, they will not have me interfere with their interaction with our student athletes.”
Q: So you can’t say to your kids, ‘Is this true? Tell me what happened?’’’
A: “Nope. Nope. I’m out of it. I’ll be completely out of it. And we want it that way. We want to be cooperative. Again, it’s unfortunate but it’s hard for me to stand up and defend something that occurred, you know, three, four, five, six years ago. My record with the NCAA, our staff’s record, our commitment to our student-athletes since we’ve been here. It speaks for itself and we’re going to leave it at that.’’
Q: Players weren’t available today. Was that just for today, or until you figure out what’s going on?
A: “I’m living day by day right now. We just had the meeting where everybody was told that we just make sure we cooperate and all that. So I don’t think it was fair to have them just come out here. We’re getting ready to practice so from that standpoint we didn’t think it was fair for the kids.
Q: Were there multiple NCAA investigators on campus – more than one or just one?
A: “Don’t know. Can’t tell you that.’’
Q: There were reports that there has been here an internal investigation about this? Is that true?
A: “It is true. That’s what I started with. It’s a joint venture. As soon as Shawn got wind of something he made sure we’re making sure that we look back at all the years and his involvement with UM. We’re doing all the things we should be doing.’’
Q: So the internal investigation started now? I didn’t start previous to maybe you or Shawn getting here?
A: “I don’t know that. I don’t know the extent of that. This is the first I’ve heard of it, so I don’t know.’’
Q: How tough is it to police guys like that [Nevin Shapiro] around the program? This guy was on the sideline. How tough is it?
A: “It’s tough. I’m going to reserve judgment until I learn more. But we’ve got to continue to do that. But clearly, we’re not immune to it. If it can happen in small college towns across the country it could certainly happen in Miami. I’m going to learn and see what the facts hold and we’ll go from there.’’
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN