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UM President Donna Shalala releases video statement, says 15 current athletes have questions over eligibility (transcript included)

CORAL GABLES -- UM President Donna Shalala delivered a video address to students and the community Monday afternoon. We have the complete transcript and a few quick points from her 5-minute commentary on the ongoing NCAA investigation. 

KEY QUICK POINTS FROM SHALALA
> NCAA Investigators made it on campus Aug. 15 and conducted interviews with current student-athletes, coaches and staff.
> Shalala said 15 student-athletes currently have their eligibility under review and the hope is to move quickly, but thoroughly.
> UM retained outside counsel familiar with NCAA investigations.

COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT (VIDEO BELOW)

"This past Friday was move-in day for thousands of freshmen at the University of Miami. I joined many new Canes as they lugged overflowing suit cases, moved into the residence halls and hugged their parents good-bye. So much optimism, excitement and pride. I thought of those moments over the weekend as I continued to work with our senior staff in the ongoing NCAA investigation.

"I think of those eager young students ready to embrace the opportunity for growing and learning at our university. That is what the University of Miami is about. The young men and women who come here to achieve their dreams. And there are thousands more on our campuses, hundreds of thousands of graduates, who define Miami not nearly as a place, but as an idea.

"The past eight days have been difficult for many members of our community. As I said Wednesday, I'm saddened and disappointed by the allegations leveled against some current and former members of the university community. However, I'm heartened by the kind of displays of support in recent days, phone calls, texts messages, emails and letters from so many of you.

"When our values are called into question as they have been this past week, we have only one option -- do what is right and have the confidence in tomorrow. We will not let others define us.

"The allegations leveled against current and former Miami student-athletes and coaches are serious, and we are treating them with the priority and urgency they warrant. I know there are many unanswered questions about the investigation, about the process and consequences. With NCAA investigators on campus over the past week and with so many unknowns, there's just not much we can say beyond our written official statements.

"The NCAA has instructed us not to comment on specific details of the investigation. It's frustrating for us, for me to be unable to speak more freely or to answer questions. However, we must protect the integrity of the investigation and have patience as the work proceeds.

"I am able to share with you some important points of information:

"I was notified that the NCAA would be on campus on Aug. 15 to investigate potential violations. I insisted on complete and honest cooperation by every member of the Miami athletic department including administrators, coaches, staff and student athletes.

"We retained outside counsel -- outside counsel which specializes in NCAA cases to assist the university in all aspects of the investigation.

"The NCAA enforcement staff in a joint investigation with the university conducted several campus interviews last week and we expect the investigation to continue.

"The Miami Athletic Compliance staff in a joint effort with the NCAA is now beginning the process of reviewing the eligibility of 15 current student-athletes. With the season fast approaching, I know our coaches, players and fans are eager to know the results. The process, however, must be deliberate and thorough to ensure its integrity.

"I'm proud of how our leaders, staff and coaches and student-athletes have handled themselves in the past week. We have been open and cooperative with investigators.

"I should also note the NCAA welcomed our request to conduct a joint investigation and [NCAA] President Mark Emmert commented publicly on Friday that we are being extremely cooperative. Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst has been remarkable in his leadership of our department through these very difficult days.

"The circumstances have also imposed a great deal on the shoulders of [football] coach Al Golden and [basketball coach] Jim Larranga, all of our coaches. We are fortunate there are no better leaders of young men and women. Their insistence in integrity in their programs will help us move forward.

"I ask all of our friends and supporters to continue to passionately support our student athletes who do the right thing and represent the university so wonderfully to the world. We cannot let the actions of some, define the many as we have so much to be proud of.

"I love the University of Miami. It is my home. My colleagues and I are committed to academic and athletic programs of the highest integrity. Like our new freshmen unpacking in their residence halls who are filled with promise, we will be stronger, we will be better. We will move through the process thoroughly. We will learn where there are lessons to be learned. We will move on with a commitment to the highest levels of professionalism and integrity in everything we do. Thank you."

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