The NCAA dropped a bombshell Wednesday afternoon, admitting it improperly obtained information through Nevin Shapiro's lawyer for the purposes of its investigation into alleged violations by the University of Miami's football and men's basketball programs.
NCAA President Mark Emmert told reporters in a national teleconference that college sports governing body has hired outside council to investigate its findings and will not move forward with a Notice of Allegations toward UM or any parties involved until it is completed.
Using phrases such as "grossly in appropriate" and "shocking," Emmert said the NCAA must sift through the information improperly obtained and throw it out. He said he hopes that process doesn't take any longer than a week to two weeks.
"We can’t have the NCAA bringing forward allegations collected by processes no one can stand for," Emmert said. "We have to go through all of the evidence to determine what has and has not been appropriately collected and influenced by improper conduct. One of the questions that has to be answered is 'What was the nature of that contractual arrangement [with Nevin Shapiro's lawyer Maria Elena Perez]? What was all the activity that she was involved with? How did this individual engage in these activities on our behalf?"
Because the NCAA does not have subpoena power, Emmert said NCAA investigators improperly used Shapiro's lawyer to depose individuals and question them in Shapiro's bankruptcy case. Emmert said the NCAA didn't learn until recently it had been going about its investigation this way -- despite multiple reports in many publications including The Miami Herald.
How did the NCAA learn investigators had been acting inappropriately? Receipts turned in by investigators for legal work by Perez, Emmert said.
Asked if this could be a mistrial and help Miami, Emmert responded: "It's premature to answer that question... This is a shocking affair."
UM President Donna Shalala released the following statement moments ago in reaction to the NCAA's findings.
“Since the University first alerted the NCAA to the possibility of violations more than two years ago, we have been cooperative and compliant with the NCAA and, I believe, a model for how institutions should partner with NCAA staff during investigations. In addition to encouraging current and former staff members and student-athletes to cooperate with investigators, we have provided thousands of documents to the enforcement staff.
"I am frustrated, disappointed and concerned by President Emmert’s announcement today that the integrity of the investigation may have been compromised by the NCAA staff.
"As we have done since the beginning, we will continue to work with the NCAA and now with their outside investigator hoping for a swift resolution of the investigation and our case.
"I want to thank our community for their continued support and patience. Stand with the U.”