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3 posts from June 14, 2013

June 14, 2013

NCAA infractions hearing ends for UM, former coaches, assistants; decision day next

INDIANAPOLIS -- After nearly three years of being chased around by Nevin Shapiro's web of allegations, there's only one more lap to go for the University of Miami's football and men's basketball programs.

Al GoldenFriday afternoon at 4:30 p.m., the doors to the second-floor conference room in the back of the Westin Hotel -- hosting the NCAA's infraction committee hearings with UM -- swung open and football coach Al Golden was the first person out the door.

Are you guys done?

"Yes," Golden fired back as he raced toward the exits with a face of determination and luggage in hand.

Full Speed Ahead!

Well, not exactly. One lap remains after 16 1/2 hours of intense hearings: the decision on penalties from the eight-person panel headed by Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky, which will take at least six weeks or longer to be announced.

CBS Sports.com college football analyst Dennis Dodd, who arrived into town Friday, covered the USC hearings back in February 2010. He said those lasted three days. Should we make anything out of the fact these proceedings for UM went by faster?

Nobody really knows. The good news, though, is that this will all be in Miami's rear-view-mirror soon.

"I don't think there's any exact time frame that the committee has [to reach a decision], but we certainly hope we would be done prior to the beginning of the football season," said Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford, who attended both days of the hearings in support of Miami and was the only person to speak.

"It's been an extraordinarily long investigation. I've said it before: I think the sheer length of the investigation has been a penalty in itself."

A source said Friday it was not a pleasant experience for the parties on trial.

Another source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, described it as “a very humbling experience."

"It was an intense process that covered a lot of material," said the source. "It didn't include any surprises, just all of the same stuff we've talked about for months and months and months."

Despite admitted mistakes by the NCAA enforcement staff that led to 20 percent of the case being tossed out by an external review committee (nearly all of those were football charges pertaining to Kyle Wright and former assistant equipment manager Sean Pee "Wee" Allen according to a source), the infractions committee went hard on the other 80 percent of the case.

Because of the amount of leaks involved in the case and high volume of news reports that have come out about it, a source said everyone allowed into the hearings not only had to wear a special blue wrist band to get through the doors but also had to sign an agreement they wouldn’t discuss the case or face severe consequences.

UM hasn't and probably won't come until an announcement of penalties is made by the NCAA. If they are over the top or worse than Miami expects, I've been told Miami will likely appeal the decision.

Florida Bar contacts NCAA regarding Shapiro's lawyer's tactics during UM case

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Florida Bar's Grievance Committee has contacted the NCAA in regards to Nevin Shapiro's attorney Maria Elena Perez and the subpoena power she abused to help college sports' governing body interview key witnesses during its 23-month investigation into the University of Miami, a source has confirmed.

The Grievance Committee is trying to determine whether there is enough evidence to move forward against Perez and if she should be disciplined, the source said. 

The complaint was first filed back in January and the entire process -- from Bar investigation, Grievance Committee investigation, and finding, filing of formal complaint and disciplined ordered -- can take up to a year.

Perez was paid $19,000 for her services by the NCAA in what was ruled to be an improper relationship according to an external review committee hired by the NCAA back in January. The committee decided to toss out about 20 percent of the enforcement staff's case against Miami and other parties involved because the information was improperly obtained by Perez and the NCAA enforcement staff.

If probable cause is found by the Grievance Committee, a formal complaint could be filed against Perez in state supreme court.

Day 2 of UM, NCAA infractions committee hearings underway; focus on Hurtt, Hill, football

INDIANAPOLIS -- They're back behind closed doors this morning.

The University of Miami's contingent -- led by President Donna Shalala -- was back in a second floor conference room at the Westin Hotel at approximately 8 a.m. Friday to continue the hearings into the allegations brought forth by former booster and now jailed ponzi-schemer Nevin Shapiro.

With Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith having checked out of the hotel Thursday evening it is strongly believed the focus of discussions have switched to football today. Haith's former basketball assistants Jake Morton and Jorge Fernandez also haven't been spotted in the hotel today. 

Former football assistants Clint Hurtt and Aubrey Hill, however, are in the conference room. I've been told by a source the infractions committee is trying to clear out the individual allegations first before shifting its focus to UM and issues like lack of institutional control, etc.

From what a source told me, it hasn't been a pleasant experience for the parties involved. Despite the mistakes the NCAA enforcement staff made and the 20 percent of the case that was tossed out, the infractions committee is going hard at the other 80 percent of the case that wasn't deemed tainted.

By the way, if you're wondering how these hearings work here is a quick explanation from the NCAA:

> Documents with all pertinent information from the 23-month investigation conducted by the NCAA enforcement staff are prepared and submitted to the Committee on Infractions (8-person panel) and everyone else involved in the case (UM, Haith, Hurtt, Hill, etc.).

> The hearing is run by the chair of the committee, currently Conference-USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky.

> Similar to a court proceeding, all involved parties, including UM and the enforcement staff (made up of three enforcement staff members) give opening statements. Both the enforcement staff and the institution and other involved parties make presentations on each individual allegation. Infractions committee members ask questions. After all allegations are discussed, each party offers closing statements.

> The committee’s main job is to reach the correct decision, so the hearing takes as much or as little time as necessary. The committee wants to be sure that when the hearing is complete, everyone in the room has had the opportunity to say everything they need to say.

> The committee deliberates in private to determine its findings and what penalties should be assessed. The committee’s report, prepared with the assistance of NCAA staff separate from enforcement, is released eight to 12 weeks after a hearing.