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Former UM coaches await their fate; Fins, Heat, Marlins notes

A few readers have asked about the fate of the former UM assistants implicated in the Nevin Shapiro scandal. Here’s an update:


UM officials and their fans aren’t the only ones nervously awaiting their notice of allegations from the NCAA, which could come at any time.

Former UM employees accused of wrongdoing will get separate notices of allegation at the same time UM does, people involved in the investigation confirmed.  The NCAA also confirmed that timetable. And for parents of UM players, that can't happen soon enough. (More on that later.)

That group likely will include former assistant football coaches Clint Hurtt and Aubrey Hill, and possibly Joe Pannunzio and Jeff Stoutland, who are both on Nick Saban’s Alabama staff. Ex-basketball assistants Jorge Fernandez and potentially Jake Morton also are expected to receive notices, and now-Missouri coach Frank Haith might, too, depending on the NCAA’s findings. The NCAA has forbidden all from commenting.

Two former UM assistants were forced to resign elsewhere this year --- Hill at Florida, Fernandez at Marshall. Morton was shifted from Western Kentucky’s coaching staff to director of basketball operations, though the school says that’s unrelated to the NCAA investigation. Hill and Fernandez are suffering from the fallout, their careers in limbo.

The allegations against Hurtt are worse than those against Hill, who was accused by Nevin Shapiro only of being present at Shapiro’s home for a recruiting visit by Ray-Ray Armstrong, Dyron Dye and Andre DuBose. Hurtt, by contrast, was accused of assorted violations: being at that meeting; taking a $5000 interest-free loan from Shapiro, which he repaid; and twice bringing large groups of recruits to a Miami Beach restaurant, using Shapiro’s credit card.

So why is Hurtt still on Louisville’s Orange Bowl-bound staff? An associate said Louisville told Hurtt it will stand by him, at least for now, as long as he tells the truth. According to a friend, Hurtt expects to be punished for the loan, at the very least.

Yahoo! previously reported that Pannunzio (now Alabama’s director of football operations) set up Matt Patchan’s 2007 recruiting visit to Shapiro’s home. But an associate said Shapiro never implicated him because they were close and Pannunzio introduced Shapiro to a friend who lost a lot of money in Shapiro’s Ponzi scheme. Shapiro’s only known allegation against Stoutland was that he attended the Patchan visit at Shapiro’s home.

Sources said Haith told the NCAA he had no knowledge of any violations by Morton (who is accused of paying money to a DeQuan Jones family member, then returning it) or Fernandez, who was punished for allegedly providing frequent flyer miles for a flight for Reggie Johnson’s mother and reportedly for a transportation violation involving Durand Scott. But we hear the NCAA has continued to search hard for any potential violations by Haith, amid Shapiro’s claims that he paid for dinners and strip club visits they made together.

Besides the Jones allegation – which the NCAA has vigorously tried to corroborate – Fernandez and Morton also were asked to address claims they were with Shapiro when Shapiro paid for entertainment for former AAU coach Moe Hicks.   

For the assistant coaches, the process will be similar to the one UM will undertake. The coaches will have three months to respond to the allegations before going before the infractions committee. Penalties could come two to four months later.

A few of the former UM assistants might face show/cause penalties, which means any penalties imposed on a coach involved in major rules violations will remain in force if he is hired by another school. Those coaches can be hired by another school but most aren’t during the length of their penalty, essentially blackballing them from the industry.

Parents of four former suspended UM players (Olivier Vernon, Jacory Harris, Marcus Forston and Ray-Ray Armstrong) have spoken out that the coaches need to be punished. “In law enforcement, it’s called culpable negligence for their actions,” Vernon’s father, Lascelles, a Miami Beach police officer, said this season. “Aubrey came to my house and said he was taking Olivier out. We didn’t know it was to Nevin Shapiro’s residence.”

“You can’t let these coaches get away with this,” Albert Armstrong said. “It was Clint Hurtt and Aubrey Hill and those individuals that walked those kids into negative stuff. They should call and apologize to them and they haven’t done that.”

UM continues to hope the former assistants will be held more responsible for their violations than UM is.



### Worrisome with the Patriots visiting: Dolphins linebackers Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett allowed all six passes thrown against them to be completed, for 74 yards, against Seattle. That cannot happen again Sunday against tight end Aaron Hernandez and other Patriots tight ends and running backs. But coach Joe Philbin correctly noted they have been generally good in coverage this year – Burnett is ranked third among outside linebackers, Dansby 11th among inside linebackers, according to Pro Football Focus.

### Nolan Carroll and RJ Stanford split time at cornerback opposite Sean Smith last Sunday, but Stanford said Carroll got most of the first-team snaps this week.

### With Charles Barkley saying Dwyane Wade is “starting to lose his talent and has to learn how to play below the basket,” the real issue is his struggling midrange game. He’s shooting 26 percent on three-to-nine footers (he has been 44 to 55 percent every year) and 33 percent on 10 to 15 footers, despite hiring a shooting coach.

### Livan Hernandez, 37, has approached the Marlins about pitching out of their bullpen next year. He was 4-1 with a 6.42 ERA last season. Miami hasn’t ruled it out… The Marlins say they will give Chris Coghlan another chance to compete in center with Justin Ruggiano, Gorkys Hernandez, Bryan Peterson, and he also may get a look at second and third base next spring. The Marlins say they aren't pursuing high priced center fielders such as Michael Bourn or Angel Pagan.