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Another NCAA twist: UM player goes to Coral Gables police to report NCAA

With his college eligibility now in question, University of Miami defensive end Dyron Dye has brought his issues with the NCAA to the Coral Gables Police Department.

Dye and his attorney, Darren Heitner, on Friday filed an incident report in which Dye alleges being “coerced” by former NCAA investigator Rich Johanningmeier to provide answers that would aid the NCAA’s attempts to confirm incriminating information in its investigation of the UM athletic department.

A spokesperson for the Coral Gables police department said Monday he was unable to immediately say whether the department would investigate the matter.

According to the incident report, which was obtained by The Miami Herald through a public records request, Heitner said Dye met with Johanningmeier – who is now retired – in August 2011 and then met with him a second time, later that day, at the NCAA’s request.

In the report, Heitner said that “prior to the start of the second interview, Mr. Johanningmeier coerced Mr. Dye into providing favorable answers for his investigation.”

Dye, according to Heitner's statement in the incident report, “did not recall specifics of what Mr. Johanningmeier was asking. Mr. Dye stated that he felt intimidated by Mr. Johanningmeier. Mr. Heitner stated that Mr. Johanningmeier threatened Mr. Dye’s football eligibility if he did not cooperate during the interview.”

The NCAA met with Dye for a third time last week to try to resolve inconsistencies between what he said in his second interview with the NCAA in 2011, and what he said in an affidavit that Dye wrote on behalf of Carol City High and former UM assistant coach Aubrey Hill, who has been charged with unethical conduct by the NCAA.

The NCAA could decide to accuse Dye of an unethical conduct violation, which could result in him being suspended or ruled ineligible. The NCAA has not told Dye or his attorneys when it will make a decision.

Dye's attorneys, Heitner and Richard Wolfe, declined to comment about the filing of the incident report.

According to sources, Dye and former UM players Olivier Vernon, Eric Moncur, Randy Phillips and Jacory Harris signed affidavits on behalf of Hill.

Like Dye and Harris, Vernon objected to the NCAA’s interview tactics.

“The NCAA treated us like criminals,” Vernon told The Herald last week.

"When [Johanningmeier] asked the question, he made it seem like he wanted you to answer it as to where you did something wrong," Vernon said. "He flipped it on us… Sometimes you blurt out something that you were pressured into saying. He pressured us a lot more.”

In his affidavit for Hill, Dye said Johanningmeier "continually threatened me if I did [not] comply with him.. I felt intimidated by Mr. Johanningmeier and I was also concerned regarding the possibility of losing my scholarship and athletic eligibility....

"I felt compelled to testify in a manner that would be consistent with the manner in which Mr. Johanningmeier was directing me in order to keep my eligibility…. I feel it is unfair the NCAA has twisted my testimony to use it negatively against coach Hill.”

He added that “I have learned that Mr. Johanningmeier has employed similar intimidating tactics during interviews with student-athletes.”

Harris echoed those sentiments.

Dye said contrary to claims in UM's Notice of Allegations, he did not stay at Hill's home, was not provided meals by Hill including joining him for a meal at Grazie Italian Cuisine; did not get transportation from him "halfway between Orlando and Miami during an unofficial visit."

He also said "to my the best of my knowledge," Hill "did not arrange for Shapiro to pay for bowling, beverages and meals at Lucky Strikes on Miami Beach --- another charge against UM and Hill in the Notice of Allegations.

Johanningmeier, who retired in May 2012, and the NCAA previously were sued for defamation by two former Alabama coaches; a $30 million judgment for one coach was tossed by a court on technical grounds.

And he is also targeted in an ongoing lawsuit by former Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill, a suit in which Johanningmeier is accused of knowingly making false claims and using information from a biased Mississippi booster.

(Thanks to my esteemed Herald colleague, Jay Weaver, for his assistance on this story.)

We'll have a Heat post later.