There could be trouble on the horizon for Frank Haith.
A CBSSports.com report released Monday afternoon suggests the former Miami basketball coach, hired at Missouri before the 2011-12 season, is expected to be charged with unethical conduct and failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance during his tenure in Coral Gables, Fla., as a result of an NCAA investigation of numerous alleged violations involving former rogue booster Nevin Shapiro.
According to the report, Haith will be charged with unethical conduct because the NCAA failed to believe a story that payments to assistant coaches intended for camp money weren’t used to repay Shapiro. Haith will be charged with a failure to promote an atmosphere for compliance, the report said, because of unpermitted airline travel given to family of two players from a member of Haith’s staff, as well as for dialogue between Shapiro and players.
But there’s anger in the Haith camp. After the report was released, Michael Buckner, one of the coach’s lawyers based in Pompano Beach, Fla., told the South Florida Sun Sentinel: “Whoever leaked that or communicated that to CBSSportsline is violating the NCAA confidentiality provisions. And if the NCAA had made a conclusion, we would have received a notice of allegations already. Based on what we know about the evidence, there should not be any allegations against coach Haith. … We’re dealing with someone’s reputation. And isn’t it curious that only something about coach Haith has been leaked or talked about and the basketball part of the case was the smallest portion of the case.”
Later, on Tuesday morning, Buckner released a statement criticizing the leak.
“Any speculation or information attributed to anonymous sources cannot be relied on until the NCAA makes a final decision on the evidence and issues the notice to the University of Miami and any other persons at-risk in the case,” it read. “It is unfortunate that CBSSports.com’s unnamed source believed violating the NCAA confidentiality rules was worthwhile. … The report did not advance anyone’s interests (except the source’s) and is making a mockery of what is supposed to be a fair process.”
On Monday night, Haith addressed the report during his weekly radio show in Columbia, Mo.
“We’re in constant conversation with the NCAA,” he said. “But I’m bound by confidentiality in this process, so it’s inappropriate to say anything other than that.”
The potential for NCAA violations has loomed over Haith almost since he arrived at Missouri. He guided the Tigers to a 30-4 regular-season record and a Big 12 tournament title before losing to No. 15 seed Norfolk State in the Round of 64 last March. He was named the Associated Press Coach of the Year.
In August 2011, shortly after a Yahoo! Sports investigation detailed Miami’s alleged violations, reaction in Missouri to Haith’s connection was guarded. David Wasinger, a St. Louis-based lawyer and former member of Missouri’s board of curators who spoke critically of the coach’s hire when it was announced, was one who remained outspoken.
“We’ve hired him, and we have to support him and wish him well,” Wasinger told FOXSportsMidwest.com then. “But we don’t want the program to go down this path.”
Currently, the Tigers are 13-4 and 2-2 in the Southeastern Conference. They are ranked No. 22 in the latest Associated Press poll.