COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri men’s basketball coach Frank Haith is joining the Miami-driven effort to throw out a pending infractions case that largely relies on testimony by a convicted felon and has been ridiculed for the mistakes of NCAA investigators.
Attorney Wally Bley said Monday that Haith filed his own legal motion asking the NCAA to dismiss its case against the Tigers coach, joining the University of Miami and three former assistant coaches who have made similar requests.
The NCAA says that Haith, who coached in Coral Gables from 2004 to 2011, gave his assistant coach Jake Morton money to buy booster Nevin Shapiro’s silence over alleged recruiting violations, rather than report Shapiro’s shakedown attempt to university leaders. Haith is accused of failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance.
Miami, former Hurricanes football assistant Aubrey Hill and former Haith assistants Jorge Fernandez and Jake Morton all cite the NCAA’s admitted investigative missteps when its employees improperly sought to pay Shapiro’s lawyer for help. Shapiro’s attorney subsequently used her subpoena power — a legal tool the NCAA lacks — to depose witnesses at its request.
Miami faces a charge of lack of institutional control, while Hill and Fernandez are charged with ethical conduct violations. Morton, now at Western Kentucky, also reportedly accepted at least $6,000 in “supplemental income from Shapiro.
Bley declined to provide a copy of Haith’s motion, and said the coach would not make public his formal response to a notice of allegations received from the NCAA in late February. Haith has 90 days to respond to the Committee on Infractions, which expects to hold a hearing on the Miami allegations in June.
A Missouri team spokesman referred questions about the response to Bley.
Shapiro has said he provided dozens of Miami athletes, coaches and recruits with improper benefits from 2002 through 2010. The NCAA pegs the total value of Shapiro’s impermissible benefits at $170,000. The gifts reportedly ranged from free meals and tennis shoes to used appliances and jewelry.
Shapiro is serving a 20-year prison term for masterminding a $930 million Ponzi scheme.