NCAA’s 2-day Miami hearing over
The NCAA hearings to determine if the University of Miami committed major infractions involving former booster Nevin Shapiro ended Friday after 16 1/2 hours over two days. The Committee on Infractions typically releases its report six to eight weeks after a hearing.
"I know everybody’s glad to get it to this point," Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford said. "Everybody will also be glad when it’s fully culminated and hopefully that will be sooner rather than later. Certainly the hope would be prior to the beginning of another football season. It’s been an extraordinary long investigation."
The NCAA alleges improper benefits went to 72 players, three recruits and 12 "friends and family members." The improper benefits, including cash, memorabilia, strip-club outings, yacht rides and even paid for prostitutes, were distributed between 2002-10. Shapiro is serving a 20-year sentence for his role in a $930 million Ponzi scheme.
The NCAA began its investigations in 2011. Virtually all of the individuals who were named by Shapiro in claims published by Yahoo Sports in August 2011 are no longer at the university, and several people the NCAA wanted to talk refused to cooperate.
"I think it is (a relief) for everybody involved," Swofford said. "I’ve said before, I think the sheer length of the investigation has been a penalty in itself."
The Hurricanes have already imposed penalties on themselves. Miami’s football team has missed three postseason games — two bowl games and what would have been an appearance in last season’s Atlantic Coast Conference championship game — in response to the investigation. Football coach Al Golden also is holding back a number of scholarships from the 2013 roster and eight players were suspended last season for varying lengths. Two basketball players were also suspended.
School President Donna Shalala, Swofford, Golden, athletic director Blake James were in attendance at a downtown Indianapolis hotel both days. Former football assistants Clint Hurtt and Aubrey Hill were present Thursday, then met with the committee Friday morning and left at 11:15 a.m.
All Miami officials, Hurtt, Hill and committee chair Britton Banowsky declined comment.
NCAA President Mark Emmert does not sit on the committee and was not present either day.
The ordeal was complicated on both sides as the NCAA admitted it botched aspects of the investigation. There were allegations its investigators intimidated witnesses and that they improperly collected information using the subpoena powers of Shapiro’s own attorney in a separate bankruptcy case.
Shalala previously called the NCAA probe "unethical and unprofessional" and attempted to have it dismissed. Former NCAA enforcement chief Julie Roe Lach was forced out in March after a report showed the NCAA paid Shapiro attorney Maria Elena Perez more than $19,000 to collect evidence in the case despite objections from the NCAA’s legal department and against NCAA rules.
The NCAA does not have subpoena power, and has said it tossed out some details from the notice of allegations against the Hurricanes. Miami does not believe the NCAA has stricken enough, and it has accused the NCAA of using "impermissible and unethical" tactics in interviews with former basketball coach Frank Haith and former assistant basketball coach Jake Morton.
Now the waiting begins as the committee creates its report and contemplates further sanctions. The University of Southern California was cited for a lack of institutional control in June 2010 after a three-day February hearing and was hit with the harshest penalty in NCAA history since Southern Methodist received the "death penalty" in 1986.