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Miami accused of 'lack of institutional control'

CORAL GABLES — Miami faces a charge of "lack of institutional control," and the NCAA believes three former Miami assistants provided false or misleading information during its probe, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

The notice of allegations was delivered to Miami late Tuesday. Neither Miami nor the NCAA commented on what they contain.

The charge of "lack of institutional control" can draw the harshest penalties. It revolves around the school allegedly failing to monitor Nevin Shapiro, a booster currently in prison for running a Ponzi scheme who said he provided cash, gifts and other items to football and men's basketball players.

The school has 90 days to reply. The earliest it could get before the infractions committee likely is August. That means penalties likely won't be announced, at the earliest, until October. The investigation lasted about two years and included a revelation that the NCAA paid Shapiro's attorney for information, breaking its own rules.

Miami already has penalized itself. Three basketball players and 13 football players missed games and/or paid restitution. Its football program sat out two bowl games and an ACC tittle game and reduced scholarships and home visits by coaches.

Monday, university president Donna Shalala said those penalties are enough. Tuesday night, she released a statement criticizing the notice of allegations without disclosing its details.

"Many of the allegations …remain unsubstantiated," the statement read. "Many of the charges brought forth are based on the word of a man who made a fortune by lying. The NCAA enforcement staff acknowledged to the University that if Nevin Shapiro, a convicted con man, said something more than once, it considered the allegation 'corroborated.'

"Most of the sensationalized media accounts of Shapiro's claims are found nowhere. … The NCAA enforcement staff could not find evidence of prostitution, expensive cars for players, expensive dinners paid for by a booster, player bounty payments, rampant alcohol and drug use."

In addition, Shalala said the NCAA did not interview Paul Dee. Dee, who died May 12, was Miami's athletic director during a portion of the time when Shapiro allegedly provided benefits.

Meanwhile, the NCAA, according to the report, said Clint Hurtt, Aubrey Hill and Jorge Fernandez violated "principles of ethical conduct." Hurtt and Hill were on the football staff, Fernandez the men's basketball staff.

Hurtt currently is the lead recruiter at Louisville. Hill has not worked for a school since resigning as Florida's receivers coach in August. Fernandez also does not work for a school.

The three, the NCAA reportedly alleges, provided benefits to recruits and current players and contradicted players' statements during the NCAA's investigation.

Former Miami men's basketball coach Frank Haith, now at Missouri, faces a lesser charge of failing "to promote an atmos­phere for compliance."

Missouri said Wednesday the charge revolves around allegedly failing to tell administrators Shapiro wanted money for not going public that his payments helped recruit a player. Missouri said it was told by the NCAA it does not face sanctions but Haith does.

Baseball: No Miami player tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, including human growth hormone, the Associated Press reported. The school conducted the tests after it was linked to Major League Baseball's drug investigation.

Miami accused of 'lack of institutional control' 02/20/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 11:43pm]
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