| October 22, 2013

NCAA levies sanctions against Miami (Fla.)

Official release from NCAA

The University of Miami lacked institutional control when it did not monitor the activities of a major booster, the men’s basketball and football coaching staffs, student-athletes and prospects for a decade, according to findings by the Division I Committee on Infractions.

Many of Miami’s violations were undetected by the university over a 10-year period, and they centered on a booster, Nevin Shapiro, entertaining prospects and student-athletes at his home, on his yacht and in various restaurants and clubs. Approximately 30 student-athletes were involved with the booster. Several football coaches, three men’s basketball coaches and two athletics department staff members were also involved in the case. These staff members had a poor understanding of NCAA rules or felt comfortable breaking them. Furthermore, some of the coaches provided false information during the enforcement staff and university’s investigation.

The former head men's basketball coach, Frank Haith, failed to meet his responsibilities as a head coach when he did not monitor the activities of his assistant coaches, and attempted to cover up the booster's threats to disclose incriminating information, according to the committee. Additionally, two assistant football coaches -- Clint Hurtt and Aubrey Hill -- and one assistant men’s basketball coach -- Jorge Fernandez -- did not follow NCAA ethical conduct rules.

Complete report

The committee acknowledged and accepted the extensive and significant self-imposed penalties by the university. Additional penalties in this case include a three-year probation period; a reduction in the number of football and men’s basketball scholarships; recruiting restrictions; a five-game suspension for Haith (now at Missouri); and two-year show-cause orders for Hurtt, Hill and Fernandez. If these individuals are employed at an NCAA member school during these two years, they and their current or future employer must appear before the Committee on Infractions to determine if the coach should have his duties limited.

When determining the facts of the case and appropriate penalties, the committee only considered information obtained appropriately during the investigative process and presented at the hearing. The case involved numerous, serious violations of NCAA rules, many of which were not disputed by the university. Overall, it involved 18 general allegations of misconduct with 79 issues within those allegations. These were identified through an investigation that included 118 interviews of 81 individuals. Additionally, the committee had the responsibility of determining the credibility of individuals who submitted inconsistent statements and information provided by a booster who is now in federal prison. In reaching its conclusions, the committee found, in most instances, corroboration through supporting documentation and the statements of individuals other than the booster.

Events regarding the University of Miami case:
• November: Miami notifies NCAA of an internal investigation into potential violations
• March: Miami submits a reports multiple phone and text message rules violations to the NCAA
• May: Miami submits a supplement to this report with additional violations
• June: NCAA enforcement staff and Miami conduct joint interviews
• Fall: NCAA enforcement staff sends Miami a letter to begin the summary disposition process
• Feb. 23: The booster sends a letter to the NCAA detailing potential Miami violations
• March 31-May 27: The enforcement staff interviewed the booster more than 20 times
• Aug. 15: NCAA enforcement staff delivers a notice of inquiry to Miami and begins conducting interviews
• Aug. 30: NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff determines that eight Miami football student-athletes must sit out games and repay benefits
• Interviews continue. From 2011 through 2013, the NCAA enforcement staff conducted more than 70 interviews with current and former coaches, student-athletes and university administration, in addition to others connected with the case.
• Jan. 10: NCAA enforcement staff notifies Miami that select NCAA staff worked with the criminal defense attorney for the booster to improperly obtain information for the purposes of the investigation through a bankruptcy proceeding that did not involve the NCAA
• Jan 14-17: NCAA enforcement staff notifies involved individuals of the procedural issue involving the criminal defense attorney
• Jan. 23: NCAA announces external review of procedural issue
• Feb. 18: NCAA releases findings of external review
• Feb. 19: NCAA enforcement staff issues a notice of allegations to Miami and the involved individuals
• Feb. 21: Two former assistant men’s basketball coaches and a former assistant football coach submitted a request to dismiss the case or receive relief from the allegations
• Feb 22: Committee on Infractions holds a prehearing conference with involved individuals and the enforcement staff.
• Feb. 27: After discussion with the full Committee on Infractions, the chair provided a structured course of action to handle the procedural issues while also detailing a plan to move the case forward fairly and efficiently. All involved people had until March 6 to respond to this plan.
• March 2-6: Miami, one former assistant football coach and the involved basketball coaches provided their responses to the plan
• March 8: The committee chair provided an amended plan based on these responses
• March 19-April 5: All involved groups submitted their responses, including additional requests to dismiss the case from the university and coaches.
• April 23: Committee on Infractions issues decision regarding motion to dismiss
• May 20: Miami and involved individuals submit response to the notice of allegations
• May 22-23: Prehearing conferences conducted with Miami and involved individuals
• June 13-14: Committee on Infractions conducts hearing with Miami, involved individuals and the enforcement staff

Prior to the hearing, the committee addressed procedural issues raised by the university and the involved individuals connected with the enforcement staff’s use of the booster’s defense attorney to obtain information from depositions conducted in the booster’s bankruptcy case. As a result of the information being obtained in a manner inconsistent with NCAA policies and procedures, it was determined that all information stemming from the depositions would be excluded from consideration in the NCAA infractions case.  Further, the enforcement staff did not rely on any of the excluded information before or at the Committee on Infractions hearing.

The committee had no role or involvement in the enforcement staff’s investigation of the case, the internal investigation commissioned by the NCAA into the use of the booster’s attorney by the enforcement staff or in the report that resulted from the internal investigation. The committee did review arguments made by the university and the involved coaches asking that the allegations be dismissed or limited due to the procedural issues from the use of the bankruptcy depositions and other complaints about the investigation. Once all of those arguments were heard and addressed by the committee, the committee heard the case on its merits based on the remaining information.

The committee found violations in the following areas: telephone and text messages in multiple sport programs, which resulted in Miami admitting that it failed to monitor; booster involvement in the men’s basketball and football programs; Miami’s control of its athletics programs and its commitment to rules education and monitoring.

Many of the violations in the football and men’s basketball program are separate and distinct violations, with the common link of the booster. From 2001 through 2008, the booster donated and pledged approximately $500,000 to the university’s athletics program. He hosted a fundraising bowling tournament, attended by university officials, which raised $50,000 for the men’s basketball program. The committee determined the booster was extremely visible because the university granted him special access to athletics events and named a student lounge after him. Additionally, the booster entertained groups of student-athletes and operated in the public view. Knowing all of this, the university did very little to control or to monitor the conduct of the booster, the committee said.

While Miami lacked institutional control related to the conduct of the booster, it also lacked adequate policies and procedures for staff members to report potential violations without fear of consequence. Miami did not have the policies or monitoring systems to detect improper text messages and phone calls. Many staff members did not have basic knowledge of NCAA recruiting rules or felt comfortable breaking them, and the university did not have sufficient rules education in place. Had the university properly monitored its sports programs, especially the high-profile sports of football and men’s basketball, it may have identified risks sooner. The committee added that the failings of the university enabled a culture of noncompliance within the university and resulted in a lack of institutional control.

Violations involving student-athletes and prospects resulting from the booster’s activities included entertaining student-athletes and coaches at his home; housing a student-athlete at his home; access to his yacht and jet skis; providing cash prizes to student-athletes for fishing competitions; meals and entertainment at local restaurants, clubs and a bowling alley for student-athletes, prospects and their families or friends; gifts of cash, clothing and other items, including a television and gifts for student-athletes’ families and children; hotel lodging for prospects; purchasing  airline tickets; and football stadium suite access for a prospect. Additionally, the booster was an investor in a sports agency and provided a student-athlete $50,000 to influence that individual to sign with that agency.

The booster’s personal relationship with Miami athletics was not just limited to student-athletes and prospects. Several former football and men’s basketball coaching staff members also had a close relationship with the booster. These relationships allowed the booster to gain access and become more involved with prospects. Some former football assistant coaches asked the booster to assist with recruiting for the program and two former football assistant coaches asked the booster to provide personal cash loans to them. Multiple former assistant football coaches were aware that the booster was providing meals and entertaining prospects at his home; however, they did not report the violations to Miami’s compliance office.

Two former assistant football coaches did not follow NCAA ethical conduct rules when they provided prospects with free lodging, meals and transportation. Further, one of the former coaches arranged for the booster to provide benefits to prospects. Both former football coaches provided false or misleading information to Miami and the enforcement staff during the investigation as well. In some instances, the information provided by each coach directly contradicted the information provided by prospects.

Two former assistant men’s basketball coaches looked to the booster to entertain high school and nonscholastic coaches of prospects. A former assistant men’s basketball coach did not follow NCAA ethical conduct rules when he provided false information during his interviews about providing airline points for a flight to a prospect and his high school coach. Despite giving the high school coach his airline account information to purchase flights with frequent flyer miles, the former assistant men’s basketball coach stated he did not know his airline points were used. During the hearing, the former assistant men’s basketball coach then admitted that he provided false information.

When the booster began experiencing financial trouble, he requested that the former head men’s basketball coach loan him a large sum of money or that the former head men’s basketball coach return the booster’s $50,000 donation. The former head men’s basketball coach denied the booster’s request; however, a former assistant men’s basketball coach agreed to loan the booster $7,000, which the booster eventually repaid. After the booster was incarcerated in 2010, he began to threaten the former head men’s basketball coach and assistant coach and demand money. The committee determined the former head men’s basketball coach and the former assistant men’s basketball coach worked together to make sure the booster received $10,000 to end the booster’s threats.

The former head men’s basketball coach was aware of the booster’s threats and he took steps to help a former assistant men’s basketball coach to make a payment to the booster’s mother to end the threats. As the leader of a high-profile basketball program, he had a responsibility to make sure he and his staff followed the rules. However, the former coach did not meet his responsibilities and this conduct resulted in violations. The committee noted that had he asked about the basis of the threats and the former assistant coaches’ relationship with the booster, he could have recognized potential concerns or taken the issue to the compliance office.

Because the violations occurred before October 30, 2012, and the hearing occurred before the new infractions procedures took effect on August 1, 2013, the case was processed utilizing the procedures in effect at that time. The committee moved forward with the previous penalty structure, instead of the newly-adopted Level I-IV violation and penalty structure.

A full list of penalties, including those self-imposed by the university and by a coach’s current employing university can be found in the public report.

Penalties in this case include:
• Public reprimand and censure.
• Three years of probation from Oct. 22, 2013, through Oct. 21, 2016.

Former assistant football coach Clint Hurtt penalties:
• A two-year show-cause order from Oct. 22, 2013 through Oct. 21, 2015. The public report contains further details.
• The committee also adopted penalties imposed by the coach’s current employing university, which are detailed in the public report.

Former assistant football coach Aubrey Hill penalties:
• A two-year show-cause order from Oct. 22, 2013, through Oct. 21, 2015. The public report contains further details.

Former head men’s basketball coach Frank Haith penalties:
• A suspension for the first five regular-season games of the 2013-14 season.
• Attendance at one NCAA Regional Rules seminar at the conclusion of the 2013-14 academic year.

Former assistant men’s basketball coach Jorge Fernandez penalties:
• A two-year show-cause order from Oct. 22, 2013, through Oct. 21, 2015. The public report contains further details.

Football program penalties:
• Reduction of football scholarship by a combined total of nine during the 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.
• Miami may only provide a prospect on unofficial visits complementary tickets for one home game during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.

Self-imposed by the university:
• Two-year bowl ban following the 2011 and 2012 seasons, including the 2012 ACC Championship Game.
• Reduction of official paid visits for 2012-13 by 20 percent to a total of 36 visits.
• Reduction of fall evaluations in 2012-13 by six (from 42 to 36).
• Reduction of available contact days during the 2012-13 contact period by 20 percent.

Men’s basketball program penalties
• Reduction in the number of men’s basketball scholarships by one during the each of the 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.

Additional penalties:
• For all sports, any staff member who sends an impermissible text to a prospect will be fined a minimum of $100 per message, and coaches will be suspended from all recruiting activities for seven days.

Further penalties resulting from impermissible texts and phone calls are detailed in the public report.