Current NCAA mood: Screaming Sheep.
SPOILER ALERT: Please know up front that we are probably never going to see the end of the NCAA’s current Miami case, but one tentative step toward the end of the tunnel was taken on Monday afternoon, when the findings of an investigation into the NCAA’s investigation were announced. (BRAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHM.) For those of you just joining us, the facts are:
In 2011, Nevin Shapiro, a former booster of U. Miami sports programs,
contacted the NCAA and made allegations that he had provided improper benefits
to U. Miami student-athletes. Over the course of the ensuing investigation, the
Enforcement Staff worked extensively with Shapiro and his attorney, Maria Elena
Perez, Esq. In the course of that relationship, Ms. Perez suggested to Director of
Enforcement Ameen Najjar that she could assist the NCAA’s investigation by
qualifying for practice in her client’s bankruptcy proceeding and using bankruptcy
subpoenas to compel depositions from witnesses who had refused to cooperate with
the NCAA. In return, Ms. Perez asked that the NCAA pay her for her work in
relation to the depositions.
Yahoo! is further reporting that vice president of enforcement Julie Roe Lach has been fired as a result of the scandal. You can read the full report here; we’ve collected our favorite bits of the story below, which we’ve rated on our patent-pending five-step Screaming Sheep Scale of Screaming Sheepiness:
• Najjar was advised against involving Perez.
The legal advice provided by the Legal Staff to Mr. Najjar, Ms. Lach
and Mr. Hosty was clear that they should not accept the Perez
Mr. Najjar chose not to follow that legal advice, deciding instead to
come up with “a way around it.”
Mr. Najjar went forward with his “way around” without returning to
the Legal Staff and asking if that idea would change their advice to
reject the Perez proposal.
• Mark Emmert thinks the NCAA can wash away malfeasance like it’s rinsing beans for supper.
Emmert says will move fowrad with Miami case after 3 reviews of evidence got rid of any 'tainted info.'—
George Schroeder (@GeorgeSchroeder) February 18, 2013
• Y’all remember who Julie Roe Lach is, right?
“You’ll know when we’re finished,” Roe Lach told Chizik, according to several coaches who were at the meeting. “And we’re not finished.”
• No, for real this time.
The information gained through the bankruptcy proceedings or other evidence derived from that process will not be used in the Miami investigative record. The NCAA plans to proceed with the case with information properly obtained by the enforcement staff.
• No, for real this time, I mean it.
“My responsibility is to be certain that the membership has confidence in all of our processes across the national office,” said Emmert.
• What we wouldn’t give to sit in on some of these.
Additionally, Duncan and Spencer Fane will work with Cadwalader to review the regulatory environment from the national office and membership perspectives. To gain member insights, the review will include discussions with schools that recently engaged in the enforcement process.
• THERE WAS A BURNER PHONE.
To facilitate communications between the NCAA and Mr. Shapiro, Mr. Johanningmeier purchased a disposable mobile phone and paid for Mr. Shapiro’s use of the prison telephone system. Mr. Johanningmeier, in turn, expensed those costs to the NCAA. (Comley; Lach; Johanningmeier; Najjar; Shapiro). We learned that the NCAA had expended approximately $8,200 to fund communications with Mr. Shapiro, including transfers of approximately $4,500 to his prison commissary account from which he pays for communications expenses.