So….about that NCAA self-investigation into its own unethical conduct… The Miami Herald is reporting the Unviersity of Miami will accuse the NCAA of further misconduct during investigation of the school, as part of an attempt to get its infractions case dismissed.
Miami claims Stephanie Hannah, the NCAA director of enforcement who took over the case from Ameen Najjar, continued using Nevin Shapiro’s attorney to depose witnesses for the NCAA as part of the bankruptcy hearing. Hannah, a 20-year NCAA employee, tried to de facto subpoena testimony from Shapiro’s bodyguard Mario Sanchez. Hannah’s involvement was, somehow, not mentioned in the self-investigation.
After taking over for Najjar, Hannah attempted to work with Perez on obtaining information from Shapiro’s bodyguard, Mario Sanchez, who was subpoenaed to appear in a bankruptcy hearing. The deposition with Sanchez never materialized, and the bankruptcy trustee told us today that it wouldn’t have been of interest to the bankruptcy trustee, anyway.
In an e-mail exchange with Perez last July, Hannah wrote: “Regarding the enforcement staff’s interest in questioning [name redacted], attached is a document that outlines questions/topics to discuss with him.”
Miami says the NCAA fed others false information about other testimony to lure subjects into giving incriminating information. The school also believes the NCAA did not purge the “tainted” testimony from the bankruptcy hearing and did not corroborate much of the evidence beyond Shapiro, a convicted liar with a firm axe to grind.
The NCAA argues this malfeasance extends only to specific portions of the evidence collected during the Miami investigation. If Miami’s allegations are substantiated, it would support the broader interpretation: that the NCAA’s entire investigative process has been called into question. If the NCAA intends to impose further sanctions on Miami than those already self-imposed, they should start bracing for a lawsuit.
It’s worth remembering the NCAA enforces neither laws or morals. It oversees a set of rules protecting the tax exempt status of college athletics, now a multi-billion dollar industry. “Enforcement” is going after students for accepting tens, hundreds or, heaven forbid, thousands of dollars worth of “improper” benefits that place the “proper” benefits worth hundreds of thousands (and in many cases millions) to university officials at risk. Amateurism is not a principle. It is a flimsy veneer rationalizing what has become a wanton, unseemly cash grab.
This isn’t police trusting the testimony of a convicted felon to shut down a human trafficking ring. The NCAA is a non-legal entity trusting the testimony of a convicted felon to nail student-athletes who might have accepted dinners and free trips to a club. The warped value structure on display is shameful, but the NCAA is so far gone officials no longer feel shame.
[Photo via USA Today Sports]