The lawyer that the NCAA improperly used to handle its investigation of the University of Miami had previously provided ineffective assistance to a client in 2009, and was reprimanded for her conduct.
Maria Elena Perez, the lawyer for Miami booster Nevin Shapiro, had improperly filed an appeal for one of her defendants, then failed to file an extension by the proper date. Although she was informed of her deficient filing, she repeatedly failed to add basic elements to the appeal. These actions led to a review from a Florida court, which ruled that she had been "ineffective" and that her performance "fell below the Florida Bar's standards of conduct and professionalism", with the presiding judge recommending that she be sanctioned.
NCAA staff used Perez to obtain information related to its investigation of the University of Miami in Nevin Shapiro's bankruptcy proceedings. NCAA President Mark Emmert admitted that using Shapiro's counsel as part of its investigation was improper.