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NCAA reports on 'tainted' Miami investigation, Canes call for case to close

The NCAA has announced the findings of its investigation into its own investigation of Miami and the termination of Julie Roe Lach, former enforcement chief.

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

The NCAA's investigation into its Miami investigation has yielded this report, in which it's revealed "select" NCAA enforcement personnel "knowingly circumvented legal advice," "violated the internal NCAA policy of legal counsel only being retained and monitored by the legal staff," and committed other misstakes during its dealings with former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro's legal counsel (with some of those dealings coming via a disposable phone bought just for the occasion of phoning an inmate), but did not violate any specific bylaws.

In response, Miami president Donna Shalala has called for "a swift resolution, which includes no additional punitive measures beyond those already self-imposed."

Lawyer Jonathan Duncan has been named interim vice president of enforcement, replacing the fired Julie Roe Lach. She had been with the NCAA since 1998 and had held the top position since 2010, chosen specifically for the job by president Mark Emmert.

You might remember Roe Lach from something she said during an investigation of Auburn:

While the revelation further strains the NCAA's credibility, it also presumably wraps up the strange meta turn in the NCAA investigation into Miami, which threw off an enforcement process over a year and a half in the making. It seemed like a pretty open-and-shut case when Shapiro detailed a laundry list of improprieties committed by those around the Miami football program in August 2011, but Miami was seemingly left hanging as the investigation crawled along. In early January, we finally heard that the investigation was "nearing an end", but it wasn't to be: there were some "unethical investigatory processes" surrounding Shapiro's attorney Maria Elena Perez, who actually was on NCAA payroll, causing the association to investigate itself - a process that put the actual punishment process for Miami on delay.

Now that the NCAA has reviewed its own behavior, it can resume concluding its initial investigation and figure out the fate of Miami football. NCAA president Mark Emmert said during an afternoon teleconference that, after three reviews, the NCAA dropped all "tainted" Miami information, or about 20 percent, from the investigation.

Miami's full statement:

"The University takes full responsibility for the conduct of its employees and student-athletes. Where the evidence of NCAA violations has been substantiated, we have self-imposed appropriate sanctions, including unilaterally eliminating once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for our students and coaches over the past two years, and disciplining and withholding players from competition.

"We believe strongly in the principles and values of fairness and due process. However, we have been wronged in this investigation, and we believe that this process must come to a swift resolution, which includes no additional punitive measures beyond those already self-imposed.

"In September 2010-two and a half years ago-the University of Miami advised the NCAA of allegations made by a convicted felon against former players and, at that time, we pledged our full cooperation with any investigation into the matter. One year later, in August 2011, when the NCAA's investigation into alleged rules violations was made public, I pledged we would 'vigorously pursue the truth, wherever that path may lead' and insisted upon 'complete, honest, and transparent cooperation with the NCAA from our staff and students.'

"The University of Miami has lived up to those promises, but sadly the NCAA has not lived up to their own core principles. The lengthy and already flawed investigation has demonstrated a disappointing pattern of unprofessional and unethical behavior. By the NCAA leadership's own admission, the University of Miami has suffered from inappropriate practices by NCAA staff. There have also been damaging leaks to the media of unproven charges. Regardless of where blame lies internally with the NCAA, even one individual, one act, one instance of malfeasance both taints the entire process and breaches the public's trust.

"There must be a strong sense of urgency to bring this to closure. Our dedicated staff and coaches, our outstanding student-athletes, and our supporters deserve nothing less."