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Miami receives NCAA notice of allegations, reportedly cited for lack of institutional control

The U has been served the NOA, and we're finally nearing the end.

Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

The University of Miami has reportedly received its notice of allegations from the NCAA, according to a source in the Associated Press. Miami is a private school and can't be compelled to release the allegations, so the NOA might not be revealed for some time. The Miami Herald's Barry Jackson reports the final punishment could be "more than a slap on the wrist."

And here's the worst of it:

Miami can either accept the charges detailed in the Notice of Allegations or file a response to the Notice, which would require a hearing before the NCAA Committee on Infractions. Any action must be taken within 90 days of the receipt of the Notice of Allegations. An Infractions Appeal Committee could hear the University's appeal from the findings of the Committee on Infractions, should the University decide to further challenge the NCAA's charges.

Here's the full statement in response from Miami president Donna Shalala:

"The University of Miami deeply regrets and takes full responsibility for those NCAA violations that are based on fact and are corroborated by multiple individuals and/or documentation. We have already self-imposed a bowl ban for an unprecedented two-year period, forfeited the opportunity to participate in an ACC championship game, and withheld student-athletes from competition.

"Over the two and a half years since the University of Miami first contacted the NCAA enforcement staff about allegations of rules violations, the NCAA interviewed dozens of witnesses, including current and former Miami employees and student-athletes, and received thousands of requested documents and emails from the University. Yet despite our efforts to aid the investigation, the NCAA acknowledged on February 18, 2013 that it violated its own policies and procedures in an attempt to validate the allegations made by a convicted felon. Many of the allegations included in the Notice of Allegations remain unsubstantiated.

"Now that the Notice of Allegations has been issued, let me provide some context to the investigation itself:

"Many of the charges brought forth are based on the word of a man who made a fortune by lying. The NCAA enforcement staff acknowledged to the University that if Nevin Shapiro, a convicted con man, said something more than once, it considered the allegation "corroborated"-an argument which is both ludicrous and counter to legal practice. ·

"Most of the sensationalized media accounts of Shapiro's claims are found nowhere in the Notice of Allegations. Despite their efforts over two and a half years, the NCAA enforcement staff could not find evidence of prostitution, expensive cars for players, expensive dinners paid for by boosters, player bounty payments, rampant alcohol and drug use, or the alleged hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts given to student-athletes, as reported in the media. The fabricated story played well-the facts did not. ·

"The NCAA enforcement staff failed, even after repeated requests, to interview many essential witnesses of great integrity who could have provided first-hand testimony, including, unbelievably, Paul Dee, who has since passed away, but who served as Miami Athletic Director during many of the years that violations were alleged to have occurred. How could a supposedly thorough and fair investigation not even include the Director of Athletics? ·

"Finally, we believe the NCAA was responsible for damaging leaks of unsubstantiated allegations over the course of the investigation. Let me be clear again: for any rule violation-substantiated and proven with facts-that the University, its employees, or student-athletes committed, we have been and should be held accountable. We have worked hard to improve our compliance oversight, and we have already self-imposed harsh sanctions.

"We deeply regret any violations, but we have suffered enough.
The University and counsel will work diligently to prepare our official response to the Notice of Allegations and submit it to the Committee on Infractions within the required 90-day time period.
We trust that the Committee on Infractions will provide the fairness and integrity missing during the investigative process."

Up next for the NCAA will be the punishment stage. Will Miami receive any sanctions from the notice of allegations? The University has already self-imposed punishments that restrict their ability to attend multiple bowl contests and an ACC conference title game.

The two-year investigation of the Hurricanes stems from allegations by former booster and convicted Ponzi scheme operator Nevin Shapiro. In a jailhouse interview with Yahoo's Charles Robinson in August 2011, Shapiro said he had contributed more than $2 million to Miami athletics from 2002 to 2010, mostly for the football program. No less than 72 former players were listed by Shapiro, including a number of NFL draft picks which signed with an agency connected to Shapiro. Allegations of improper benefits included claims that Shapiro paid players directly, and provided yacht trips, strip club parties, and prostitutes for players.

The NCAA investigation had launched months prior to Robinson's report and has continued for over two years. After some former Miami players declined the NCAA's request for interviews, the organization's investigators issued an ultimatum: Talk to us or be presumed guilty of everything Shapiro claims. Players connected to the scandal were to be declared ineligible by the University, and coaches connected to the scandal, including former Florida recruiting coordinator Aubrey Hill, resigned from their current jobs. In an attempt to preempt harsher penalties, Miami self-instituted a two-year postseason ban, which kept the team out of two bowl games and the 2012 ACC Championship Game. The program has also withheld available scholarships in anticipation of a reduction from the NCAA.

Head coach Al Golden, who joined the program in December 2010 as the NCAA investigation was beginning, has remained loyal to the program despite outside interest. In December 2012, Golden was connected with the vacant coaching position at Wisconsin, but turned down the Badgers.