Review of Miami probe is completed

Investigators allegedly committed severe violations

Los Angeles TimesFebruary 7, 2013 

An independent counsel has completed his review of the NCAA enforcement program and is expected to submit a report late next week.

The college governing body called upon Kenneth L. Wainstein, former homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush, after the recent announcement of potentially severe misconduct by investigators in the long-standing University of Miami case.

NCAA staff members allegedly paid the criminal defense attorney for Nevin Shapiro — a former booster at the center of the Miami scandal — to improperly obtain information for an investigation.

“Mr. Wainstein has completed the necessary interviews and review of information and is now in the process of preparing the final report,” said Bob Williams, NCAA vice president of communications. “We will release the results of the review following the completion of the report.”

It remains to be seen if Wainstein’s review will encompass two recent controversial cases in Los Angeles.

In the fall, a lead NCAA investigator examining UCLA basketball recruits was accused of prejudging Shabazz Muhammad’s eligibility before all of the facts were gathered.

More recently, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge presiding over a defamation suit portrayed NCAA officials as potentially malicious for the way they dealt with former USC assistant coach Todd McNair, who was linked to the Reggie Bush sanctions.

Though the NCAA did not give Wainstein specific directions other than asking for a broad review, President Mark Emmert said, “In that context, they’ll have the opportunity to look into any of those cases.”

The Miami investigation dates back about two years, to a time when Shapiro was sentenced to 20 years for overseeing a $930 million Ponzi scheme. From prison, he told of previously giving improper cash and gifts to Hurricanes athletes.

At some point, NCAA investigators allegedly paid Shapiro’s attorney to question witnesses under the guise of Shapiro’s separate bankruptcy proceedings. Those depositions yielded critical information the NCAA could not otherwise have obtained.

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