For the past week, we’ve been in a bit of an online debate with a few Missouri fans who took offense to our suggestion on the 17th that Frank Haith’s lawyer appeared to be “prepping Mizzou fans for bad news.” In their view, the NCAA can not punish the Tiger program for violations Haith may have committed while coaching at Miami.
Well, it’s true that the NCAA isn’t going to hit Missouri with charges over any Miami mistakes. However — and this is what those few holdouts still fail to grasp — MU can still be punished indirectly if the NCAA decides to go after Haith. A recent SEC example: Bruce Pearl and Tennessee.
The NCAA did not drop the hammer on the Vol basketball program in 2011, as many Big Orange fans had feared. But once it became clear Pearl was to be hit with a show-cause penalty (three years in his case), the school was effectively forced to dismiss him. The Vol program is still trying to recover despite the fact that technically the NCAA levied more punishments on UT’s ex-coach than on UT’s program.
Yesterday, CBSSports.com’s Jeff Goodman reported that a source “close to the situation” had revealed that Haith would soon receive notice from the NCAA that he would be charged with unethical conduct and a failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance. You know who else was hit with both of those charges? Yep, Pearl.
In Haith’s case, the NCAA has reportedly been unable to prove that former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro gave $10,000 to Haith’s staff to pay for the services of former Hurricane DeQuan Jones. That’s the claim made by Shapiro. But the NCAA still intends to hit Missouri’s coach with an unethical conduct charge because it believes — and Shapiro’s mother has confirmed — that money allegedly given to Haith’s assistants for “camp money” actually went back to Shapiro as repayment for the cash he provided to ink Jones. In addition, Haith and three aides will face punishment for providing impermissible airline travel for two Miami players and for allowing interaction between Shapiro and Hurricane recruits during their visits to Coral Gables.
Haith said last evening that he and Missouri officials are “in constant contact with the NCAA all the time about this case, (and)… it’s inappropriate for me to say anything other than just that.”
The university put out its own statement:
“The University of Missouri is aware of today’s story from CBS Sports. The University has been in communication with the NCAA regarding their ongoing efforts related to the University of Miami investigation. Coach Haith and the University of Missouri continue to cooperate fully. However, we are not at liberty to comment further out of respect for the NCAA process.”
If Goodman’s source is corrrect and Haith is charged with unethical conduct and failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance, he’ll have 90 days to respond to the allegations. A hearing would follow in the summer and then a decision would come sometime between the fall and the end of the year.
Haith’s attorney, Michael Buckner, wasn’t exactly thrilled with Goodman’s report:
“Until my client, Frank Haith, receives a notice of allegations from the NCAA, the CBSSports.com report is premature. The NCAA’s investigation in the University of Miami enforcement case is ongoing…
It is unfortunate that CBSSports.com’s unnamed source believed violating the NCAA confidentiality rule was worthwhile. The report did not advance anyone’s interests (except the source’s) and is making a mockery of what is supposed to be a fair process.”
Buckner went on to say that “any allegations asserted by Nevin Shapiro against my client cannot be supported.”
NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn has said the NCAA does “not have a comment at this time.”
Armed with all that background info, there are still two major questions in need of answering…
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