|Haith has transitioned well at Missouri but the Miami case still lingers over his career. (US Presswire)|
As the NCAA continues to turn its vises on the University of Miami, it examines primarily the litany of violations that allegedly occured in the last decade, mostly with football. But lest you forget, Haith and Hurricane hoops were in hot water as well. You might not have noticed, or forgotten, that sidebar amid a jailed man's claims that he practically bought and sold The U's football team for nearly a decade.
The investigation has been going on for nearly two years (five months before the bombshell Yahoo Sports story, according to NCAA president Mark Emmert). Yet Haith, according to his lawyer, is still awaiting the formal contact from the Monolith about possible extra benefits provided to a Hurricane hoop player while he was coach there. In short: the notice of allegations still has not been handed down. Haith was first interviewed by the NCAA in late 2011, and since then he has twisted in the wind regarding any possible punishment, fine or suspension.
The Miami Herald is reporting Haith has spent thousands of dollars to be complicit with the NCAA's investigation and that he has turned over "thousands of pages of documents" to help move along the process. So far: silence.
“It has been over 15 months since he first was interviewed, and he's cooperated the whole time,'' (Michael L.) Buckner said by phone. “We just want to know when this process will end.''
Buckner, based in Pompano Beach, would not say whether the NCAA had contacted them this week about if and when the notice would arrive, and what the specific allegations might be for Haith in the case involving former Miami booster and convicted Ponzi-schemer Nevin Shapiro.
“We talk to the NCAA all the time about the case and any pending issues coming up,” Buckner said, when asked if they were warned about forthcoming NCAA accusations involving Haith. “But I'm not going to comment on any communication we've had. We haven't received a notice of allegations from the NCAA and based upon our understanding of the evidence, we're hopeful we won't.
“The NCAA asked Coach Haith to produce documents and he did so on his own dime. We have been as transparent as possible to provide the NCAA what they wanted. He has nothing to hide.''
Nevin Shapiro, the central figure/jailed man in the Miami story, has told reporters and invesitgators that he arranged for payment to former Hurricanes/current Orlando Magic player DeQuan Jones, in addition to providing Haith with perks such as dinners and strip-club visits. Money was then supposedly returned and never used. This quote from Buckner also stands out, though.
"Whatever happens, everyone has to understand, these are just allegations," Buckner said. "The enforcement staff has been wrong before. The university involved and the coaches themselves have to look at what the NCAA produces and conduct their own investigations. There have been times when the NCAA has made allegations against my clients and I've found glaring mistakes in the evidence -- maybe they didn't interview everybody they should have or reached a conclusion that wasn't supported by the evidence."
That seems like a bit of a hedge in advance of any upcoming news regarding Haith. We'll see. In general, we still don't have a timetable on when a notice of allegations will be handed out to anyone affiliated to the case. This is all preamble right now. Once formal word is delivered, then we essentially enter phase two of the story.
Haith won the 2012 AP Coach of the Year award and led Missouri to a 30-5 record in his first season with the Tigers. Mizzou is enjoying a 12-3 season and is ranked No. 17 in the AP Poll. Haith was replaced at Miami by former George Mason coach Jim Larranaga. The Hurricanes sit unranked with a 13-3 record and are the lone undefeated team left in the ACC.
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