NCAA suspends Missouri coach Frank Haith for five games

By Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer

Now at Missouri, Frank Haith will have a seat for five games for Miami issues. (USATSI)
Now at Missouri, Frank Haith will have a seat for five games for Miami issues. (USATSI)

The NCAA will suspend Missouri head coach Frank Haith for five games for his role in the Miami scandal that was first detailed nearly 800 days ago, the organization announced on Tuesday.

"The former head men's basketball coach failed to meet his responsibilities as a head coach when he did not monitor the activities of his assistant coaches, and attempted to cover up the booster's threats to disclose incriminating information, according to the committee," the reported stated.

Former assistant Jorge Fernandez was given a two-year show cause, while the basketball program will see a reduction in scholarships by one for each of the next three years.

The NCAA charged Haith with “failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance” in February after a lengthy investigation prompted by a Yahoo! Sports report in 2011 that alleged Haith had knowledge of a $10,000 payment to a family member of former Miami player DeQuan Jones. Nevin Shapiro, the former Miami booster around which the Yahoo! report centered, said he gave the money to former Miami assistant Jake Morton for that purpose. Haith has repeatedly denied all charges.

More from the report:

Two former assistant men's basketball coaches looked to the booster to entertain high school and nonscholastic coaches of prospects. A former assistant men's basketball coach did not follow NCAA ethical conduct rules when he provided false information during his interviews about providing airline points for a flight to a prospect and his high school coach. Despite giving the high school coach his airline account information to purchase flights with frequent flyer miles, the former assistant men's basketball coach stated he did not know his airline points were used. During the hearing, the former assistant men's basketball coach then admitted that he provided false information.

When the booster began experiencing financial trouble, he requested that the former head men's basketball coach loan him a large sum of money or that the former head men's basketball coach return the booster's $50,000 donation. The former head men's basketball coach denied the booster's request; however, a former assistant men's basketball coach agreed to loan the booster $7,000, which the booster eventually repaid. After the booster was incarcerated in 2010, he began to threaten the former head men's basketball coach and assistant coach and demand money. The committee determined the former head men's basketball coach and the former assistant men's basketball coach worked together to make sure the booster received $10,000 to end the booster's threats.

The former head men's basketball coach was aware of the booster's threats and he took steps to help a former assistant men's basketball coach to make a payment to the booster's mother to end the threats. As the leader of a high-profile basketball program, he had a responsibility to make sure he and his staff followed the rules. However, the former coach did not meet his responsibilities and this conduct resulted in violations. The committee noted that had he asked about the basis of the threats and the former assistant coaches' relationship with the booster, he could have recognized potential concerns or taken the issue to the compliance office.

Haith coached Miami from 2004 to 2011. He's about to enter his third season at Missouri.

UPDATE: Late Tuesday afternoon, Haith released a statement about the sanctions. He is opting not to appeal the NCAA's decision. Here is his statement in full.

"While I strongly disagree with today's report, and the inference on how the program was run at the University of Miami, as head basketball coach during that period, I accept responsibility for all actions in and around that program. This has been an excruciating ordeal for my family. An appeal, which would likely drag further into the season, would only prolong what has already been a lengthy and trying period of time for our student-athletes, the University of Missouri and our fans, and it's time for closure. I'm pleased with the positive working relationship we have with our compliance staff at Mizzou and we will continue our focus in that area as we move forward. I am very humbled and grateful for the support that I have received from the University of Missouri, its leadership, and our tremendous fans."

 
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