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NCAA investigating enforcement after misconduct in Miami case

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer
The NCAA will not issue a Notice of Allegations to Miami until the review of the enforcement program is done. (US Presswire)

The NCAA is putting the brakes on the Miami investigation process until another investigation is completed: a review of misconduct inside the NCAA enforcement program.

The national office announced on Wednesday that former NCAA enforcement staff members improperly obtained information for the purposes of the investigation through a bankruptcy proceeding. According to the release, the information and aid of Nevin Shapiro's criminal defense attorney was outside of the jurisdiction since the bankruptcy case does not involve the NCAA.

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As it does not have subpoena power, the NCAA does not have the authority to compel testimony through procedures outside of its enforcement program. Through bankruptcy proceedings, enforcement staff gained information for the investigation that would not have been accessible otherwise.

The NCAA improperly retained Nevin Shapiro's attorney to work on depositions in a federal bankruptcy case in order determine NCAA violations, a source close the case told CBSSports.com.

It would be improper for the NCAA would hire the attorney representing the subject of an ongoing investigative process. That attorney is believed to be Marie Elena Perez. It is also thought that the NCAA's involvement in a federal case that has nothing to do with the government's interest in that case could be cause for concern for the NCAA.

The discovery has prompted NCAA president Mark Emmert to call for an external review of the entire enforcement program. The review will not only include the current issue in the Miami case but also "the overall enforcement environment, to ensure operation of the program is consistent with the essential principles of integrity and accountability."

"To say the least, I am angered and saddened by this situation. Trust and credibility are essential to our regulatory tasks," Emmert said in the official release. "My intent is to ensure our investigatory functions operate with integrity and are fair and consistent with our member schools, athletics staff and, most importantly, our student-athletes."

The NCAA also announced that the enforcement staff will not move forward with a Notice of Allegations for the University of Miami "until all the facts surrounding this issue are known." According to multiple reports, the NCAA was in the process of contacting individuals named in the allegations and could issue the NOA anytime in the next two weeks.

"If there is any information that was obtained improperly absolutely it would be thrown out," Emmert said on the teleconference following the announcement.

This new development could to be good news for Miami -- already two postseason bans deep into its self-imposed sanctions -- as the NCAA's case could be weakened during the review. If information obtained in Shapiro's bankruptcy case is now off-limits for the NCAA investigation, the enforcement staff might not be able to provide its own evidence to support allegations that have, essentially, already been made.

"I am frustrated, disappointed and concerned by President Emmert's announcement today that the integrity of the investigation may have been compromised by the NCAA staff," Miami president Donna Shalala said in response to the announcement.

"As we have done since the beginning, we will continue to work with the NCAA and now with their outside investigator hoping for a swift resolution of the investigation and our case."

The new development in this case also means that former Miami coaches, like Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith and current Louisville assistant head football coach Clint Hurtt, might be in better shape than we previously thought.

Regardless, it is bad news for the NCAA. Emmert and the enforcement staff has been under fire ever since the swift action in the Penn State case. Now some last-minute double checking has turned up a flaw in one of the most notable cases of the last decade.

CBSSports.com Senior College Football Columnist Dennis Dodd contributed to this report

For more college football news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnCFB on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed, college football newsletter, and get the Eye On College Football Podcast from iTunes. You can follow Chip Patterson on Twitter here: @cnpatterson3.

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