NCAA response: Miami 'grasping at straws' trying to get case dismissed

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- The interim leader of the NCAA office that conducted the investigation of Miami's athletic department believes the Hurricanes are "grasping at straws" such as making personal attacks against investigators in their efforts to get the case against them dismissed.

That claim, and others, are part of the response that was signed by Jonathan F. Duncan, the NCAA's Interim Vice President of Enforcement, in response to a motion Miami filed with the association's Committee on Infractions to have the case brought to an immediate conclusion.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the enforcement staff's response to that motion Sunday night.

"Overall, the enforcement staff believes that the institution is again grasping at straws in an attempt to disqualify members of the enforcement team with the most knowledge about the case," Duncan wrote.

In late March, citing impropriety by the NCAA and how it handled the investigation, the Hurricanes asked the Committee on Infractions -- a group that is separate from the association's investigative arm -- to throw the case out altogether. Four former Miami coaches, including current Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith, also filed similar motions.

In his response, Duncan wrote that the NCAA's enforcement staff "believes that the majority of the parties' assertions in their motions to dismiss are largely based on assumptions, false accusations, misleading statements and meritless claims."

Miami's motion to dismiss included allegations that the NCAA used "impermissible and unethical" tactics when interviewing Haith and former men's basketball assistant coach Jake Morton, that the association misled the school on other issues, and several other issues that the Hurricanes perceived as wrongdoing.

There has already been one victory for Miami with regard to the motion to dismiss. The AP first reported Friday that the enforcement staff made one concession that Miami wanted, that being that the testimony of former Hurricanes quarterback Kyle Wright was being thrown out of the case.

Miami argued that some things Wright was asked about by investigators in February 2012 stemmed from information the NCAA collected through depositions that the attorney for the booster at the center of the case conducted by using subpoena power in a bankruptcy proceeding.

Maria Elena Perez, the attorney for the former booster and convicted felon Nevin Shapiro, was paid by the NCAA after doing that work, though she contends that she never actually was employed by the association.

The NCAA had previously said that all the information that stemmed from those depositions was removed from the notice of allegations that Miami received in February, though Wright was listed in that document with relation to claims of a half-dozen rules that the association said the Hurricanes violated.

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