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Senior College Football Columnist

Shapiro's Miami middleman: No contact from NCAA

As if the NCAA's University of Miami investigation hasn't been a big enough head-scratcher, CBSSports.com has learned that the NCAA has not even contacted Sean Allen as part of its own investigation into the investigation.

Allen, a former Miami equipment-room staffer who had been the middleman for Nevin Shapiro, had been deposed as part of the rogue booster's bankruptcy case by attorney Maria Elena Perez, who, it turns out, had been hired by the NCAA. CBS first reported Allen's story and the NCAA investigators' involvement in the deposition last September.

According to Allen, NCAA investigator Ameen Najjar was in the room when he arrived that day in 2011. Allen asked that Najjar leave the room, but Shapiro's attorney still grilled Allen, under oath, with many questions that the NCAA had fed her. Among the questions that Perez asked Allen about were Al Golden and (former Miami offensive coordinator) Jedd Fisch's recruiting tactics even though Shapiro was already in jail for months by the time that both coaches were hired by UM.

What is curious is that the NCAA's review of the "stunning" and "shocking" news -- which is how NCAA president Mark Emmert described it a few weeks ago even though, as colleague Dennis Dodd reported, it really wasn't so stunning to the NCAA at the time -- hasn't included going back to Allen to inquire about any conversations that he might have had with Perez or Najjar as part of all this. Keep in mind that Najjar, one of the central figures of the NCAA's investigation of the Miami investigation, was Allen's main contact with the NCAA and conducted hours of interviews with him.

The information contained in Allen's deposition wouldn't have anything pertaining to his dealings with Najjar or Perez in how they handled the process -- only what their questions to him were that day in 2011.

Emmert's quote from last month: "We cannot have the NCAA bringing forward an allegation ... that was collected by processes none of us could stand for. We're going to move it as fast as possible, but we have to get this right."

Maybe questions to Allen about his involvement with Perez or Najjar would yield nothing for the NCAA on this front, but it seems odd that the NCAA wouldn't even reach out to try to ask about it if, in fact, Emmert and his people are so determined to "get this right."


Bruce Feldman is a senior writer for CBSSports.com and college football commentator for CBS Sports Network. He is a New York Times Bestselling author, who has written books including Swing Your Sword, Meat Market and Cane Mutiny. Prior to joining CBS, Feldman spent 17 years at ESPN.
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