The NCAA enforcement staff used a previously unknown interview technique referred to by one source as “self-corroboration” in the Miami case.
Well, it's not really an interview technique. Judging from the early reaction, it's unheard of. Given the tainted nature of the case, the NCAA better be sure on this one.
Essentially, self-corroboration allowed a subject -- in this case Nevin Shapiro -- to merely repeat testimony for it to be accepted into the record. Miami president Donna Shalala referred to it Tuesday night in her scathing statement regarding the notice of allegations received by the school.
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“The NCAA enforcement staff acknowledged to the University that if Nevin Shapiro, a convicted con man, said something more than once, it considered the allegation "corroborated" -- an argument which is both ludicrous and counter to legal practice.”
A source close to the investigation attempted to clarify: “You tell me a bunch of [stuff] today and repeat it again tomorrow … It's a concept only in their [NCAA's] minds. It's the first time anyone has heard of it.”
The NCAA has previously used the testimony of convicted felons. Perhaps unpalatable but not anything new. The testimony of felon Lloyd Lake helped take down USC in the Reggie Bush case. However, if the NCAA is using Shapiro as a single source on some or all of its allegations, Miami is going to have a heck of a case for an appeal. Especially considering the scrutiny this case is getting.
-- When Frank Haith was charged in his notice of allegations with “failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance,” that put him in danger of being suspended at Missouri.
Haith is being charged with violating the same bylaw as UConn's Jim Calhoun. Bylaw 126.96.36.199 states that a coach must “promote an atmosphere for compliance within the program … and to monitor the activities regarding compliance of assistant coaches and other administrators.”
If the allegation holds up Missouri could be forced to suspend its coach. The since-retired Calhoun was suspended for the first three Big East games of the 2011-12 season for recruiting violations.
-- The oddest part of the allegations -- for now -- is an Associated Press report that the NCAA went back more than 10 years to allege Shapiro bought a suit for former Miami star Willis McGahee. That's the same McGahee who last played at Miami in 2002.
The NCAA has a statute of limitations that usually goes back four years in finding violations. However, there is an exception if the NCAA can demonstrate a pattern of violations in the same case.
-- Current Western Kentucky director of basketball operations Jake Morton is alleged to have accepted improper benefits from Shapiro. This excerpt from Haith's notice of allegations explains Morton's alleged involvement.
"It is alleged that after June 10, 2010, through the time that his employment ended at the institution in March 2011, Frank Haith (Haith), then head men's basketball coach, failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance within the men's basketball program. Specifically, Haith was aware that Nevin Shapiro (Shapiro), a representative of the institution's athletics interests, threatened that unless Jake Morton (Morton), then assistant men's basketball coach, or Haith provided money to Shapiro, Shapiro would make public a claim that Shapiro provided money to assist in the recruitment of a men's basketball prospective student-athlete. After learning of the threat, Haith failed to alert anyone in the athletics department administration about Shapiro's threat, ask reasonable questions of Morton to ensure that Shapiro's claim lacked merit or disclose the fact that Morton engaged in financial dealings with Shapiro. Rather, Haith gave Morton funds that Morton then provided to Shapiro."
Morton was hired at Western Kentucky by former AD Ross Bjork, now at Ole Miss. Western Kentucky released this statement: “As we have consistently stated, none of the allegations against Jake involve Western Kentucky University in any manner. He and his legal representation are continuing to work with the NCAA.
-- Anyone else notice the significance of that June 10, 2010, date in Haith's notice? That was the day the USC penalties were announced in the Reggie Bush case.