NCAA President Mark Emmert announced Wednesday that he will bring in an outside attorney to conduct an internal investigation due to an issue of improper conduct with its enforcement program and the way they gathered information for their case against the University of Miami.
In the fall of 2012, Emmert and the NCAA discovered that NCAA investigators may have hired Nevin Shapiro's attorney to gather information for itself.
Emmert has hired an outside attorney, Kenneth L. Wainstein, to conduct an investigation into the NCAA's relationship with Shapiro's attorney. Wainstein specializes in corporate internal investigations and civil and criminal enforcement proceedings.
Emmert expects the investigation by Wainstein to take "seven-to-ten days."
"In my two-and-a-half years I have never seen anything like this and certainly never want to see it again," Emmert said.
"The behavior is grossly inappropriate and that we cannot tolerate."
Red flags were initially raised when an invoice from Nevin Shapiro's attorney was discovered this past fall for depositions that were done during Shapiro's federal bankruptcy case. It is reported that former equipment manager Sean Allen was deposed for nearly three hours in December of 2011. Allen reportedly recognized an NCAA investigator in the room during the deposition and asked for that investigator to leave the room. Allen suspected that Shapiro's attorney was given questions to ask by that investigator.
"Nobody had approve the hire of an outside attorney," Emmert said. "It immediately raised the question, where the heck did this come from?"
The NCAA does not have any subpoena power, but Allen was under oath during the bankruptcy hearing and that is how the NCAA gathered their information from those proceedings. Emmert said on Wednesday that there were two depositions that were gathered by the NCAA during that bankruptcy case.
The people involved in the improper gathering of evidence no longer work for the NCAA, according to Emmert.
"One of the questions that has to be answered is what was the nature of that contractual arrangement and what was the activity that individual was involved with," Emmert said. "We have to get the answer to how did this individual that was working with Shapiro, engage in activities on our behalf. It is stunning that this has transpired."
Once the Wainstein and the NCAA have concluded their internal investigation into the relationship with Shapiro's attorney, Emmert says they will move forward with the evidence they have deemed to be gathered appropriately.
Emmert said the NCAA will not start the investigation from the beginning.
"Once we finish this process internally, then we have to go through all of the evidence that we have already begun and determine what has or has not been appropriately collected and what has or has not been influenced by this improper conduct," Emmert said. "Then we will determine the status of the case and go forward with the notice of allegations. That shouldn't take a long time once we complete our own investigation."
"We will not be issuing notices of allegations until after this investigation is concluded. We want to make sure any evidence brought forward has appropriately collected and has the integrity that we expect and demand."
When asked if the misconduct could be grounds for the case against Miami to be thrown out, Emmert believed that there is still enough evidence that was gathered properly to be used in a case.
"There is a great amount of evidence that has been compiled in this case, only a small portion that has been a result of misconduct," Emmert said.
In a statement provided by the University of Miami, president Donna Shalala said: "I am frustrated and disappointed and concerned by President Emmert's announcement today that the integrity of the investigation may have been compromised by the NCAA staff. 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."
Miami has been under investigation by the NCAA for the allegations made by Nevin Shapiro since August of 2011.
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