UM athletics

Attorney: Report that Frank Haith will face NCAA charges is premature


According to a story citing unnamed sources, the former UM coach could be charged with unethical conduct.

The attorney representing former University of Miami basketball coach Frank Haith in the Miami-related NCAA case is angry about a report released Monday by citing an unnamed source saying Haith — now the coach at Missouri — “is expected to be charged with unethical conduct and failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance.”

Michael Buckner, one of three attorneys on Haith’s legal team, told The Miami Herald that until Haith actually receives his Notice of Allegations from the NCAA, the report is premature.

“Throughout the case we have conversations all the time with the NCAA,” Buckner said. “Any type of allegations are not allegations until you receive the actual notice. Whoever talked to [ college basketball writer] Jeff Goodman is violating the NCAA confidentiality provision and as of right now, my client and anyone on his legal team have not received a notice of allegations.”

Haith, reached by email Monday night, replied: “I haven’t been issued any notice of allegations.”

Many individuals in the case have been notified by NCAA officials and told of the allegations against them, multiple sources said. A source close to the case said coaches were told to expect their written, individual notices of allegation by email Tuesday.

“I just think it’s unfortunate,” Buckner said, “because if a notice comes out and all those things are not included, then that source will have to pay for disclosing information that may not be true. ... I think the evidence that I am aware of would not and cannot support any allegations that have been asserted by Mr. [Nevin] Shapiro against my client.”

Buckner refused to talk about the specifics of the article, which also said “the NCAA was unable to prove the allegation from Miami booster Nevin Shapiro that Haith or anyone on his staff paid $10,000 to a family member of former player DeQuan Jones.”

The article went on to say that despite the NCAA being unable to prove the $10,000 payment, “Haith will be charged with unethical conduct because the NCAA did not believe his story that payments to his assistants intended for camp money did not wind up going to repay Shapiro, who made allegations to Yahoo! Sports back in August of 2011.”

The report also said Haith will be charged “with a failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance due to impermissible airline travel that was given to the family of two players from a member of his staff and also the interaction between Shapiro and players while on visits.”

Interim UM athletic director Blake James, reached Monday night, said: “We are not commenting until the process is complete, as this has been our position all along.”

The source also told that former Haith assistants Jake Morton, Jorge Fernandez and Michael Schwartz will each be charged with unethical conduct.

Fernandez lost his job at Marshall because of the NCAA investigation. Morton has a noncoaching job in the Western Kentucky basketball program, and Schwartz is a Fresno State assistant.

All of the coaches can defend themselves in front of the NCAA Committee on Infractions.

UM’s Durand Scott and Reggie Johnson were suspended last season, reportedly because Fernandez gave impermissible travel benefits to Johnson’s mother and Scott’s AAU coach. In one case, Fernandez used frequent flyer miles to pay for transportation.

“The investigation is still ongoing,” Buckner said, “and until we receive the notice of allegations there have been no charges asserted against Coach Haith. If the NCAA had already made these decisions we would have received a notice of allegations.

“I would just like to see the NCAA be able to do its job.”

Miami Herald sportswriters Barry Jackson, Michelle Kaufman and Manny Navarro contributed to this report.

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