Sounding very much like an NCAA investigator, the attorney for Nevin Shapiro sat across the table from former UM equipment manager Sean Allen and peppered him with dozens of questions about alleged NCAA rules violations involving the University of Miami.
In the process of that deposition 13 months ago, attorney Maria Elena Perez extracted considerable incriminating information against UM — information Allen has said he never would have disclosed if he had not been under oath.
The deposition was taken under the auspices of a bankruptcy court hearing — a proceeding designed to recoup money that Shapiro took from investors in a $900 million Ponzi scheme that led to Shapiro being sentenced to a 20-year jail term.
But a review of the deposition on Wednesday revealed that many of Perez’s questions had nothing to do with financial issues, and dozens had more to do with alleged violations by UM than any attempts to trace money that could be recouped.
That deposition with Allen — and another Perez deposition with former sports agent Michael Huyghue — likely will be removed from the NCAA’s evidence against UM presuming an NCAA investigation confirms its belief that the information was improperly obtained, NCAA president Mark Emmert indicated Wednesday.
Perez submitted a bill to the NCAA — which the NCAA would consider a conflict because she was representing Shapiro.
What’s potentially problematic for UM, however, is Allen met with the NCAA after that deposition and was asked to recap and confirm allegations that he made during the deposition. It’s unclear if Allen’s responses during that interview will be used.
Allen met with the NCAA in August 2011 but previously told The Miami Herald that he was not truthful during that meeting. He said he was truthful during the deposition only because he was under oath.
Among the highlights of what Allen told Perez in the deposition, which Allen said was attended by an NCAA official:
• Asked by Perez if he ever witnessed Shapiro paying money to UM football or basketball players, Allen said: “Yes. I don’t remember the specifics. It was relatively small amounts … low hundreds.”
He also said: “I vaguely remember Nevin giving [former UM running back] Tyrone Moss some sort of money for his baby or something like that.”
• Allen said Shapiro gave him $3,000 to entertain Ray-Ray Armstrong, Dyron Dye and Andre Debose during an unofficial recruiting visit to UM. “Nevin said, ‘Take those guys out to a strip club and make sure they have a good time,’ ” Allen said. Armstrong and Dye ultimately attended UM; Debose went to Florida.
• During the deposition, Perez presented numerous pictures to Allen showing Shapiro with several UM coaches and players, including basketball coach Frank Haith, assistant coach Jake Morton and football players Kellen Winslow, D.J. Williams and others.
• Allen said he gave money to UM players who were being recruited by Axcess Sports, an agency co-owned by Shapiro and Huyghue. Allen confirmed those players included Tavares Gooden, Jon Beason and Devin Hester. “We’re talking small amounts of cash, maybe $50 here, because it was my own money.”
• Asked Shapiro’s motivation in giving players money, Allen said: “One, I think he enjoyed being around them. The other part is he ultimately wanted them to sign with Axcess Sports.”