Investigators also unethically threatened potential witnesses that Shapiro’s claims against them would be believed unless they cooperated. That’s wrong.
UM also has been told by the NCAA that anything Shapiro said twice to investigators would be considered “corroborated,” which is scary and absurd considering the credibility of the accuser. That’s indefensible.
I cannot write about this too much, or too loudly, because it is important, and because it is an outrage. The NCAA’s actions in this investigation have lowered themselves to outright buffoonery.
I credit UM president Donna Shalala, who has turned into Hurricane Donna, in standing up to this nonsense. She has become a bantam force righteously blasting the NCAA. Anyone who considered Shalala to be antiathletics might reconsider the opinion.
She said Tuesday night the university takes “full responsibility” for violations proved factual, and reiterated the school has cooperated fully in the probe. Obviously UM knows many allegations are true; that is why the school already has self-imposed serious sanctions, including two years of football postseason bans that encompassed two bowl games plus the ACC Championship Game.
Shalala also attacked the NCAA where appropriate, though.
She stated, factually, that the group violated its own rules and principles in overzealously trying to prove allegations made by someone Shalala called “a convicted con man” who “made a fortune by lying.”
Shalala said many of the allegations contained in the official notice remain unsubstantiated. She also said the NCAA never interviewed now-deceased athletic director Paul Dee — meaning a supposedly thorough two-year probe somehow managed to overlook the boss of the entire department.
The NCAA’s own corrupted, tainted investigation, the lack of credibility of the main accuser and, most tangibly, Miami’s significant punishment already self-imposed combine to make it feel like the NCAA is vindictively piling on by continuing to pursue additional sanctions.
I hope the university vigorously challenges these official allegations and appeals any additional penalties, and that sounds like what will happen.
“We have suffered enough,” as Shalala put it.
For some, the Miami Hurricanes, as a school or swaggering brand, might always be hard to like. Here, though, it is the shamed, tainted, bullying NCAA that has earned the disrespect and public contempt.