Key figures in UM investigation: Where are they now?

WEB VOTE Under NCAA penalty, UM football will lose nine scholarships, but with no bowl bans. Too harsh, too soft or just right?

Nevin Shapiro, the imprisoned former Hurricane booster at the center of the University of Miami NCAA scandal, is locked away at Butner Federal Corrections Complex near Raleigh-Durham, N.C., in the heart of ACC country. He is serving a 20-year sentence for orchestrating a $930 million Ponzi scheme, and is surrounded by Duke and North Carolina grad students who work at the low-security prison.

Among his fellow inmates is Bernie Madoff, 75, whose multi-billion-dollar Ponzi scam is considered the largest financial fraud case in U.S. history.

Shapiro was moved to Butner after serving at Oakdale, La., where, according to a Sports Illustrated report, he worked in the prison library, which allowed him to keep up with media coverage of the UM case. He also played basketball with inmate Rumeal Robinson, the celebrated point guard of Michigan’s 1989 Final Four team who went on to play in the NBA. Robinson was convicted of bank fraud and bribery.

Shapiro, 44, instigated the NCAA investigation into the Hurricanes program when he claimed he showered UM players, coaches and recruits with cash and lavish gifts over an eight-year period in violation of NCAA rules.

The rest of the cast of characters in the saga have not been incarcerated, but they have not been completely free, either. Their lives have been in various states of limbo for the past two and a half years while they awaited the NCAA verdict. Some – Frank Haith, Clint Hurtt and Aubrey Hill – are still coaching. Others – Jorge Fernandez and Jake Morton – left the profession and are hoping to get back in once this is all over.

Here’s where they are now …

Sean “Pee Wee’’ Allen, former UM assistant football equipment manager

Accused of: Shapiro said he used Sean Allen as a middle man to deliver benefits to multiple players, and that he paid Allen $200,000 over several years to repay gambling debts and to fund NCAA-prohibited gifts to players and coaches.

Where is he now? Allen admitted to the Miami Herald last October that the investigation had taken a heavy toll on him, led him to drinking, and that he was having trouble finding a job. Allen, a New Jersey native, splits time between Miami and the Northeast. Allen’s testimony was thrown out as part of the NCAA’s tainted evidence, so he received no penalties on Tuesday.

Frank Haith, UM head basketball coach from 2004-11

Accused of: “Failure to promote an atmosphere for compliance’’ and failure to monitor activities of his staff because of Shapiro’s relationship with Haith’s assistant coaches.

Where is he now? Haith left UM in April 2011 to become the head coach at the University of Missouri. A year later, he was named 2012 Associated Press National Coach of the Year. He testified before the NCAA infractions committee in June and told reporters: “I think that it’s been a tough two years. I look at any negative and find a positive out of it. I’ve grown from going through this existence. I talk to my team about adversity and how to handle it. Everybody’s going to have some adversity. This has been something we’ve had to go through for two years.” Haith received a five-game suspension.

Jake Morton, former UM assistant basketball coach

Accused of: Committing three recruiting violations between October 2008 and April 2009. He was alleged to have arranged meetings between Shapiro and Brian Clifton, the high school coach of recruit John Wall, and also of taking Durand Scott’s high school coaches, Mo Hicks and Howard Dwayne Mitchell, to a Miami Beach nightclub and Shapiro’s home. The NCAA also said he accepted “at least $6,000’’ of supplemental income from Shapiro between October 2007 and October 2008.

Where is he now? Morton was hired by Western Kentucky University as an assistant coach in June 2011. He was named director of basketball operations following the 2011-12 season. He resigned on April 3, 2013, to pursue coaching opportunities, according to the school’s spokesman. Morton, reached by email, said he still hopes to land a job in basketball, but for now, “all doors are closed until this case is over.’’ Morton received good news from the NCAA when he escaped any penalties.

Jorge Fernandez, former UM assistant basketball coach

Accused of: Providing impermissible transportation and entertainment in the recruitment of three players, including prospect John Wall, who wound up at Kentucky and was the top pick in the 2010 NBA draft.

Where is he now? Fernandez, a Miami native, spent seven years as an assistant at UM, and was left without a job when Haith took the position at Missouri. Fernandez wound up as an assistant at Marshall University for the 2011-12 season, but resigned on May 25, 2012 amid the NCAA investigation. The press release said he left the school for “family reasons.’’ He moved back to Miami to be with his wife and two young daughters, sold cars for a while and is now selling sporting apparel. Like Morton, he hopes to someday return to coaching. But it may be difficult because Fernandez received a two-year, show-cause penalty, which means any school that employs him would have to show cause for hiring him and restrict his responsibilities.

Clint Hurtt, former UM assistant football coach

Accused of: Receiving and providing impermissible benefits while at UM. The NCAA says Hurtt received a $2,500 loan from Shapiro and provided perks to Hurricanes recruits. He is also accused of providing false and misleading information during the NCAA investigation, a violation of ethical conduct rule 10.1.

Where is he now? Defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator at Louisville. Hurtt returned to the team last Tuesday after being placed on paid administrative leave March 22, 2013 to allow him to respond to the NCAA allegations.

“We’ve given him that time, and I think it’s good that he’s doing that," Louisville head coach Charlie Strong said when Hurtt took the leave. “With the many distractions, he just can’t do the job that we’re asking him to do right now." Hurtt also received a two-year, show-cause penalty. Louisville said Tuesday it will keep him on staff despite his restrictions.

Aubrey Hill, former UM assistant football coach/recruiting coordinator

Accused of: He is also accused of providing false and misleading information during the NCAA probe.

Where is he now? Hill was recently hired as head coach at his alma mater, Carol City High. He replaced Harold Barnwell, who was promoted to athletic director.

“When any person has ups and downs, trials and tribulations, you either are going to show your true character or you’re going to fold,” Hill told the Herald.

“I’ve always been a guy that’s going to give his best, work as hard as he can and pour my heart into young men. There is so much on my plate now. All I want to do is talk about Carol City football. You learn from the past and move forward.’’

After he left UM in 2011, he took a job as wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Florida, where he played from 1991-94. He left UF before the 2012 season, saying he didn’t want to be “a distraction’’ during the Shapiro investigation.

“I have too much love and respect for this program to become a distraction as I deal with some personal issues,’’ Hill said at the time. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to have worked with coach [Will] Muschamp, a tremendous staff and great group of players. The future is very bright here, and the University of Florida will always have a special place in my heart. Go Gators!” Hill also received a two-year, show-cause penalty.

Julie Roe Lach, former NCAA vice president of enforcement.

Where is she now? Roe Lach was fired on Feb. 18, 2013 after 16 years at the NCAA. She was dismissed after an external review found that she had approved an improper financial relationship between an NCAA investigator and Shapiro’s attorney, Maria Elena Perez.

She is now working as a consultant with universities, conferences and other affiliated organizations in the area of enforcement matters and women’s leadership.

Ameen Najjar, former NCAA investigator

Where is he now? Najjar was fired from the NCAA in Spring 2012. He joined the Indianapolis law firm of Taft Stettinius and Hollister, where he is practicing labor and employment law, specializing in college sports litigation.

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