The report read: “Coach A [Morton] admitted that he provided the booster’s mother with an envelope of cash. He stated the amount in the envelope was $5,000 ($3,200 summer camp advance received from the former head men’s basketball coach the same day and additional $1,800 cash he had at home].’’
The NCAA ruled that Haith “failed in his duty to promote an atmosphere for compliance…Specifically, the former head men’s basketball coach knew that the booster made threats about a potential violation in the program, the former head men’s basketball coach took steps to assist former assistant men’s basketball coach A with funds to pay the booster, rather than report any concerns to the athletics compliance office.”
Haith, in a statement, accepted responsibility “for all actions in and around that program,” but also said he “strongly” disagreed with the report and “the inference on how the program was run at the University of Miami.”
“This has been an excruciating ordeal for my family,” he said. “An appeal, which would likely drag further into the season, would only prolong what has already been a lengthy and trying period of time for our student-athletes, the University of Missouri and our fans, and it’s time for closure.”
Nobody from the Haith regime is left at the UM basketball program, which was ordered by the NCAA to give up one scholarship each of the next three years. Fernandez called Hurricanes assistant Chris Caputo on Wednesday to say he was sorry for any hardship he caused.
“They’re getting punished for someone else’s mistake, and I have to take responsibility because I was part of that,’’ he said. “I regret tremendously what happened, but I also know what type of person I am and I know I can put my head on my pillow at night. I’ve been loyal to my profession as an assistant coach. Nobody can ever say Jorge Fernandez was disloyal to the profession.’’
Former Florida A&M coach Ron Brown, who has known Fernandez a long time and is now out of coaching, said Fernandez’s unwavering loyalty wound up hurting him.
“I told Jorge, `You know when you get on an airplane and they tell you, ‘In case of emergency, put your oxygen mask on first and then help others?’’’ Brown said. “Jorge looked out for others before thinking about himself. Look where it got him. Jorge is loyal to a fault. Loyalty didn’t just bite him, it ran him over.’’
Although some coaches he thought were friends have not returned his texts, the coaching fraternity, for the most part, has rallied around Fernandez. ESPN national recruiting director Paul Biancardi, who spent more than two decades coaching, is among the dozens of coaches who have reached out to Fernandez. One Division I football coach mailed Fernandez $3,000 to help cover some bills, and asked him to keep the donation private. Hill, who also received a two-year Show Cause order, has become close friends with Fernandez through it all.
Others who lent moral support include Forbes, former Miami Heat coach Stan Van Gundy, Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton and assistant Stan Jones, Florida head coach Billy Donovan and assistant coach John Pelphrey, Central Florida coach Donnie Jones and assistant Brendan Suhr, South Carolina coach and longtime friend Frank Martin, Marshall coach Tom Herrion, Cincinnati assistant Larry Davis, and Iowa assistant Kirk Speraw.