Lawyer for ex-UM basketball coach Frank Haith: ‘We just want to know when this process will end’

Frank Haith’s attorney said the former UM basketball coach has not received a notice of allegations from the NCAA regarding the Nevin Shapiro case.

01/17/2013 12:01 AM

09/08/2014 6:15 PM

The lawyer representing former University of Miami basketball coach Frank Haith in the Miami-related NCAA case said Haith — now the coach at Missouri — had not received a notice of allegations from the NCAA as of Wednesday night, and that they, “like everyone else,’’ are anxiously awaiting what transpires.

Attorney Michael L. Buckner also told The Miami Herald that Haith “has given the NCAA thousands of pages of documents at Coach Haith’s own expense,’’ and that “the bill for him acquiring these documents has cost well into the thousands of dollars.

“It has been over 15 months since he first was interviewed, and he’s cooperated the whole time,’’ Buckner said by phone. “We just want to know when this process will end.’’

Buckner, based in Pompano Beach, would not say whether the NCAA had contacted them this week about if and when the notice would arrive, and what the specific allegations might be for Haith in the case involving former Miami booster and convicted Ponzi-schemer Nevin Shapiro.

“We talk to the NCAA all the time about the case and any pending issues coming up,” Buckner said, when asked if they were warned about forthcoming NCAA accusations involving Haith. “But I’m not going to comment on any communication we’ve had. We haven’t received a notice of allegations from the NCAA and based upon our understanding of the evidence, we’re hopeful we won’t.

“The NCAA asked Coach Haith to produce documents and he did so on his own dime. We have been as transparent as possible to provide the NCAA what they wanted. He has nothing to hide.’’

Two people involved in the case told The Miami Herald on Saturday that they, and others as well, were asked by the NCAA to be available beginning Monday to discuss allegations against them.

Haith, the 2012 National Coach of the Year at Missouri, was accused by Shapiro “of having knowledge of a $10,000 payment the booster made [allegedly to an unnamed family member of Jones] to secure the commitment of basketball recruit DeQuan Jones,’’ according to Yahoo! Sports, which first revealed the allegation in August 2011. Shapiro said Haith later thanked him for it, but that former Miami assistant Jake Morton, to whom Shapiro said he gave the money for the transaction, eventually returned the $10,000.

Shapiro said he also paid for dinners and strip club visits for Haith.

Haith has made few comments about the allegations, saying he was instructed by the NCAA not to talk about the case. “The reports questioning my personal interactions with Mr. Shapiro are not an accurate portrayal of my character,’’ Haith said in a previous statement.

On Monday, Haith told reporters in Columbia, Mo., that it was “kind of a relief to know that this is coming to an end, their part of it, in terms of their allegations, if there are any, towards Frank Haith. Then, if there are, we have a chance to defend ourselves.’’

Haith’s lawyer, one of three representing the coach, said his client “is a very honorable man, and we’re hopeful that with the facts the NCAA has, they’re wise enough not to issue any allegations. If there are allegations issued, we will thoroughly investigate them.

“Whatever happens, everyone has to understand, these are just allegations,” Buckner said. “The enforcement staff has been wrong before. The university involved and the coaches themselves have to look at what the NCAA produces and conduct their own investigations. There have been times when the NCAA has made allegations against my clients and I’ve found glaring mistakes in the evidence — maybe they didn’t interview everybody they should have or reached a conclusion that wasn’t supported by the evidence.

“It’s the job of the attorneys or whoever is representing each of the parties to do independent vetting of the evidence and bring that information forward to the NCAA so that the complete situation can be presented before the Committee on Infractions.”

Buckner said the NCAA “generally has a conversation with the university” to give it “a pretty good idea” of when the allegations will arrive.

“It used to be, back in the good old days, it was sent by FedEx,” Buckner said. “Now they do it electronically. I am waiting just like everyone else.”

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