In a sudden turn of events, the NCAA has suspended its investigation into alleged improprieties of coaches and student-athletes tied to former University of Miami booster Nevin Shapiro, just days after announcing it was making significant progress. NCAA President Mark Emmert has also ordered an external investigation of the conduct of staff enforcement investigators following the discovery of their alleged improper conduct.
Emmert disclosed that members of the NCAA’s enforcement staff worked with the criminal defense attorney representing Shapiro to obtain information improperly from depositions taken in Shapiro’s bankruptcy proceeding. This information would not have been otherwise accessible to NCAA investigators as the bankruptcy proceeding did not involve the NCAA. Emmert described the actions of the NCAA’s investigators as “grossly inappropriate” and described the situation as a “shocking affair.”
According to the NCAA, the association with Shapiro’s attorney was not authorized. Acknowledging their lack of subpoena power and inability to use testimony from any proceeding occurring outside of its own enforcement mechanisms, the NCAA stated that its General Counsel had informed the enforcement staff that they could not use any information obtained from the Shapiro depositions on at least two prior occasions.
In light of this incident, Emmert has commissioned an external investigation and review of the NCAA’s enforcement program. He announced that the investigation and review will include a thorough examination of the overall enforcement environment to ensure that the operation of the program is consistent with the NCAA’s essential principles of integrity and accountability.
In announcing that the NCAA will not move forward with the issuance of any Notice of Allegations in the Miami investigation at this time, Emmert said, “To say the least, I am angered and saddened by this situation. Trust and credibility are essential to our regulatory tasks.” He concluded, “My initial intent is to ensure our investigatory functions operate with integrity and are fair and consistent with our member schools, athletic staff and most importantly, our student athletes”.