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Mizzou’s Haith Tries To Get NCAA Case Against Him Thrown Out

Image: Miami Hurricanes head coach Frank Haith watches his team play the North Carolina Tar Heels during their NCAA men's basketball game at the 2011 ACC Tournament in GreensboroYou can add another name to the list of folks trying to get the NCAA’s case against the University of Miami and several ex-coaches thrown out.  That name?  Frank Haith.

The Missouri basketball coach has been accused for failing to properly monitor his program in Coral Gables, before leaving for Columbia.  The NCAA alleges that Haith paid money to one of his Hurricane assistants who then gave the cash to imprisoned booster Nevin Shapiro as hush money.

The NCAA has botched the case, however, and the University of Miami and a number of former football and basketball coaches have asked that the case be tossed as a result.  A lawyer for Haith says the coach has filed a motion to dismiss the NCAA’s case and he’s waiting to hear back from the organization’s Committee on Infractions, which will decide whether or not to hold a preliminary hearing all of the parties involved.

Haith’s attorney, Wally Bley, says the NCAA has thrown out cases before an official hearing in the past, “albeit rarely.”

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An NCAA Show-Cause Penalty Would Likely Lead To Haith’s Ouster At Mizzou

Image: Miami Hurricanes head coach Frank Haith watches his team play the North Carolina Tar Heels during their NCAA men's basketball game at the 2011 ACC Tournament in GreensboroFor the past week, we’ve been in a bit of an online debate with a few Missouri fans who took offense to our suggestion on the 17th that Frank Haith’s lawyer appeared to be “prepping Mizzou fans for bad news.”  In their view, the NCAA can not punish the Tiger program for violations Haith may have committed while coaching at Miami.

Well, it’s true that the NCAA isn’t going to hit Missouri with charges over any Miami mistakes.  However — and this is what those few holdouts still fail to grasp — MU can still be punished indirectly if the NCAA decides to go after Haith.  A recent SEC example: Bruce Pearl and Tennessee.

The NCAA did not drop the hammer on the Vol basketball program in 2011, as many Big Orange fans had feared.  But once it became clear Pearl was to be hit with a show-cause penalty (three years in his case), the school was effectively forced to dismiss him.  The Vol program is still trying to recover despite the fact that technically the NCAA levied more punishments on UT’s ex-coach than on UT’s program.

Yesterday,’s Jeff Goodman reported that a source “close to the situation” had revealed that Haith would soon receive notice from the NCAA that he would be charged with unethical conduct and a failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance.  You know who else was hit with both of those charges?  Yep, Pearl.

In Haith’s case, the NCAA has reportedly been unable to prove that former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro gave $10,000 to Haith’s staff to pay for the services of former Hurricane DeQuan Jones.  That’s the claim made by Shapiro.  But the NCAA still intends to hit Missouri’s coach with an unethical conduct charge because it believes — and Shapiro’s mother has confirmed — that money allegedly given to Haith’s assistants for “camp money” actually went back to Shapiro as repayment for the cash he provided to ink Jones.  In addition, Haith and three aides will face punishment for providing impermissible airline travel for two Miami players and for allowing interaction between Shapiro and Hurricane recruits during their visits to Coral Gables.

Haith said last evening that he and Missouri officials are “in constant contact with the NCAA all the time about this case, (and)… it’s inappropriate for me to say anything other than just that.”

The university put out its own statement:


“The University of Missouri is aware of today’s story from CBS Sports.  The University has been in communication with the NCAA regarding their ongoing efforts related to the University of Miami investigation.  Coach Haith and the University of Missouri continue to cooperate fully.  However, we are not at liberty to comment further out of respect for the NCAA process.”


If Goodman’s source is corrrect and Haith is charged with unethical conduct and failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance, he’ll have 90 days to respond to the allegations.  A hearing would follow in the summer and then a decision would come sometime between the fall and the end of the year.

Haith’s attorney, Michael Buckner, wasn’t exactly thrilled with Goodman’s report:


“Until my client, Frank Haith, receives a notice of allegations from the NCAA, the report is premature.  The NCAA’s investigation in the University of Miami enforcement case is ongoing…

It is unfortunate that’s unnamed source believed violating the NCAA confidentiality rule was worthwhile.  The report did not advance anyone’s interests (except the source’s) and is making a mockery of what is supposed to be a fair process.”


Buckner went on to say that “any allegations asserted by Nevin Shapiro against my client cannot be supported.”

NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn has said the NCAA does “not have a comment at this time.”

Armed with all that background info, there are still two major questions in need of answering…

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Nutt Reached Out To Ex-Miami Booster Shapiro

So what was then-Arkansas coach Houston Nutt doing calling Nevin Shapiro?  Shapiro, as you know, is the jailed ex-Miami booster who sits on the verge of single-handedly bringing down the Hurricane athletics department.  And Nutt contacted him.

The Palm Beach/Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports that Nutt called Shapiro on December 7th, 2006 and spoke to him for 30 minutes.  The coach then hung up and phoned his agent, Jimmy Sexton.  And then he called Shapiro back.

All this info comes from the phone records of Nutt, acquired in 2007 via the Freedom of Information Act.

Most likely, Shapiro — Miami’s biggest booster at the time — and Nutt were chatting about the head coaching search going on in Coral Gables at the time.  Obviously things didn’t work out between Nutt and the Canes.  Miami hired by-the-book Randy Shannon.  Nutt coached one more season in Fayetteville before leaving for Ole Miss… with torch-bearing Razorback fans on his tail.

In 2007, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette tracked down Shapiro who said: “Somehow, some way that information ended up in front of me that he would be a viable candidate for the job.  There was no real meat to it.”

None of this ties Nutt to any wrongdoing, of course.  He was in contact with a school’s biggest booster.  Those things happen all the time as coaching searches play out behind the scenes.

Still, if you’re an Ole Miss fan today, do you want your coach’s name tied in any way, shape or form to Shapiro?  Here’s betting Nutt would’ve preferred this never came out.

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Miami Grad Richt Not Throwing Stones

Georgia football coach Mark Richt is a Miami alum.  Seeing his alma mater brought to its knees by yet another massive scandal has to hurt the man just a tad.  Or perhaps it makes him angry to know that things in Coral Gables have been allowed to get so far out of control.

Whatever Richt is feeling, he’s not saying.  In typical fashion, he’s just worried about keeping his own house in order, not running down someone else:

“I’m not one to throw stones because I know that bottom line is it’s hard to be perfect.  So we’re just trying like mad to do things right.”

From his honesty to his theology, how can anyone not like this guy?

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