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Source: Ex-Miami coaches get NCAA motion heard

Saturday, February 23, 2013 - Updated: 5:09 PM

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) -- The NCAA's Committee on Infractions agreed Friday to consider the request of three former Miami assistant coaches who say their individual cases in the Hurricanes' athletic scandal are tainted and should be dismissed, said a person familiar with the situation.

However, it's unclear when the committee will decide, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because all sides agreed not to publicly disclose any information.

Former Miami basketball assistants Jake Morton and Jorge Fernandez, along with former football assistant Aubrey Hill, filed a motion with the committee on Thursday, saying, among other things, that they believe they cannot get a fair hearing because elements of the NCAA's probe of Miami were admittedly botched.

The NCAA committee held a conference call to discuss the motion and other matters, known as "procedural posture."

When the NCAA sent individuals who were named in the allegations their copies of the documentation this week, a letter was included saying that the enforcement staff believed the scheduled June 14-15 dates to hear the Miami case were "unlikely" and that July seemed more reasonable.

Apparently, the infractions committee -- which operates on its own, not with the NCAA's enforcement staff -- disagrees with that assessment. During the procedure portion of Friday's call, sides were instructed to prepare for a June hearing.

"Everyone thinks this has gone on long enough already," the person who spoke with AP said.

Up next: The NCAA will now wait until mid-to-late May for responses to come from those who were requested to provide one in the notice of allegations, which was delivered to Miami on Tuesday and says the school had a "lack of institutional control" when it came to monitoring the actions of the former booster, Nevin Shapiro.

Miami got those allegations from the NCAA after a two-year investigation that largely revolved around the claims of Shapiro -- a convicted felon who gave cash, gifts and other so-called "extra benefits" to Hurricane coaches, players and recruits over an eight-year span. Shapiro, currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for masterminding a $930 million Ponzi scheme, said he interacted with dozens of people associated with the Miami football and men's basketball programs.

Miami first alerted the NCAA to some of Shapiro's allegations in 2010. An investigation began in early 2011.

The NCAA believes Hill and Fernandez provided them with misleading information during the investigation, meaning they were cited for allegedly breaking what's known as Rule 10.1 -- a broadly worded one governing ethical conduct. Morton was also named by the NCAA in the case against the Hurricanes, for reasons that included his alleged acceptance of at least $6,000 in "supplemental income" from Shapiro.

Other former Miami coaches are named in the allegations as well, including Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith, the former boss for Morton and Fernandez. Haith, the NCAA alleges, failed "to promote an atmosphere for compliance" -- specifically when he did not alert Miami administrators that Shapiro wanted money in exchange for not going public with accusations that he paid to help the Hurricanes recruit a player.

Morton was also tied to that accusation.

Meanwhile, the chairman of Miami's board of trustees had a letter published in Friday's editions of The Miami Herald, saying that university president Donna Shalala and the school "has held itself to the highest standards in its model cooperation with the NCAA."

Shalala has issued two statements in recent days saying she believes the school's self-imposed sanctions -- including two missed bowl games, one missed Atlantic Coast Conference football title game, and a voluntary football scholarship reduction -- are penalty enough for the rules that were broken.

"While I believe that the University of Miami will emerge stronger and more committed than ever to the letter and the spirit in which the NCAA's rules of conduct were established, the trustees respectfully, but firmly, add our own voice to President Shalala's in asking that no further sanctions be imposed on the dedicated, talented, and outstanding men and women who proudly represent the Miami Hurricanes," wrote Leonard Abess, the trustee board chair.

     

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