Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith was given a five-game suspension by the NCAA on Monday when it announced the findings of a 23-month investigation into the University of Miami athletic program, where Haith formerly coached.
The NCAA’s probe centered on former booster and convicted felon Nevin Shapiro’s association with the football and men’s basketball programs.
Haith, who coached the Hurricanes from 2004-11, was accused in February of failure to monitor, which the NCAA describes as “a serious violation that is similar to lack of institutional control but considered less significant.”
The NCAA ruled Miami lacked institutional control, but accepted its self-imposed penalties.
According to the NCAA, Shapiro was in financial trouble and asked Haith to loan him money or return his $50,000 donation. Haith denied Shapiro’s request, but former Miami assistant coach Jake Morton loaned Shapiro $7,000. After Shapiro was sent to prison in 2010, he began to threaten Haith and Morton, demanding money.
The NCAA infractions committee ruled that Haith and Morton worked together to make sure Shaprio received money to end his threats.
“As the leader of a high-profile basketball program, (Haith) had a responsibility to make sure he and his staff followed the rules. However, the former coach did not meet his responsibilities and this conduct resulted in violations. The committee noted that had he asked about the basis of the threats and the former assistant coaches’ relationship with the booster, he could have recognized potential concerns or taken the issue to the compliance office.”
In June, Haith and Miami officials appeared in front of the infractions committee. The school — and other individuals no longer at Miami but charged with breaking NCAA rules — expressed their frustration with the NCAA enforcement staff in light of the admitted mistakes it made during its 23-month investigation.
In January, the NCAA announced that former enforcement staff members worked with Shapiro’s attorney to improperly obtain information. After an external review, the NCAA discarded about 20 percent of the information, which was deemed tainted because of “improper conduct.”
One former Haith assistant at Miami — Michael Schwartz, now at Fresno State — was previously cleared by the NCAA. But former assistant Jorge Fernandez received a two-year show-cause penalty, a more serious charge than failure to monitor.
Morton and Fernandez were accused by the NCAA of allowing Shapiro to promote Miami’s athletic programs and assist in the recruitment of three players, including former Kentucky star John Wall. Both Morton and Fernandez were also accused of providing impermissible travel and entertainment benefits to people associated with recruits.
One of the athletes, Durand Scott, eventually attended Miami and was suspended for six games last season for receiving impermissible benefits. Senior center Reggie Johnson was not named in Morton’s notice, but also sat out one game last year after the NCAA found that a family member had received impermissible travel benefits from a coach on the former staff.
The Miami basketball team will also lose one scholarship during the next three seasons.
Shapiro also claimed he spent millions between 2002 and 2010 on football and men’s basketball recruits, athletes and coaches.
But Miami’s football program will not receive an additional bowl ban. Instead, it will lose three scholarships over the next three years. Miami skipped the last two postseasons as a self-imposed penalty.
Miami’s football team is 6-0 and ranked No. 7 in the BCS standings.
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