CORAL GABLES — Miami's long-running NCAA investigation took another strange twist Wednesday afternoon.
This time, it could very well be good news for UM.
The NCAA announced it uncovered "an issue of improper conduct within its enforcement program that occurred during the University of Miami investigation" and is launching a external review of the enforcement program.
An audibly angry NCAA president Mark Emmert called the issue "a shocking affair." The review is expected to take seven-to-10 days. Miami will not receive a notice of allegations until after the NCAA finishes looking at itself.
Though he said these troubling revelations involve only a "small portion," of the wide-ranging investigation, it could bring questions to the entire process.
University of Miami president Donna Shalala certainly isn't happy with Wedneday's news. Through a statement, she again stated Miami's cooperation in the 22-month investigation was thorough.
"I am frustrated, disappointed and concerned by President Emmert’s announcement today that the integrity of the investigation may have been compromised by the NCAA staff," she said in a statement released by the school. "As we have done since the beginning, we will continue to work with the NCAA and now with their outside investigator hoping for a swift resolution of the investigation and our case."
Emmert also said any information or evidence discovered to be found improperly will be thrown out.
"There's no way to cut corners in this," Emmert said.
Emmert said it was "premature" to say the whole thing could be determined a the judicial equivalent of a mistrial, but this certainly could be a game changer.
Miami's case has spanned two years and this development will further delay the investigation.
The NCAA stated in a news release former enforcement staff members worked with the criminal defense attorney for Nevin Shapiro to improperly obtain information for the purposes of the NCAA investigation through a bankruptcy proceeding that did not involve the NCAA.
The NCAA enforcement staff does not have the authority to compel anyone to testify, but the staff used Shaprio's bankruptcy proceedings as an opportunity to compel testimony related to the Miami infractions investigation it otherwise would not have been able to obtain.
The NCAA stated as a result of the UM incident and other recent events involving the enforcement, it retained Kenneth L. Wainstein, a partner with the law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, to conduct the investigation.
"To say the least, I am angered and saddened by this situation. Trust and credibility are essential to our regulatory tasks,” Emmert stated in the news release. "My intent is to ensure our investigatory functions operate with integrity and are fair and consistent with our member schools, athletics staff and most importantly our student-athletes," he added.
The NCAA was expected to release its notice of allegations following an investigation of Shapiro's ties to the Miami program as early as this week. Shapiro was linked to giving a slew of improper benefits to Miami football and basketball players.
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