NCAA says Missouri's Haith not watching closely enough at Miami

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 | 10:54 p.m. CST; updated 1:18 a.m. CST, Thursday, February 21, 2013
Missouri basketball head coach Frank Haith sits on the bench during the Tiger's 63-60 win over the Florida Gators on Tuesday. Haith received a notice of allegations Wednesday from the NCAA of failure to promote an atmosphere for compliance during his time at the University of Miami.

COLUMBIA — Missouri men's basketball coach Frank Haith is accused of not paying close enough attention. 

Wednesday, Haith's notice of allegations from the NCAA was made public by the Missouri athletics department. The notice claims that the head coach failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance for not monitoring his assistant coaches while at the University of Miami.


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Haith coached at the University of Miami before becoming Missouri's head coach in 2011.

John Infante, a current writer for the Bylaw Blog and a NCAA compliance officer for two Division I universities from 2008 to 2011, said the allegation says Haith looked the other way while his assistants were violating NCAA rules.

He wasn't "doing enough education," Infante said by phone.

“It’s sort of one step removed from encouraging his coaches to go out and commit these violations ... this idea (when recruiting) of 'I'm not going to tell you to cheat, but I'm not going to ask any questions about how you did it.'


"As a result, they (head coaches) might not be committing violations, but their assistants are going out and committing violations.”


The notice alleges that Haith was aware of interactions between former assistant coach Jake Morton and former Miami booster and current federal inmate Nevin Shapiro.

“Haith was aware that Nevin Shapiro threatened that unless Jake Morton or Haith provided money to Shapiro, Shapiro would make public a claim that Shapiro provided money to assist in the recruitment of a men's basketball prospective student-athlete," according to the notice. 


When Haith learned of the threat, he “failed to alert anyone in the athletics department administration, ask reasonable questions of Morton to ensure that Shapiro's claim lacked merit or disclose the fact that Morton engaged in financial dealings with Shapiro.”


The notice ends by saying that instead of notifying someone, Haith gave Morton funds to provide to Shapiro.


Haith, who is represented by Columbia lawyer Wally Bley, will have 90 days to respond to the NCAA in writing, which will then lead to a hearing in front of the NCAA committee on infractions. 

During that time, Infante said Missouri could self-impose sanctions against Haith to prove to the NCAA that he has already been punished in case he is found guilty but that such action would have to first be approved by Haith.


The Miami investigation came to light in August 2011 when Yahoo Sports reported improper interactions between Shapiro and the Miami football and basketball programs. In the report, it claimed that Shapiro supplied Morton with $10,000 to lure former basketball recruit DeQuan Jones in the summer of 2008. Following his incarceration for conducting a Ponzi scheme, Shapiro left angry messages to Morton and Haith, and Morton returned the money in June 2010.


There was no mention of Jones or the $10,000 transaction in either Haith’s or Morton’s notice of allegations.


Last month, before the NCAA announced that it had gathered information improperly, reported two allegations against Haith citing unnamed sources. Those allegations were unethical conduct and a failure to promote an atmosphere for compliance. 


On Jan. 23, NCAA President Mark Emmert called for an external review of the investigation, claiming that there was “improper conduct” within the NCAA during the process of the investigation.


Monday, Emmert said that about 20 percent of the original data collected during the investigation had been thrown out.


MU Chancellor Brady Deaton also received a letter on Tuesday from the NCAA regarding the notice of allegations.


Within his letter, it states that “although there is no institutional responsibility on the part of Missouri for possible violations involving Mr. Haith, please be advised that action could be taken that would limit Mr. Haith’s athletically-related duties at Missouri for a designated period if he is found in violation.”


In February 2011, then University of Connecticut men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun was also charged with a failure to promote an atmosphere for compliance because of recruiting violations. 


The NCAA penalized Calhoun with a three-game coaching suspension, put the basketball program on three years probation and removed one scholarship for three years. 


Following Tuesday’s win over Florida, Haith acknowledged that he had received the notice.


“The biggest thing I want to tell you is I’m glad this thing is almost over with,” he said.


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