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Missouri's Haith included in Miami's motion to dismiss NCAA allegations

Thursday, April 4, 2013 | 11:10 p.m. CDT
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.

The University of Miami sent a letter to the NCAA requesting that allegations brought against the school be dismissed and claiming that the NCAA's investigation of Missouri men's basketball coach Frank Haith was "impermissible and unethical."

In February, Haith received a notice of allegation from the NCAA claiming that while at Miami he failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance. Miami has been accused of lack of institutional control by the NCAA.

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Haith, who was the coach at Miami from 2004 to 2011 before coming to Missouri, and his lawyer, Columbia attorney Wally Bley, have not said how they are responding to the NCAA allegations. 

Miami's March 29 letter, obtained by ESPN on Wednesday, said the NCAA conducted improper interviews of Haith and former Miami assistant men's basketball coach Jake Morton. Morton is accused of accepting at least $6,000 in supplemental income from convicted felon and former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro, who is at the center of the Miami scandal.

Under item six on page 27 of Miami's letter, the school claims NCAA investigators Brynna Barnhart and Abigail Grantstein used unethical tactics that went against the NCAA's values of honesty, integrity and cooperation because of their "fixation" on taking down high-profile figures.

The document further claims Barnhart and Grantstein provided Haith and Morton with false information in hopes the two coaches would implicate each other of violating NCAA rules.

Grantstein was fired in December for improperly handling the NCAA's investigation of UCLA forward Shabazz Muhammad.

On Thursday, Western Kentucky announced that Morton had resigned as director of basketball operations at the school "to pursue coaching opportunities." Morton has also filed a motion asking that his case be dismissed because of mistakes made by the NCAA in its investigation of Miami.

Calling the investigation into its athletics department "corrupted from the start," Miami has told the NCAA that it will stipulate to any properly corroborated allegations against it if the case is brought to a swift end and without any further penalties.

The Hurricanes want the infractions committee — which is not the NCAA's investigative arm, but a separate group — to use the broad power it has under the association's bylaws to end the case before it even goes its scheduled hearing in June. The motion is partly based on Miami's assertion that the investigation was filled with "gross incompetence and mismanagement."

It's unclear what happens next — when the motion will be heard, if the motion will be heard and who would even actually hear the motion. It was sent to infractions committee member Eleanor Myers, an associate professor of law at Temple, the school where Miami football coach Al Golden last coached before he left for Miami.

Among the damages, Miami cited as part of the investigation: excessive resources devoted by the school, two years of uncertainty around the football program and men's basketball program, and the smearing of Golden's reputation, who was dogged by allegations last year that his staff knowingly broke NCAA recruiting rules.

"The university is not asking for a windfall or quick escape," read Miami's motion to dismiss. "To the contrary, largely because of the NCAA's misconduct and mismanagement, this matter has languished for twice as long as it should have, to the university's detriment."

Miami has already self-imposed sanctions such as scholarship reductions and three missed postseason games. The Hurricanes have long said that should be enough.

The details of the motion became widely known on a day where embattled NCAA President Mark Emmert spoke at the Final Four in Atlanta, with part of his remarks in a question-and-answer session revolving around the Miami mess.

Emmert ordered an investigation of the investigation in January, after apparently becoming aware of the scope of the association's ties with attorney Maria Elena Perez, who represents Shapiro. The NCAA paid Perez after she conducted depositions as part of Shapiro's bankruptcy case, and part of the information from those sessions worked its way into the Miami case.

"The Miami case is obviously a significant blow to the confidence people have in enforcement, and we've worked very, very hard to be as open and frank about that case," Emmert said Thursday. "We've dealt with it directly. If we have to change, continue to change, the culture of enforcement, that's certainly on me and something I'm working hard on."


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