NCAA Tells Former Hurricanes Players They'll Be Considered Guilty Unless They Cooperate in Shapiro Scandal Investigation

Categories: Sports
For the NCAA, it's not innocent until proven guilty. Apparently, it's guilty unless you cooperate with us. It seems there's no such thing as pleading the fifth in the NCAA's bylaws.

In a move completely unheard of before, the NCAA has sent out letters to former Miami Hurricanes players informing them that they'll be considered guilty of infractions related to the Nevin Shapiro scandal unless they cooperate with the investigation. It's a tactic experts are calling "controversial," "manipulative," and "desperate."

See also:
-- Nevin Shapiro: Miami's Caligula

Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald obtained one such letter sent to the attorney of one player, and reports they've been sent to several others. He calls the letter "heavy-handed and manipulative." Here's the key excerpt from the letter:
"If we do not hear back from you or your clients by [this Friday], the staff will consider the non-response as your client's admission of involvement in NCAA violations. You may contact me at [blank] in order to arrange this interview. Your assistance in this matter is appreciated."
The players who received the letter are all former Hurricanes who are either in the NFL or have left football. The NCAA no longer has any jurisdiction over them.

If the NCAA has used such a drastic tactic before, it's never been leaked to the press.

"I've never heard of anything like this before," an unnamed compliance expert told CBS Sports. "This seems like a total bullying tactic and sounds like a desperate move. They're basically saying they're taking the word of a billion-dollar Ponzi schemer over some guys who may have taken a few steak dinners? It looks like the NCAA has spent a ton of money and time investigating this and they're trying to cover their investment."

There's been speculation that the NCAA has had a hard time confirming many of Shapiro's allegations. While the University of Miami has claimed it's cooperating with the investigations to its fullest extent, many of the players and staffers implicated in the investigations are no longer associated with the school.

If anything, the letter seems to signal that despite spending nearly two years investigating the allegations, the NCAA hasn't yet gotten to the bottom of the mess yet. Though, there's no guarantee UM won't get whacked in February, when the NCAA is expected to hand down their verdict.

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I'm not even remotely concerned. It's not extortion because no money is changing hands, it's only an internal investigation by an organization into the conduct of one of its members, and there is no implied threat against any former player, just the presumption of guilt within that organization.


In fact, the NCAA needed to do this. There is obviously a wall of silence around the school out of blind loyalty, and it affects the school's status within the NCAA. This is the way to go, and since the NCAA is a private organization with its own bylaws for its members, and since this isn't a criminal investigation, they can pretty much do what they want to get to the truth. It may look bad, but former players stonewalling the investigation out of misguided loyalty to the university look even worse.


Under Florida criminal statute 836.05 [Threats; extortion], extortion can be in the form of a written or verbal threat or communication. The communication may be in printed form such as an email, letter, or blog.

Whenever a suspect:

maliciously threatens to accuse another of a crime, or maliciously threatens an injury to the person, property, or reputation of another, or maliciously threatens to expose another to disgrace, or maliciously threatens to impute any deformity or lack of chastity to another,

with the intent to extort any money or any pecuniary advantage OR with the intent to compel the threatened person (or any other person), to do any act or refrain from doing any act against his or her will commits the criminal offense of extortion.


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