On Monday, CBS Sports' Jeff Goodman reported per a source that the NCAA was preparing to notify Missouri coach Frank Haith of allegations of unethical conduct and other violations as a result of the organization's probe into Miami booster Nevin Shapiro. On Tuesday morning, Florida-based attorney Michael L. Buckner sent the following statement to ESPN and other media outlets on behalf of his client, Haith:
"Until my client, Frank Haith, receives a notice of allegations from the NCAA, the CBSSports.com report is premature. The NCAA’s investigation in the University of Miami enforcement case is ongoing. Thus, if the NCAA had completed its inquiry, then Coach Haith would have received a notice of allegations. However, as of the morning of January 22, 2013, Coach Haith has not received the notice of allegations. Any speculation or information attributed to anonymous sources cannot be relied on until the NCAA makes a final decision on the evidence and issues the notice to the University of Miami and any other persons at-risk in the case.
"It is unfortunate that CBSSports.com’s unnamed source believed violating the NCAA confidentiality rules was worthwhile. The report did not advance anyone’s interests (except the source’s) and is making a mockery of what is supposed to be a fair process. Nevertheless, based on the testimony of my client, the media reports of other persons’ statements and the voluminous records we shared with the NCAA, any allegations asserted by Nevin Shapiro against my client cannot be supported."
It's hard for me to grok what the source's interests are here. It's also easy to forget that when news like this is broken, it is broken with someone's interests in mind: the college hoop fan and news consumer. All of that is typical faux-outraged legal deflection.
The other stuff, however, is actually worthwhile. It is important to remember that until the NCAA actually sends its notice to Haith at Missouri, we don't have an official accounting of the allegations against him. And until Haith responds (before 90 days' time), and until he can go through the NCAA infractions hearing process, it's difficult to know exactly what will happen when the NCAA eventually makes its ruling. We can guess -- it seems more likely the NCAA will throw whatever it can at Haith, particularly if the charge of unethical conduct sticks -- but all of that will come very much down the line. And if/when the NCAA does make a ruling, that will come well before Missouri's decision on what to do with its coach.
The saga began Monday, sure. But it won't be resolved for quite some time.