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Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Too early to tell how case will affect Miami

By Heather Dinich


The good news for Miami: The NCAA’s royal screw-up could leave some holes in its investigation into Miami’s athletic department.

The bad news for Miami: It’s going to take even longer to find out how much -- if at all -- Miami will really benefit from this news.

A messy investigation just got even uglier, and there’s no question it’s going to prolong much-anticipated closure for Miami. The NCAA’s enforcement committee is to blame after its unapproved decision to add Nevin Shapiro’s defense attorney to its payroll without approval. (No, really.) Any evidence that was acquired through misconduct will be “thrown out,” according to NCAA president Mark Emmert, and the NCAA will not go on a witch hunt to find it again. Instead, the NCAA will only use the evidence it collected through proper procedures.

The knee-jerk reaction will be that Miami finally won something, but keep in mind: Emmert also said there is a lot of evidence.

“If there was any information that we determined that it was obtained improperly, yes, absolutely, it would be thrown out,” he said. “We don’t have any interest in pursuing a case that was based on information that was garnered through inappropriate behavior. … We’ll use the information that was collected appropriately. In my understanding, there is a great amount of evidence that has been compiled in this case, only some small portion of which has been the result of this misconduct.”

How much evidence will be found, though, against the NCAA’s enforcement committee? The fact that we have to even ask that question is absurd.

Can Miami get a mistrial?

“It’s premature to really answer that question,” Emmert said. “This is obviously a shocking affair. … It’s stunning that this has transpired.”

While this case has likely already been tainted in the court of public opinion, don’t rush to judgment about Miami getting a pass and just walking away. Miami fans should be more confident about the fact that the program has already self-imposed sanctions for two straight years. It’s too soon to tell exactly how damning this latest information is to the NCAA’s case against Miami. Emmert said he would like the investigation into the enforcement committee to be wrapped up within seven days to two weeks “at the very latest,” and he hopes that Miami will get some closure in weeks, not months. Miami will not receive its notice of allegations, though, until that review is complete.

“I’m acutely aware of the problems this poses for those who are under some cloud, and obviously there’s been a lot of speculation in the media about what this means for all those involved,” Emmert said. “The single most important issue of fairness for me is that we make sure that any allegations that are brought forward are based on good, sound information that was gathered through appropriate means. … We’re going to move this as fast as possible, but we have to get this right.”

Miami fans should hope they got it all wrong.