Haith: No unethical conduct found

The University of Miami received the notice of allegations from the NCAA on Tuesday, and so did Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith, who was the Hurricanes’ coach at the time covered in the investigation.

But the big revelation: Haith said the notice did not include an unethical-conduct charge. The possibility of the charge, which could have been career damaging and prompted a decision about Haith’s employment at Missouri, was first reported last month by CBSSports.com.

It’s not known what, if any, charges were listed against Haith.

“Contrary to what was reported, there was no unethical conduct in my notice of allegation,” Haith said after the Tigers’ 63-60 victory over fifth-ranked Florida. “We get a chance to defend ourselves.”

Haith made the comment after he had risen to leave his happy postgame news conference. When he was peppered with questions about the notice, which started circulating during the game, Haith returned to his chair and spoke directly into the microphone.

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

Haith said he informed athletic director Mike Alden after the game, in the hallway outside of the interview room just before Haith met with reporters. Alden had told an ESPN reporter during the second half that Missouri hadn’t received a notice from Miami.

“Shoot, after 20 months, I think all of us are pleased that we can deal with it and move forward,” Alden said. “I’m looking forward to working with Frank for a long time.”

Alden had not seen the report when he spoke with reporters.

“He let me know just a little bit ago,” Alden said. “I’ll be glad we’ll get a chance to work together with Frank, to be able to look through it.”

The charges against Haith stemmed from an allegation by Miami booster Nevin Shapiro that a member of Haith’s staff paid $10,000 to the family of DeQuan Jones, a former player.

An unethical-conduct penalty could have led to a multiple-year, show-cause penalty by the NCAA, which essentially prevents schools from hiring coaches. Haith’s situation would have been unique. He had moved to another school before the results of the investigation.

But with no unethical-conduct charge, it’s a moot point.

Typically, schools and individuals named in the notice of allegations have 90 days to file a response, and that can be reviewed by the NCAA Committee on Infractions. Penalties could be announced months later.

Miami blasted the NCAA in a statement on Tuesday evening, claiming that many allegations “remain unsubstantiated.”

The university noted that many charges were brought forth by Shapiro, “a convicted con man,” and that the NCAA was responsible for damaging leaks of unsubstantiated allegations over the course of the investigations.

Miami received the NCAA’s notice one day after president Mark Emmert announced the findings of an external review of its enforcement staff. In the last few weeks, the NCAA has acknowledged that it paid Shapiro’s attorney to use subpoena power to depose witnesses who were unwilling to cooperate with the investigation.

The depositions were tossed from the case against Miami, and university president Donna Shalala said the school had no intention of accepting sanctions other than ones it has self-imposed.

As for Haith and Missouri, the major step toward resolution came as a relief.

“It’s certainly been an interesting time,” Alden said. “There are probably many of us out there, that have been surprised by a lot of things. For us, we’re glad there’s going to be some closure.”