After months of speculation, Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith finally knows the allegations he faces relating to the time he spent at Miami — and it appears to be a lot less serious than originally thought.
According to documents released by MU on Wednesday, Haith has been accused of failure to monitor by the NCAA, which is less serious than the unethical-conduct charge that CBSSports.com reported he would also face a month ago.
Through his attorney, Haith declined to comment Wednesday. But while an unethical-conduct charge could have led to a multiple-year show-cause penalty, the NCAA describes a failure to monitor on its
as “a serious violation that is similar to lack of institutional control but considered less significant.”
“A failure to monitor means that as a head coach, he did not maintain an environment of rules compliance in his program,” said Birmingham, Ala., attorney Don Jackson, who has represented athletes, coaches and universities in NCAA cases for 23 years.
“Candidly, that’s serious but not nearly as serious as an unethical-conduct charge.”
Imprisoned Miami booster Nevin Shapiro said in a 2011 Yahoo Sports report that Haith was complicit in a $10,000 payment to player DeQuan Jones, with assistant coach Jake Morton serving as the primary liaison in the deal. Haith has steadfastly denied the charge, as has Jones’ family.
CBSSports.com reported last month that the NCAA could find no proof of the payment in its two-year investigation but still planned to pursue the unethical-conduct charge. Days after that report, the NCAA
improper conduct by its enforcement staff in its Miami investigation.
The NCAA notice of allegations given to Haith says that Shapiro threatened to claim he had paid a Miami recruit unless Haith or Morton provided money to Shapiro. According to the NCAA, Haith failed to alert the athletic department, failed to ensure that Shapiro’s claim lacked merit or disclose Morton’s financial dealings with Shapiro. Instead, the notice says, Haith gave money to Morton that he then provided to Shapiro.
According to the NCAA bylaw regarding failure to monitor, head coaches and staff have an obligation to report suspected rules violations and actual rules violations to their administration.
Jackson said could not recall a coach receiving a show-cause penalty for a failure-to-monitor charge. Two notable coaches who received NCAA discipline for failure to monitor are Baylor’s Scott Drew and Connecticut’s Jim Calhoun. Both were suspended for at least two games and were given recruiting restrictions.
Individuals named in a NCAA notice of allegations have 90 days to file a response, which is reviewed by the NCAA Committee on Infractions. That timeline would seem to indicate that any penalties enacted against Haith would not go into effect until next basketball season.
In a letter sent to MU Chancellor Brady Deaton detailing the charges, the NCAA informed him that although Missouri is not responsible for possible violations involving Haith, the school should be advised that action could eventually be taken that would limit his duties with the Tigers if the committee rules against him.
Jackson, however, wondered whether the committee can bring itself to do that, given the extenuating circumstances.
“One of the roles of the infractions committee is to make credibility judgments about the evidence submitted,” Jackson said. “In this case, any evidence submitted by the enforcement staff here is highly lacking credibility, in my opinion. So that being the base, every factual aspect of this case now is questionable.”
According to the AP, the infractions committee isn't scheduled to meet until July "unless all parties ... agree to a shortened response time," the NCAA said. The parties have until May 20 to file a response to the NCAA.
Missouri said in a news release that it would not comment, but would continue to monitor the situation. One former Haith assistant at Miami — Michael Schwartz, now at Fresno State — has already been cleared by the NCAA.
But Morton, a former Miami assistant whose notice of allegations was
first obtained today by The Miami Herald
, and former Miami assistant Jorge Fernandez were accused by the NCAA of allowing Shapiro to promote Miami’s athletic programs and assist in the recruitment of three players, including former Kentucky star John Wall. Both Morton and Fernandez are also accused of providing impermissible travel and entertainment benefits to people associated with recruits.
One of the athletes, Durand Scott, eventually attended Miami and was suspended for six games last season for receiving impermissible benefits. Senior center Reggie Johnson was not named in Morton’s notice, but also sat out one game last year after the NCAA found that a family member had received impermissible travel benefits from a coach on the former staff.
Jackson, when made aware of the specific charges against Morton, said they sound primarily like secondary violations, though the fact Morton was also accused of accepting at least $6,000 from Shapiro for “supplemental income” gave him some pause.
“If there’s a factual basis to any of those charges, they can be looped back to the head coach as a failure to monitor, even though I believe it’s a number of secondary violations,” Jackson said.