CBS Reports That NCAA Vice President Approved Payment To Shapiro's Attorney

Tyler Kaufman-US PRESSWIRE

The news for the NCAA just keeps getting worse for them, and more hilarious for us.

Yeah, we hear you, Mark Emmert. We understand that for whatever reason, you guys weren't able to realize that your investigators had screwed up in a major way. That's fine. Just complete your little internal thingy and then let's figure out a good way to come to some sort of compromise on this, shall we?

The NCAA's vice president of enforcement approved a five-figure payment to the attorney of Miami booster Nevin Shapiro in order to obtain information in its ongoing Miami infractions investigation, two sources with knowledge of the arrangement told CBSSports.com.

Oh, well this changes things a bit...doesn't it? You'll remember that not too long ago, Dennis Dobbs of CBS released a report that the NCAA had uncovered "illegal" methods had been used to gain insight into the Shapiro/Miami scandal. Basically, investigators had paid Shapiro's attorney to ask questions relating to Miami during his bankruptcy trial. These questions would not have been a part of the normal process, which means that the NCAA investigators stepped outside of their jurisdiction to get this info.

During his press conference, Mark Emmert was adamant that he and his staff had only learned of the impropriety recently, even though the lead investigator on the case had been fired months prior. Well today, CBS released another report that blows a gigantic hole through that story.

The sources said enforcement director Julie Roe Lach discussed and approved the disbursement of at least $20,000 in October-November 2011. The NCAA is already conducting an external review investigating what it called "improper conduct" by its enforcement arm.

The NCAA claimed former enforcement staff members improperly gained information from a deposition conducted by Shapiro's attorney, Maria Elena Perez. The NCAA never named the attorney directly. Two men with ties to Shapiro were deposed by the attorney in a bankruptcy proceeding in December 2011, CBSSports.com has learned.

What this report is saying, is that the Vice President of Enforcement approved the budget line for Shapiro's attorney. This is a HUGE no-no, even more so than the fact that the investigators did this in the first place. This is a person that Emmert placed specifically to lead enforcement going outside of the rules that SHE IS IN CHARGE OF to gain information against Miami.

Not only that, but here's a fun little statement by Mark Emmert made on January 24th:

Media reports yesterday quoting unnamed sources said the inappropriate use of Nevin Shapiro’s attorney to obtain depositions in the Miami case was authorized by the NCAA General Counsel’s office. These reports are not true. In fact, evidence shows the General Counsel’s Office specifically told the enforcement staff — on at least two occasions prior to any arrangements being made with the attorney — that they could not use Shapiro’s attorney for that purpose. As a result, the external investigation is solely focused on the behavior within and the environment of the enforcement program.

Mark Emmert
President, NCAA

The NCAA's General Counsel is Donald Remy, and by order of superiority, Julie Roe Lach would have to submit the approval for the attorney payment to Remy himself. This means one of two things. Either Roe Lach got this whole thing set up on her own, without Remy or Emmert knowing about it, and had it running for months before getting caught, or she did, in fact, submit the budget line info to her boss, Donald Remy, and he approved it so that it could move forward. The former is exceptionally unlikely. The latter would directly contradict Emmer's above statement, which would either mean that he blatantly lied in order to save the bacon of his VP of Enforcement, or he truly has no idea of anything that goes on outside of his field of vision.

Regardless, given this most recent news, I expect that Mr. Emmert will have quite a bit of explaining to do in short order.

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