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AP Sources: NCAA reviews allegations against Miami

AP Sources: NCAA reviews allegations against Miami

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) The nearly 2-year-old NCAA investigation into Miami's compliance practices may be nearing an end.

Two people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Saturday that the NCAA is scheduling meetings to discuss specific allegations with individuals who are believed to have committed violations found during the inquiry. Some meetings will take place Monday, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because neither the NCAA nor Miami authorized them to reveal the developments publicly.

The reviewing of specific findings is a sign that the investigation phase is ending, meaning Miami may finally receive its notice of allegations letter in the coming days. Typically, schools review at least one draft of the notice before it formally arrives.

The NCAA does not comment on ongoing investigations. Miami's statement throughout the investigation has been that it is cooperating and not commenting further.

Earlier this month, Miami coach Al Golden told the AP that he did not expect the university to be surprised by the NCAA's findings.

``We just want to receive the notice,'' Golden said. ``The day we do that is the day we take a big step forward. I don't think there's any question that will be a release. And the good thing there is we don't anticipate any shock or any surprise.''

Miami's receipt of the notice of allegations is simply the end of one phase of the process.

Up next would be the sanctions phase, when the actual penalties against the Hurricanes would be handed down. Typically, schools and individuals named in the notice of allegations have 90 days to file a response to the NCAA's findings, all of which would be reviewed by the committee on infractions - which operates separately from the NCAA's investigative arm.

If the notice of allegations is, in fact, looming, that means Miami may find out its punishment by perhaps May or June.

Some of the sanctions have already gone into effect, since they were self-imposed. Miami's football team has missed three postseason games - two bowl games and what would have been an appearance in this season's Atlantic Coast Conference championship game - in response to the investigation, and Golden is holding back a number of scholarships from the 2013 roster as well.

The Miami investigation may go down as one of the most complex in the NCAA's history.

For starters, the principal whistleblower is Nevin Shapiro, a former booster who's serving a 20-year sentence in federal prison for masterminding a $930 million Ponzi scheme. Virtually all of the individuals who were named by Shapiro in his detailed claims that were published by Yahoo Sports in August 2011 are no longer at the university, and several of the people to whom the NCAA wanted to talk simply refused during the inquiry.

The NCAA inquiry started several months before that August 2011 article.

Shapiro's tales were wild and sordid, with claims of him giving dozens of coaches, players and recruits things like cash, memorabilia, strip-club outings, yacht rides and even paying for prostitutes. In an interview in 2011 with Miami CBS affiliate WFOR, Shapiro predicted that his claims would lead to Miami's football program getting the ``death penalty'' - the sanction where the NCAA would basically shut down the program.

Most of Shapiro's claims involved the football program, though others also involved the Hurricanes' men's basketball team.

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'The holidays mean more,' which is why John Wall gives back this time of year

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'The holidays mean more,' which is why John Wall gives back this time of year

Locals who showed up to Bright Beginnings in Southeast Washington last week didn't need to trot all the way up the hill and into the heated tent to see Wizards All-Star John Wall. With icy rain pouring down, Wall stood on the back of a box truck, handing out turkeys to those in need, just days before Thanksgiving.

Wall has long favored charitable causes that hit close to home for him. That includes a backpack and school supplies giveaway in the summer. He himself was once a young kid who showed up to school unprepared.

The holidays used to be a difficult time for Wall, who grew up in poverty in Raleigh, NC. He knows how much it means to simply have a Thanksgiving meal with family and friends.

That connection is why he shows up every year to distribute turkeys, hoping to make the holiday season a little easier on those who need some help.

"The holidays mean more," Wall said. "Thanksgiving, Christmas, they mean more because it's the time where kids are like 'why I ain't get nothing, why don't I have anything under the tree?'

"I know how I was brought up and where I came from. My mom had to work multiple jobs to try to provide for me and my sisters and brothers. It can be a tough time and I'm in the position where I have the opportunity to give back but also be there and be involved."

Wall has worked with Bright Beginnings for years now. The program helps families with young children who are homeless, in shelters or transitional housing.

Wall has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the initiative and lends his time to events like the turkey giveaway. But according to Bright Beginnings executive director Dr. Marla Dean, Wall's involvement doesn't stop there.

"It is always a great day when John stops by," she said. "He's family to us. He comes in, he stops by to check on us. He checks on families. Today is very important because this is a tough season for people who are less fortunate."

Dean said Wall and others gave out 500 turkeys that afternoon. After handing out food, Wall took pictures and signed autographs with children.

This is an interesting time for Wall. His Wizards are struggling and last week tensions boiled over in a now-infamous practice.

Wall stood and surveyed the room at the turkey giveaway, recognizing the cause he was supporting as much bigger than the game of basketball.

"Whatever ups and downs you go through throughout a season is the course of life. But these types of events around the holidays, that's what cheers you up. They're always going through probably more than we are going through," he said.

"When I have an opportunity to put a smile on their face or uplift them through their problems and take that burden off their back, why not do it?"

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Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny helps take down former team in 4-2 win over Blackhawks

Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny helps take down former team in 4-2 win over Blackhawks

CAPITAL ONE ARENA — Michal Kempny tried to say it was just another game, but he could not keep up the ruse. Playing his former team meant too much. 

The Chicago Blackhawks gave up on Kempny last February. He was traded to the Capitals after months in and out of the lineup. He wondered if his time in the NHL was coming to an end. Maybe it’d be better to just go back to the Czech Republic.

Good thing he didn’t. Kempny found a home in Washington and quickly became a top-four defenseman who helped stabilize the blueline and help the Capitals to their first Stanley Cup. The disappointment upon leaving Chicago was behind him. That didn’t make Wednesday’s game against the Blackhawks any less weird.  

“It feels really nice. I have to say it wasn’t an easy game for me to play,” Kempny said. “I know a lot of guys from Chicago. I spent almost two seasons there. But big win for me and our team.”

Kempny made sure of that. He scored a goal at 9:28 of the second period – his first of the season – and that proved to be the game winner in a 4-2 victory against Chicago. It wasn’t quite as big as Kempny’s last goal, which came in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on June 4 against the Vegas Golden Knights, but it meant something nonetheless. 

“It’s huge. After every practice I see him shooting pucks,” teammate and fellow Czech Republic native Jakub Vrana said. “He works on his shot and today it went through for him. Helps his confidence. I bet it feels pretty good.”

Kempny became the second Caps player in two games to score against his former team. At Bell Centre in Montreal on Monday, Lars Eller was being booed by the fans who used to cheer him there. He promptly scored the game-winning goal in overtime to stick it to them. Eller always loves playing the Canadiens, where he never felt he was given a chance. Kempny was more conflicted. Joel Quenneville, Chicago’s coach when he was there and a three-time Stanley Cup champion with the Blackhawks, was fired on Nov. 6. It wasn’t quite as personal. But like Eller he has landed in a good spot. 

“It always adds a little bit of extra fire to guys,” Capitals coach Todd Reirden said. “I thought [Kempny] was skating well. Great to see him get rewarded with a goal there and I thought he had a strong game. Made some good plays at the end, some good blocks, and his skating was a factor, which is always important. I thought he did a good job of breaking pucks out, but he was ramped up for it for sure and then he settled into it and had a real strong game.”

Kempny almost added a second goal with a chance in the slot in the third period at 9:40. He had a tip on goalie Corey Crawford in the second period. It’s all part of the Capitals asking more of their defensemen given a brief lull in their five-on-five play and without key forwards T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov, who are out with upper-body injuries. 

After the game, Kempny caught up with his former teammates. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews approached in the hallway outside the Chicago locker room and other former teammates stopped by to say hello. 

“I don’t know. It feels a little bit weird,” Kempny said. “The first period I was really excited from the game. After the first I was trying a little bit to settle down and keep playing my game and help my team to win.”

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