Redskins

NCAA announces problems with Miami investigation

NCAA announces problems with Miami investigation

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) The NCAA's probe of Miami's athletic compliance practices is ramping up again.

Only this time, the Hurricanes aren't exactly the subject of the inquiry.

In a bizarre twist, the college sports' governing body is being investigated after NCAA President Mark Emmert acknowledged on Wednesday ``a very severe issue of improper conduct'' by former investigators working the long, complex Miami case.

The NCAA said its investigation was based, at least in part, on information that it should not have had access to, the testimony of those who appeared under subpoena to be deposed in the bankruptcy case involving former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro, one of the most notorious Ponzi scheme architects in history.

The NCAA does not have subpoena power. Shapiro's attorney did, and used it - and apparently entered into some sort of contractual agreement with the NCAA, one that apparently either was not or should never have been approved.

``We cannot have the NCAA bringing forward an allegation ... that was collected by processes none of us could stand for,'' Emmert said. ``We're going to move it as fast as possible, but we have to get this right.''

Speaking Thursday from Providence, R.I. in a telephone interview, Shapiro's attorney, Maria Elena Perez, told The Associated Press that she has done nothing wrong.

``The dubious party is not me. What I have done is 150 percent above board,'' Perez said.

Perez said she could not divulge the nature of whatever her contract status with the NCAA, though said she is planning to release a statement in the coming days after meeting with her own attorney.

``I am a victim of the enforcement staff,'' said Perez, who is a Miami graduate. ``Me.''

The revelations Wednesday mean the notice of allegations against Miami - the NCAA's findings of wrongdoing, a document that was nearly completed and was expected to be released by the end of this week - will be delayed for at least a few more weeks, if not longer. The long-term ramifications could be more damning for the NCAA, especially if the outside investigator they have commissioned to look into the mess finds more problems.

``As we have done since the beginning, we will continue to work with the NCAA and now with their outside investigator hoping for a swift resolution of the investigation and our case,'' Miami President Donna Shalala said.

Emmert said two depositions are involved in this allegation of improper conduct by former enforcement-office staffers. One of those two depositions was given Dec. 19, 2011, by former Miami equipment-room staffer Sean Allen - who has been linked to Shapiro and many of the allegations that he made against the university.

Among the questions Allen was asked in that deposition:

- ``Did you ever witness Mr. Shapiro paying any money to any University of Miami football or basketball players?''

- ``Would it be fair to say that Mr. Shapiro did, in fact, confer various financial benefits on the University of Miami Athletic Program and its players?''

- ``Did you ever overhear any of the coaches or any other staff for the University of Miami providing Mr. Shapiro with inside information regarding, you know, the condition of any particular athlete for the purposes of Mr. Shapiro's gambling?''

It's unknown which of Allen's answers caught the NCAA investigators' attention.

What is known publicly now, and has been suspected by some for months, is that those investigators never should have known those questions were asked.

``How in the world can you get this far without it being recognized that this was an inappropriate way to proceed?'' Emmert asked.

That's the question that the NCAA wants answered, and fast.

Emmert spoke angrily at times during a half-hour conference call to discuss the findings, in which he revealed that he briefed the NCAA's executive committee and the Division I board presidents with some information about the Miami matter. He said he developed a better understanding of what went on in the days that followed, which led to the hiring of Kenneth L. Wainstein of the firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP to conduct the external review of what happened.

Wainstein, Emmert said, will begin his probe on Thursday, with the NCAA hoping that he can finish within two weeks.

``We want to make sure that any evidence that's brought forward is appropriately collected and it has the integrity that we expect and demand,'' Emmert said.

It was part of a stunning day for Hurricane athletics: The 25th-ranked men's basketball team routed No. 1 Duke later Wednesday, 90-63.

Emmert said the NCAA was trying to find out why part of the investigation was based on depositions specific to the bankruptcy case against Shapiro, who will have to repay $82.7 million to his victims as part of his sentence. And the timing of this also is curious. Several people who were to be named in the NCAA's notice of allegations against Miami have been told that the document was in the final stages of preparation - and one person who spoke with the AP said at least one person who was to face a charge of wrongdoing was told the letter was scheduled for delivery to Miami on Tuesday.

Now it's anyone's guess when that will happen.

Emmert said the NCAA learned of the alleged misconduct, in part, through legal bills presented by Shapiro's attorney for work that was not properly approved by the organization's general counsel's office.

``One of the questions that has to be answered, unequivocally, is what was the nature of that contractual arrangement and what was all the activity that that individual was involved with,'' Emmert said. ``There is some uncertainty about all of that and it's one of the first orders of business for the firm that we've hired to investigate.''

The Hurricanes' athletic compliance practices have been probed by the NCAA for nearly two years. Allegations of wrongdoing involving Miami's football and men's basketball programs became widely known in August 2011 when Yahoo Sports published accusations brought by Shapiro, who is serving a 20-year term in federal prison for masterminding a $930 million Ponzi scheme.

Miami has self-imposed two football postseason bans in response to the investigation. The Hurricanes also would have played in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game this past season, meaning they could have qualified for the Orange Bowl.

``In my two-and-a-half years I've certainly never seen anything like this, and don't want to see it again,'' Emmert said.

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Why Trent Williams is the one holding the leverage when it comes to his situation with the Redskins

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Why Trent Williams is the one holding the leverage when it comes to his situation with the Redskins

Trent Williams wasn't at the Redskins' mandatory June minicamp or any of their OTA sessions, either, with reports suggesting he wants more money, is upset with the organization's medical staff or a combination of the two.

But even by not attending any offseason practice, Williams showed the Redskins something very important.

If he's not at left tackle for the team in 2019, the entire offense might fail. Not having their anchor on the left side could be an anchor to the whole campaign.

Even in sessions where the defensive line wasn't playing with full ferocity, they often times had no problems getting into the faces of Dwayne Haskins and Case Keenum. Jay Gruden absolutely noticed. It was impossible not to.

Yes, it's necessary to point out Williams wasn't the only one missing up front. In fact, the collection was basically made up of second-stringers.

However, Morgan Moses, Brandon Scherff and Chase Roullier are all slated to be back when meaningful football resumes. Gruden, the passers and the running backs don't have to worry about them.

Yet they should all be quite petrified at the thought of not having No. 71 around.

A massive reason why is because of the present choices behind him. Ereck Flowers was brought in to try and be used at left guard, but with Williams absent, he saw heavy action on the outside. The results reminded everyone there of why he's being moved to the interior.

Aside from Flowers, the 'Skins have players like Tyler Catalina and Timon Parris on the roster. They fared better than Flowers when the media was able to watch practices in Ashburn, but they're nowhere close to being starting-caliber options, let alone ready to serve as replacements for one of the franchise's top contributors of the 2000s.  

That's a major factor into why it feels like Williams holds the leverage in his standoff with the Burgundy and Gold. There are other factors as well.

Whether or not Haskins wins the job coming out of Richmond remains to be seen. With that being said, the 15th overall pick will eventually take over as signal caller, and figures to take over for the long-term future. Haskins' early career beginning with someone other than Williams protecting him is the opposite of ideal.

Then, there's the fact that many decision makers believe the Redskins are "close" to breaking through. That step forward will not happen if Williams isn't suiting up.

Now, the team could just wait Williams out and see if he's really committed to the reported "vow" he's taken to never play in DC again. Would he still be content to not show up once he starts losing out on hefty game checks?

That's something the front office may decide to find out, and that route could easily force Williams into a place where he has to make the first move. It's a card they're holding, and a key card at that.

But still, the Redskins have a head coach who badly needs to succeed starting in September, an offense predicated on running the ball, a prized young QB about to embark on his NFL life and leaders up top who could use positive results on the field.

All of that is largely why, in his Tuesday story, JP Finlay wrote that perhaps improving Williams' contract and getting him back in the locker room appears to be how this'll all play out.

The storyline this offseason absolutely wasn't supposed to be about a battle between the Redskins and Trent Williams, but as of now, that's the topic everyone's talking about. It's now in Washington's best interest to ensure it doesn't carry over beyond Week 1.

For that to happen, it seems like the team will have to appease the player. That's not common in the NFL, but not many players find themselves with the leverage Williams possesses.  

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Report: Deputy considering lawsuit against Raptors' Masai Ujiri

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Report: Deputy considering lawsuit against Raptors' Masai Ujiri

The sheriff's deputy who allegedly got into an altercation with Raptors president of operations Masai Ujiri has retained a lawyer and is considering filing a lawsuit against the Raptors executive, according to a report. 

David Mastagni, the newly hired attorney, told San Francisco TV station KPIX reporter Katie Nielsen and the Associated Press that the Alameda County sheriff's deputy was unable to work and had a concussion from the incident following the Raptors' NBA championship win at Oracle Arena last week.

Sgt. Ray Kelly told NBC Sports Washington last week that Ujiri wasn't wearing the proper credentials to celebrate with the Raptors on the court at Oracle Arena after his team won the final. When the sheriff's deputy tried to stop him, according to Kelly, he was pushed and struck in the face by Ujiri. 

Ujiri was eventually identified and allowed on the floor. He was seen moments later celebrating with the Raptors players on the ABC broadcast. 

Last week a Raptors spokesperson told NBC Sports Washington that the incident “is being looked at, and we are cooperating with authorities. We look forward to resolving the situation.” When reached on Tuesday, the spokesperson said there was no further comment.

On Tuesday, KPIX's Nielsen reported that Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern had reviewed body camera and security camera footage of the incident and supports the deputy. According to the report,  he is recommending the case move forward to the District Attorney for charges of misdemeanor battery of a police officer.

NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig reported earlier that the Wizards were preparing an offer to try to lure Ujiri from Toronto to take the vacant top position in the team's front office - though Ujiri, while celebrating at the parade in Toronto on Monday, might have hinted that he wasn't interested in leaving quite yet. "We will continue to win in Toronto," he told fans.

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