Shapiro's attorney insists she did nothing wrong

Shapiro's attorney insists she did nothing wrong

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) Nevin Shapiro's attorney said Thursday that she did nothing wrong during the former Miami booster's bankruptcy proceedings, instead insisting that the NCAA's problems during an investigation of the Hurricanes' athletic department were self-inflicted.

Further, the attorney, Maria Elena Perez, said she's one of the victims of the NCAA's mistakes.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Perez said that the NCAA had representation present during two depositions in the bankruptcy case of her client, who is currently serving a 20-year prison term for masterminding a $930 million Ponzi scheme. The NCAA said Wednesday that it has ordered an outside review of the Miami investigation after finding ``a very severe issue of improper conduct'' by former investigators working the Miami case.

``The NCAA continues to sit in the (depositions) that are relevant to them,'' Perez said in a telephone interview. ``There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I'm not an employee of the NCAA. I'm not bound by NCAA rules. What I did was exercised in due diligence for my client, Nevin Shapiro.''

It has been two wild days for Miami athletics, starting Wednesday afternoon with the NCAA's announcement that the Miami investigation would be reviewed, followed Wednesday night by the 25th-ranked Hurricanes' stunning 90-63 win over No. 1 Duke, and then the hiring on Thursday of James Coley to be the new football offensive coordinator - luring him away from Florida State, no less.

So it's business as usual at Miami. With the investigation, that's not at all the case.

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.

And one of the things the NCAA wants to know is exactly what the nature of the agreement between Perez and former investigators was.

``I cannot discuss at this juncture my relationship with the NCAA,'' said Perez, who added that she has retained her own counsel and plans to release her side of the story in the coming days.

Meanwhile, NCAA President Mark Emmert released a statement Thursday lashing out at reports that the NCAA General Counsel's office approved what he called ``the inappropriate use of Nevin Shapiro's attorney to obtain depositions in the Miami case.''

``These reports are not true,'' Emmert said. ``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.''

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 to depose people she said were part of the bankruptcy proceeding. However, the deposition of one of those who appeared under subpoena, former Miami equipment-room staffer Sean Allen, showed a number of questions that were directly related to Shapiro's involvement with Hurricane athletics.

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

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.

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.

ACC Commissioner John Swofford on Thursday lauded the way Miami has cooperated with the NCAA throughout the inquiry, which started about two years ago.

``Miami's cooperation throughout this process should be commended,'' Swofford said. ``They've been forthright and diligent in their efforts to fully cooperate with the NCAA. While it's unfortunate and extremely concerning that this has transpired, we respect the actions taken by President Emmert to launch an external review of the enforcement process.''

Perez said she was upset with the speculation that she colluded with the NCAA against Miami.

``I don't understand what all this madness is about,'' Perez said. ``This is much ado over nothing. ... Everyone is going to know exactly what happened. I have not done anything that is not above-board. In fact, I will take it a step further. I am a victim of their enforcement staff's misconduct. This is insane. This is ridiculous. This is outrageous.''

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Redskins Free Agent Targets: Justin Simmons

Redskins Free Agent Targets: Justin Simmons

NBC Sports Washington is taking a long look at potential free agents that could help the Redskins in 2020. 

Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons
2016 third-round pick by Denver
Unrestricted free agent
6-foot-2 | 202 lbs. | 26 years old

The Redskins desperately need a free safety to pair with Landon Collins, Washington's prized free-agent acquisition from a year ago.

Could Justin Simmons fill that void?

The Denver Broncos safety is not only the best safety on the market, but one of the best free agents available in general. A second-team All-Pro selection in 2019, Simmons put together his best season to date in the final year of his rookie deal.

Simmons has been a starter since 2017 and has only missed three games in the past three seasons. He's one of the best defensive players and one of the most durable at his position.

The Broncos would certainly like to keep Simmons, who blossomed into one of their best players a season ago. If the two cannot come to a long-term contract agreement by March 10, the Broncos could place the franchise tag on Simmons. 

The 26-year-old recently told the media he has not decided whether he would show up to training camp or offseason workouts under the tag.

Simmons would be an ideal fit in Washington, but the question remains if the Redskins could afford him. The 26-year-old could likely sign a contract equal to, if not more, than the contracts that Kevin Byard, Eddie Jackson and Earl Thomas all earned in the past year. All three inked deals with an AAV over $12 million. 

Other options the Redskins could explore at safety that may be less expensive than Simmons are Anthony Harris or Tre Boston. Regardless, the Redskins will need to address the position this offseason.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.


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Caps at Golden Knights: Can Ovechkin bet on 700 in Vegas?

Caps at Golden Knights: Can Ovechkin bet on 700 in Vegas?

The Capitals (37-16-5) wrap up a three-game road trip out west on Monday with a trip to face the Vegas Golden Knights (30-22-8). Catch the game broadcast as well as pre and postgame coverage on NBC Sports Washington. Pregame coverage begins at 5 p.m. with Caps FaceOff Live followed by Caps Pregame Live at 5:30 p.m. taking you up to the game broadcast at 6 p.m. Stick with NBC Sports Washington after the game for postgame coverage with Caps Postgame Live, D.C. Sports Live, and Caps Overtime Live.

Here is what you need to know for Monday's game.

Stuck on 698

Alex Ovechkin remains two goals away from reaching 700 as he has been held scoreless in each of the last four games. This the first time this season Ovechkin has been held without a goal for four games.

The good news is that he was a huge threat in Saturday's game in Arizona with 17 shot attempts and eight shots on goal so not only is he due for one, he's also really pushing to get into the back of the net. Vegas would be a fitting place to do it considering it is where he hoisted the Stanley Cup two years ago.

Kuznetsov is still out

Evgeny Kuznetsov was declared out by Todd Reirden on Sunday making this the third straight game he has missed with an upper-body injury. He took line rushes at Sunday's practice centering the third line so there is hope he could return soon, but it will not be for Monday's game against the Golden Knights.

With Kuznetsov out, here are the projected lines:

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Lars Eller - T.J. Oshie
Carl Hagelin - Travis Boyd - Richard Panik
Brendan Leipsic - Nic Dowd - Garnet Hathaway

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Nick Jensen
Jonas Siegenthaler - Radko Gudas

Holtby gets the start

Braden Holtby will get his third straight start for the Caps on Monday, Reirden told the media. No one would argue that it's been a great season for Holtby, overall, but his play has really improved of late. On Saturday he turned aside 27 of the 29 shots he faced against the Arizona Coyotes and in his last two starts combined he has a .936 save percentage.

When last we met

Monday's game will be the second and final meeting between the Caps and Golden Knights this season. Washington won the previous meeting at home on Nov. 9, defeating Vegas 5-2. Evgeny Kuznetsov scored 58 seconds into the game and Tom Wilson made it 2-0 in the first period. Jonas Siegenthaler would also score his first NHL goal and it came on the anniversary of his NHL debut.

You can read a recap of the game here.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.