As a proud member of the University of Miami Board of Trustees, and as the chairman of the University's Athletics Advisory Council, I was disappointed in the NCAA Notice of Allegations delivered to the University on Tuesday.
My disappointment first rests in the simple fact that as an institution, our employees and student-athletes committed violations of NCAA rules. Even one violation by one individual is simply one too many, and the university has invested resources into enhanced compliance and oversight throughout Hurricanes Athletics.
But my disappointment also extends to the NCAA and its investigative process, the myriad issues already acknowledged by the organization itself, as well as outlined in President Donna Shalala's statement earlier this week. The lengthy and unwieldy investigation has especially hurt our outstanding coaches who work so hard to build nationally competitive intercollegiate programs.
We have a proud tradition of athletic excellence at UM and, under the direction of new Director of Athletics Blake James and President Shalala's continued support, there are no limits to what our athletics program can achieve.
We will win with class, sportsmanship and in full compliance of NCAA rules. We will continue to graduate our student-athletes at a rate surpassing most American institutions. We now look forward — not back — and this chapter will soon be behind us.
What will remain is a vibrant, enthusiastic and committed collection of administrators, coaches, staff and students who proudly wear the "U." They don't wear it for what it represents, but for what it means: That excellence in athletics is not antithetical to the mission of a university, but rather enhances the college experience for many.
I stand with the U.
David Epstein is a member of the University of Miami's Board of Trustees.
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On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of Miami, I wish to reaffirm President Donna Shalala's expression of regret and our acceptance of responsibility for violations of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules by current and former student-athletes, coaches and staff. Our institution can — and must — do a better job of ensuring compliance to NCAA and ACC rules, and that effort of strengthening our policies and procedures is well underway.
Unfortunately, over the last 2 1/2 years, the university has lived under the glaring light of a protracted and sensationalized NCAA investigation, which often overshadows the wonderful accomplishment of our current student-athletes, most recently the dramatic rise of our men's basketball team to unprecedented heights.
Despite the often unwieldy investigation, the University of Miami, at President Shalala's and the Board of Trustees' insistence, has held itself to the highest standards in its model cooperation with the NCAA. Our administrators, staff, and student-athletes have been forthcoming with information and transparency in their efforts to address any concerns. What has been lost in recent months is the fact that it was the university that first advised the NCAA of potential violations back in 2010.
The university has self-imposed unprecedented sanctions, including the football program's two-year bowl ban and forfeiture of a hard-earned conference championship game. Student-athletes found to have violated NCAA rules were withheld from competition, and they repaid any inappropriate benefits that they had received.
Regardless of the many troubling aspects of the NCAA's conduct, we must keep our focus on our core mission as an institution of higher learning: Fostering our students' intellectual and, in the case of our athletes, physical development. We must never lose sight of our role in helping them become effective and ethical leaders, both on and off the playing field. I believe our approach and conduct during this lengthy investigation has done just that.
While I believe that the University of Miami will emerge stronger and more committed than ever to the letter and the spirit in which the NCAA's rules of conduct were established, the trustees respectfully, but firmly, add our own voice to President Shalala's in asking that no further sanctions be imposed on the dedicated, talented, and outstanding men and women who proudly represent the Miami Hurricanes.
Leonard Abess, chair, University of Miami Board of Trustees
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Statement from President Donna E. Shalala
Earlier today the University of Miami received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA concerning its investigation of the University’s athletics program. The following statement from President Donna E. Shalala is in response to that Notice.
The University of Miami deeply regrets and takes full responsibility for those NCAA violations that are based on fact and are corroborated by multiple individuals and/or documentation. We have already self-imposed a bowl ban for an unprecedented two-year period, forfeited the opportunity to participate in an ACC championship game, and withheld student-athletes from competition.
Over the two and a half years since the University of Miami first contacted the NCAA enforcement staff about allegations of rules violations, the NCAA interviewed dozens of witnesses, including current and former Miami employees and student-athletes, and received thousands of requested documents and emails from the University. Yet despite our efforts to aid the investigation, the NCAA acknowledged on February 18, 2013 that it violated its own policies and procedures in an attempt to validate the allegations made by a convicted felon. Many of the allegations included in the Notice of Allegations remain unsubstantiated.
Now that the Notice of Allegations has been issued, let me provide some context to the investigation itself:
--Many of the charges brought forth are based on the word of a man who made a fortune by lying. The NCAA enforcement staff acknowledged to the University that if Nevin Shapiro, a convicted con man, said something more than once, it considered the allegation “corroborated”—an argument which is both ludicrous and counter to legal practice.
--Most of the sensationalized media accounts of Shapiro’s claims are found nowhere in the Notice of Allegations. Despite their efforts over two and a half years, the NCAA enforcement staff could not find evidence of prostitution, expensive cars for players, expensive dinners paid for by boosters, player bounty payments, rampant alcohol and drug use, or the alleged hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts given to student-athletes, as reported in the media. The fabricated story played well—the facts did not.
--The NCAA enforcement staff failed, even after repeated requests, to interview many essential witnesses of great integrity who could have provided first-hand testimony, including, unbelievably, Paul Dee, who has since passed away, but who served as Miami Athletic Director during many of the years that violations were alleged to have occurred. How could a supposedly thorough and fair investigation not even include the Director of Athletics?
--Finally, we believe the NCAA was responsible for damaging leaks of unsubstantiated allegations over the course of the investigation.
Let me be clear again: for any rule violation—substantiated and proven with facts—that the University, its employees, or student-athletes committed, we have been and should be held accountable. We have worked hard to improve our compliance oversight, and we have already self-imposed harsh sanctions.
We deeply regret any violations, but we have suffered enough.
The University and counsel will work diligently to prepare our official response to the Notice of Allegations and submit it to the Committee on Infractions within the required 90-day time period.
We trust that the Committee on Infractions will provide the fairness and integrity missing during the investigative process.
To read more about the NCAA investigation, visit www.miami.edu/ncaa_investigation.
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Statement from President Donna E. Shalala
University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala made this statement concerning the external Enforcement Review Report the NCAA issued earlier today regarding the improper handling of its investigation of the University of Miami.
"The University takes full responsibility for the conduct of its employees and student-athletes. Where the evidence of NCAA violations has been substantiated, we have self-imposed appropriate sanctions, including unilaterally eliminating once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for our students and coaches over the past two years, and disciplining and withholding players from competition.
"We believe strongly in the principles and values of fairness and due process. However, we have been wronged in this investigation, and we believe that this process must come to a swift resolution, which includes no additional punitive measures beyond those already self-imposed.
"In September 2010—two and a half years ago—the University of Miami advised the NCAA of allegations made by a convicted felon against former players and, at that time, we pledged our full cooperation with any investigation into the matter. One year later, in August 2011, when the NCAA's investigation into alleged rules violations was made public, I pledged we would 'vigorously pursue the truth, wherever that path may lead' and insisted upon 'complete, honest, and transparent cooperation with the NCAA from our staff and students.'
"The University of Miami has lived up to those promises, but sadly the NCAA has not lived up to their own core principles. The lengthy and already flawed investigation has demonstrated a disappointing pattern of unprofessional and unethical behavior. By the NCAA leadership's own admission, the University of Miami has suffered from inappropriate practices by NCAA staff. There have also been damaging leaks to the media of unproven charges. Regardless of where blame lies internally with the NCAA, even one individual, one act, one instance of malfeasance both taints the entire process and breaches the public's trust.
"There must be a strong sense of urgency to bring this to closure. Our dedicated staff and coaches, our outstanding student-athletes, and our supporters deserve nothing less."
To read more about the NCAA investigation, visit www.miami.edu/ncaa_investigation.
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"Since the University first alerted the NCAA to the possibility of violations more than two years ago, we have been cooperative and compliant with the NCAA and, I believe, a model for how institutions should partner with NCAA staff during investigations. In addition to encouraging current and former staff members and student-athletes to cooperate with investigators, we have provided thousands of documents to the enforcement staff.
I am frustrated, disappointed and concerned by President Emmert’s announcement today that the integrity of the investigation may have been compromised by the NCAA staff.
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.
I want to thank our community for their continued support and patience.
Stand with the U.”
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami has made the decision to withhold the football team from bowl consideration for the 2012 postseason. The decision was made in response to the ongoing NCAA inquiry and the University has informed both the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference of its decision. The decision also means that should the Miami football team qualify for the ACC Championship Game, it will not be eligible to participate.
Interim Director of Athletics Blake James informed the team of the decision this morning, two days after the Hurricanes became bowl eligible with their sixth victory of the season.
The unprecedented decision to voluntarily withhold the football team from a second consecutive postseason was made by University leadership, including President Shalala, the Office of the General Counsel and Department of Athletics leaders. Considerable deliberation and discussion based on the status of the NCAA inquiry went into the decision-making process and, while acknowledging the impact that the decision will have on current student-athletes, coaches, alumni and fans, a determination was made that voluntarily withholding the football team from a second postseason was not only a prudent step for the University to take but will also allow for the football program and University to move forward in the most expedited manner possible.
The University and President Shalala have been clear from the start of the inquiry that Miami will cooperate fully and will seek the truth, no matter where the path might lead and that the institution will be stronger because of it. The University has already taken proactive measures to ensure more strict compliance with NCAA rules and continues to evaluate further steps.
No other self-imposed penalties have been issued at this time and to continue to protect the integrity of the inquiry, the University will have no further comment.
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. – University of Miami junior guard Durand Scott was reinstated by the NCAA after being declared ineligible by UM for receiving impermissible benefits. The reinstatement provisions are that Scott must pay the value of the received benefits to charity and serve a six-game withholding penalty. The benefits were received prior to the arrival of the current coaching staff at Miami. Scott's six-game withholding will include the Florida State game in the ACC Tournament, the 2012 postseason and any remaining withholding games at the start of the 2012-2013 season.
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Miami Hurricanes junior center Reggie Johnson was reinstated by the NCAA with the following conditions: he must repay the value of the benefits to a charity and serve a one-game withholding penalty (Florida State).
Johnson will be available to play for Miami against NC State on Wednesday night.
CORAL GABLES, Fla. - The University of Miami has declared men's basketball student-athlete Reggie Johnson ineligible and is seeking his immediate reinstatement from the NCAA.
In the process of the ongoing joint NCAA-UM inquiry, it was discovered that members of Johnson's family received impermissible travel benefits from a member of the former basketball coaching staff. Johnson was unaware of the benefits and his family was told they were permissible by that member of the former basketball coaching staff.
Johnson, his family and the University will continue to cooperate with the NCAA throughout the process.
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami, after consultation with the NCAA, has announced that senior basketball player DeQuan Jones can return to competition immediately. In order to protect the integrity of the ongoing joint inquiry, the University will not comment further at this time.
University of Miami senior DeQuan Jones will not participate in competition during the 2011-12 men's basketball season as the NCAA and University continue their joint investigation. The University and Jones will continue to cooperate fully with the NCAA.
UM Morale Not Low
Michael Putney, in his Aug. 24 Other Views column, Nobody Comes Out of UM Scandal Looking Good, asserts that a survey of University of Miami faculty and staff “shows very low morale.” Someone provided him with misleading information.
Earlier this year, anonymous surveys were taken. Polling experts named by the Faculty Senate worked on the questionnaires to assure that they were professionally done and fair. The surveys did show uncertainty over the rate of change at UM and unhappiness with current salary levels.
Those were hardly unexpected results at a time of serious concerns over the economy and with little to no net pay increases over the prior two years. Those dissatisfied on these matters exceeded those who were satisfied, but only by modest margins, hardly proof of “very low morale.” On the other hand, measurements of pride in working for the university and of job satisfaction — traditionally the strongest measures of morale — were overwhelmingly positive.
I am the first and only third-generation trustee of the University of Miami board of trustees. My mother’s father was a founding trustee. Years later, my father served with him, and many years later I joined my dad.
Through more than 85 years of service to the U, no member of our family has received a UM degree. That will change next year when our son receives his diploma. I will sit on stage in my capacity as chairman of the board, but I will experience the emotions of a parent. My child, who just four years earlier entered this great university, will be leaving as an educated adult, ready and eager to make a difference...
Most nights we have dinner as a family, and our son tells us what he has learned in music, business and environmental studies. We are amazed by the interdisciplinary track he is pursuing, and we learn new things from him. Most of all, we see how much he is learning to love to learn.
I go to bed knowing why my fellow trustees and I work so hard and give so much. We do it for the kids. They are not the most important reason for the university to exist — they are the only reason. Our mission is to educate young adults as they transition into adulthood. To prepare them to go out into the world and work hard to make it a better place.
Recent accusations by a convicted felon have placed us on the front page. We have been both supported and criticized. It seems like everyone knows what we should be doing and that we are not doing it. Some have already convicted us and determined our fate.
They see no need to wait for the facts and the truth. Most of the advice I have received is to get in front of the cameras, declare we are ethical and defend our honor. I do not believe that saying it makes it so. I believe you earn that reputation by being ethical and honorable. You earn it by the way you live and act. We are disappointed that anything wrong may have occurred in our sports program or anywhere else in our university.
The board is already focused on understanding where we failed and what we can do to prevent any improper conduct in the future.
What we will not do is let this distract us from our mission. Our mission is not to win national championships (although we certainly want to) but to educate these young adults. Along with our administration, faculty, staff, physicians and coaches — thousands of people who have dedicated themselves to this mission — we work hard every day in our quest for excellence.
When we finally get everything right and receive a perfect grade, we will then work even harder to continually improve. While those who rate Universities focus so much on who enters the freshman class, we focus on our graduates — what they learn and how they grow in the short time they pass through.
In the last decade the University of Miami has joined the ranks of the best of the best. I am proud of our response to the Haiti earthquake. We were the first to arrive on the ground and, if we ever leave, we will be the last to go. I am proud of our physicians who are the primary caregivers to our community’s substantial population of uninsured.
I am proud of our researchers who are finding new ways to treat disease or even eliminate it, protect the environment, predict the weather, design better communities, understand human behavior, and so much more. I am proud of the Frost School of Music, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Miller School of Medicine, arts and sciences, business, engineering, nursing, architecture, communication, law and education schools. We teach nurses, teachers, musicians, therapists, architects, engineers, scientists, researchers, and lawyers, and we do it well while always striving to improve.
I am proud of our board, administration, faculty, staff, and students. I am proud of our athletes, who compete in 17 different sports, as well as the men and women who coach and train them. I am proud of those who are at the center of this storm. They have endured being tried and convicted before getting the opportunity to tell the truth. They are learning how to make better choices, accept responsibility for their acts and to be held accountable.
There is so much to be learned at a university, both in the classroom and out. Most of all, I am proud to be a Miami Hurricane — more today than ever before.
Leonard Abess is chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Miami.
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The University of Miami has been notified of the penalties from the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff.
“The NCAA has informed the University of Miami of their decisions regarding the reinstatement of eight student-athletes who were declared ineligible by the University last week, “ said UM Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst. “The student-athletes involved have acknowledged receiving improper benefits and will now be responsible for restitution and, in some cases, the student-athletes will also serve game suspensions. They understand that their actions demand consequences. This university has the highest standards in all of our academic and athletic endeavors. We will remain steadfast in our commitment to continue to build winning programs with the utmost of integrity. We will be more vigilant in our compliance and continue to work with the NCAA on the joint investigation to determine the facts. We appreciate the diligence and understanding of the NCAA staff and its handling of the student-athlete eligibility issues in an expeditious manner. I would also like to thank Coach Golden and his staff for their professionalism and leadership over the past few weeks.”
Additionally, the following football student-athletes have been cleared by the NCAA to play in all competition and each must make repayment in the amount of less than $100: Brandon McGee, JoJo Nicholas, Micanor Regis and Vaughn Telemaque.
Senior Marcus Robinson has been cleared of any NCAA violations and will not face any penalties.
Finally, UM head coach Al Golden announced that senior wide receiver Aldarius Johnson has been suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules.
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Eight Miami Football Student-Athletes Must Sit Out Games, Repay Benefits
Eight University of Miami football student-athletes must miss competition and repay benefits as a condition of becoming eligible to play again, according to a decision today by the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff. The student-athletes received varying levels of recruiting inducements and extra benefits from university booster Nevin Shapiro and athletics personnel, according to the facts of the case.
Reinstatement decisions are independent of the NCAA enforcement process and typically are made once the facts of the student-athlete’s involvement are determined. This is typically well in advance of infractions decisions. The enforcement investigation into the University of Miami is ongoing.
Of the eight football student-athletes, three received substantial benefits as prospective student-athletes from Shapiro and athletics personnel to entice them to enroll at the university, which are considered some of the most serious recruiting violations within the NCAA.
Olivier Vernon, who received more than $1,200 in benefits primarily from Shapiro, must miss six games and make repayment of the value of the benefits. These recruitment benefits included meals, transportation, access to Shapiro’s game suite, drinks, as well as cover charges at two different nightclubs, among others.
Two other student-athletes, Aravious Armstrong and Dyron Dye, will miss four games and must make repayment. Armstrong received approximately $788 in extra benefits from Shapiro and athletics personnel during his recruitment. Dye received approximately $738. These student-athletes’ benefits included five nights of impermissible lodging from institutional staff during their unofficial visits, transportation, multiple meals, and entertainment at a gentleman’s club.
Different than the first three student-athletes, five other student-athletes received impermissible benefits while currently enrolled at the university.
These five student-athletes – Marcus Forston, Sean Ryan Spence, Adewale Ojomo, Travis Benjamin and Jacory Harris – must miss one game and make repayment. Forston received more than $400 in extra benefits from Shapiro and athletic personnel, including athletic equipment, meals, nightclub cover charges and entertainment at a gentleman’s club. Spence received approximately $275 in benefits, including meals, transportation, as well as cover charges and entertainment at a gentleman’s club. Ojomo received $240 in extra benefits, including a meal and nightclub cover charges. Benjamin received more than $150 in extra benefits, including meals and entertainment. Harris received more than $140 in benefits from meals, entertainment, transportation and nightclub cover charges.
During the student-athlete reinstatement process, the staff considers a number of factors including guidelines established by the Division I NCAA Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement for the type of violations and value of benefits, if a significant competitive advantage was gained, the student-athlete’s responsibility for the violations and any mitigating circumstances presented by the school, among other factors.
“From regular reviews of our rules to the presidential retreat earlier this month, our members have continually stressed that involvement of third parties during recruitment will not be tolerated, and there must be accountability for inappropriate behavior,” said Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs.
When a school discovers an NCAA rules violation has occurred, it must declare the student-athlete ineligible and may request the student-athlete’s eligibility be reinstated. The NCAA staff reviews each student-athlete’s reinstatement request individually based on its own merits and set of specific facts, which are agreed upon by the university and the NCAA enforcement staff. The University of Miami has not submitted any additional reinstatement requests at this time.
"The NCAA has informed the University of Miami of their decisions regarding the reinstatement of eight student-athletes who were declared ineligible by the University last week,” said University of Miami Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst. “The student-athletes involved have acknowledged receiving improper benefits and will now be responsible for restitution and, in some cases, the student-athletes will also serve game suspensions. They understand that their actions demand consequences.
"This university has the highest standards in all of our academic and athletic endeavors. We will remain steadfast in our commitment to continue to build winning programs with the utmost of integrity. We will be more vigilant in our compliance and continue to work with the NCAA on the joint investigation to determine the facts.
"We appreciate the diligence and understanding of the NCAA staff and its handling of the student-athlete eligibility issues in an expeditious manner. I would also like to thank Coach (Al) Golden and his staff for their professionalism and leadership over the past few weeks."
The reinstatement process typically concludes prior to the close of the enforcement investigation, which must determine the university's responsibility for violations. While it depends on the complexity of the case, most student-athlete reinstatement requests are resolved in about a week after the school has provided a complete request and the reinstatement staff has all the necessary information. In contrast an enforcement investigation, which also varies in length depending on the complexity, must look at the totality of issues and takes an average of 11 months. For this reason, student-athlete reinstatement decisions do not signal that an enforcement investigation is complete.
The university can appeal any student-athlete reinstatement decision to the Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, an independent panel comprised of representatives from NCAA member colleges, university and athletic conferences who are not directly affiliated with the university. This committee can reduce or remove the condition, but it cannot increase the staff-imposed conditions. If appealed, the student-athlete remains ineligible until the conclusion of the appeals process.
Read more at NCAA.org
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University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala offered this message to the community at large about the ongoing NCAA investigation.
We all know that athletics at the University of Miami have made headlines recently; and that troubling questions are being raised about some current and former members of our athletic community.
We are conducting a joint investigation with the NCAA into allegations of wrong-doing, but the NCAA is taking the lead. We promised we would not comment on any specifics until the investigation runs its course. We continue to honor that commitment. We can and will do nothing less.
The NCAA is reviewing the eligibility of current student-athletes who are alleged to have violated NCAA rules. They will determine if any disciplinary action is warranted. And as much as we would like to see this wrapped up, we cannot be impatient.
This is because investigations are about fact-finding. They are a systematic search for the truth. We are committed to pursuing this investigation wherever it leads us. And you don’t time that process with a stopwatch.
We are going to use this joint investigation to identify any weaknesses in our own compliance efforts. We will implement necessary changes. Our new athletics director, Shawn Eichorst, is already reviewing our policies and procedures.
I want to re-emphasize something I said last week: Every one of our employees and student-athletes has been urged to cooperate fully and honestly with the NCAA. We are going to do this right. We are committed to having the most compliant program anywhere. And we will move on stronger and better prepared for the future.
Let us not forget who we are. Over the past decade, we have made enormous progress in the academic achievements of our athletes, rising from a 43 percent graduation rate to 76 percent. Nationally, the academic achievements of our student-athletes are mentioned in the same breath and spirit as Notre Dame and Stanford. This is because we are first and foremost an academic institution.
U.S. News and World Report ranks UM among the top 50 in the country.
I believe in our future more than ever. We are a great and growing university.
I am proud of the support we are receiving from so many of you. I deeply appreciate the leadership and the dedication of so many of our coaches, administrators and student athletes, alumni and community.
We will continue to earn and deserve that support. And you can count on me to devote all my energy to upholding the ideals of this special place we cherish - the University of Miami. Thank you.
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These past two weeks have been quite painful for me, as they have been for anyone who loves the University of Miami.
I am deeply troubled by questions that have been raised about some current and former members of our athletics community.
It is way too early to know all of the details — and the NCAA is taking the lead in our joint investigation — but the allegations alone cause serious concerns.
Here’s my commitment: I will do, and we will do, everything possible to find the truth, learn from any mistakes and take measures to prevent any such behavior from happening again.
Investigations are, of course, about fact-finding and a systematic search for the truth. We have committed to the NCAA every possible resource to get to the bottom of all this. We promised the NCAA we would not comment on any specifics until the investigation runs its course. We continue to honor that commitment.
The review of the eligibility of current student-athletes who are alleged to have violated NCAA rules, including any disciplinary action to be taken, is awaiting an NCAA decision. How long the rest of the investigation might take, we simply don’t know.
We will use the joint investigation to identify any weaknesses in our compliance efforts and implement all necessary changes. Our new athletics director, Shawn Eichorst, already is reviewing our policies and procedures.Our promise is to pursue this investigation wherever it leads us. I reemphasize what I said last week: Every one of our employees and student-athletes has been urged to cooperate fully and honestly with the NCAA. If we do all this right — and we will — we will take the necessary actions to make sure we have the most compliant program possible. If we do this right — and we will — we will move on stronger and be better prepared for the future.
I deeply appreciate the leadership and dedication of so many of our coaches, administrators and student athletes. Over the past decade, we have made enormous progress in the academic achievements of our athletes, rising from a 43 percent graduation rate to 76 percent. Nationally, the academic achievements of our student-athletes are mentioned in the same breath and spirit as Notre Dame and Stanford. Our new football coach, Al Golden, brings not only football smarts, but s also a proven builder of young men. So is our new men’s basketball coach, Jim Larranaga.
While athletics at UM has been in recent headlines, do not forget that we are, first and foremost, an academic institution. The most recent U.S. News & World Report listings rank UM among the top 50 in the country. Our health system is now among the leading medical centers in the world. The University of Miami Life Science & Technology Park, under construction on the eastern edge of the medical campus, will bring new jobs in biotechnology and related fields that can help transform the South Florida economy.
I believe more than ever in the future of this growing and great university. I am proud of the support we receive from so many of you, and we will continue to earn and deserve that support.
You can count on all my energy and fullest commitment to upholding the ideals of our great university.
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Dear Fellow University of Miami Alumni,
Recent allegations of NCAA rule violations by current and former University student-athletes and staff have generated a great deal of speculation on the integrity of Miami Hurricanes athletics and the "U." Like me, I know you love your alma mater and take great pride in all its wonderful and varied achievements throughout the years. I am also aware that we are all deeply concerned about these allegations and the ultimate impact of the NCAA investigations on the future and reputation of our legendary athletics program. As a former student-athlete, I have experienced first-hand the devotion that the students and staff have to the integrity of their sport, to each other, and to the University.
The following is a very important message from President Shalala to the University of Miami family that I urge you to view. I know you will join me in continuing your support for all the students, staff, and greater Hurricanes community as we continue to move forward.
Always a Hurricane,
Dany Garcia, BBA '92
President, UM Alumni Association
For the Media: Download a standard definition version of the video below. Allow a few minutes for download time. (Download video file here) | (Download "zip" file version here)
This past Friday was move-in day for thousands of freshmen at the University of Miami. I joined many new Canes as they lugged overflowing suitcases, moved into their residence halls, and hugged their parents goodbye. So much optimism, excitement and pride. I thought of those moments over the weekend, as I continued to work with our senior staff on the ongoing NCAA investigation. I think about those eager young students ready to embrace the opportunities for growing and learning at our University. That is what the University of Miami is about: the young men and women who come here to achieve their dreams. And there are thousands more on our campuses and hundreds of thousands of graduates who define Miami not merely as a place, but as an idea. The past eight days have been difficult for so many members of our community. As I said on Wednesday, I am saddened and disappointed by the allegations leveled against some current and former members of the University community. However, I am heartened by the kind displays of support in recent days - phone calls, emails and letters from so many of you. When our values are called into question, as they have been this past week, we have only one option: to do what is right and to have the confidence in tomorrow. We will not let others define us. The allegations leveled against current and former Miami coaches and student-athletes are serious and we are treating them with the urgency and priority they warrant. I know that there are many unanswered questions about the investigation, about the process, and consequences. With NCAA investigators on campus over the past week and with so many unknowns, there’s just not much we can say beyond our official written statements. The NCAA has instructed us not to comment on specific details of the investigation. It’s frustrating for us - for me - to be unable to speak more freely or to answer questions. However, we must protect the integrity of the investigation and have patience as the work proceeds. I am able to share with you some important points of information:
-- I was notified that the NCAA would be on campus on August 15th to investigate potential violations. I insisted on complete and honest cooperation by every member of the Miami athletic department, including administrators, coaches, staff and student-athletes. We retained outside counsel which specializes in NCAA cases to assist the University in all aspects of the investigation. The NCAA enforcement staff, in a joint investigation with the University, conducted several campus interviews last week and we expect the investigation to continue.
-- The Miami athletic compliance staff, in a joint effort with the NCAA, is now beginning the process of reviewing the eligibility of 15 current student-athletes. With the season fast approaching, I know our players, coaches and fans are eager to know the results. The process, however, must be deliberate and thorough to ensure its integrity.
-- I am proud of how our leaders, staff, coaches and student-athletes have handled themselves in the past week, we have been open and cooperative with investigators. I should also note that the NCAA welcomed our request to conduct a joint investigation and President Mark Emmert commented publicly on Friday that we are being "extremely cooperative." Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst has been remarkable in his leadership of our Department through these very difficult days.
The circumstances have also imposed a great deal on the shoulders of Coach Al Golden and Coach Jim Larranaga -- all of our coaches. We are fortunate that there are no better leaders of young men and women. Their insistence on integrity in their programs will help us move forward. I ask all of our friends and supporters to continue to passionately support our student athletes who do the right thing and represent the University so wonderfully to the world. We cannot let the actions of some define the many, as we have so much to be proud of.
I love the University of Miami. It is my home. My colleagues and I are committed to academic and athletic programs of the highest integrity. Like our new freshmen unpacking in their residence halls, we are filled with promise. We will be stronger.
We will be better. We will move through the process thoroughly. We will learn when there are lessons to be learned. We will move on with a commitment to the highest levels of professionalism and integrity in everything we do.
For more than eight decades, our community has embraced the Miami Hurricanes through both celebrations and commiserations. This devotion is not limited to University of Miami students and alumni—the ranks of past and present fans swells to include thousands of adopted ’Canes, many of whom have never even set foot on UM’s Coral Gables campus.
This is why it is understandable that recent news of potential NCAA violations committed by current and former University of Miami student-athletes and staff have aroused such strong emotions in our community and the greater “U” family.
Without a doubt these allegations are troubling and demand a thorough and honest evaluation of Hurricane Athletics. President Shalala has taken a strong position, insisting on full cooperation with the ongoing NCAA investigation. The process will be long, and in the ensuing months the Board of Trustees and the university administration will provide both leadership and unwavering support for our great institution, which we all care so deeply about.
While attention has been rightly focused on the allegations this week, during the same time, the University has also welcomed the finest ever incoming freshman class, and campus is in the midst of the wonderful excitement surrounding move-in day and the beginning of the academic year. We must not allow our current crisis in athletics to diminish the excellence and hard work of generations in the UM family.
It is especially important that the alleged misconduct not overshadow our current leadership and institutional values. Moving forward, I ask for your support in helping to ensure that the University of Miami and Hurricane Athletics come out stronger in our continued commitment to excellence in every endeavor.
Rest assured, ultimate responsibility for the conduct of the overall athletics department lies with the UM leadership, which includes President Shalala, the Board of Trustees, and the Athletics Director.
With everyone’s support, the University of Miami will continue to be a community leader and an invaluable resource to all of us.
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When I accepted the position of Director of Athletics at Miami in April, I not only embraced a new opportunity, but also a new family; a family of Hurricane students, coaches, staff, alumni, faculty and supporters. I know our family is hurting right now and that is what has made the past few days so difficult, upsetting and disappointing for me, as I am sure it has been for many proud Canes.
But these are not times for pity and reflection. All of my efforts and energy are committed to ensuring the integrity of the NCAA investigation, demanding the full cooperation of our employees and student-athletes and providing unwavering support to our more than 400 plus student-athletes and more than 150 coaches and staff. Along with our passionate and devoted supporters, they are the true essence of Miami athletics.
There are tough times ahead, challenges to overcome and serious decisions to be made, but we will be left standing and we will be stronger as a result. I understand there are unanswered questions, concerns and frustration by many but this Athletic Department will be defined now and in the future, by our core values, our integrity and our commitment to excellence, and by nothing else. The University of Miami, as an institution of higher learning, is a leader in exploration, achievement and excellence and we will work hard to do our part to live up to that standard.
In my introductory press conference back in April, I asked the community for their unconditional support in our efforts to achieve the goal of excellence. Now, the community, the coaches, the student-athletes and the University have my unconditional support as we move towards a better day. And there will be a better day.
To the University Community:
Since its founding more than 85 years ago, the University of Miami has stood for excellence in higher education in every endeavor, every degree, and every student. Our more than 15,000 students, on three campuses in 11 schools and colleges, and over 150,000 alumni expect our core values to remain steadfast and true in times of extraordinary achievement as well as those rare times when those values are called into question.
As a member of the University family, I am upset, disheartened, and saddened by the recent allegations leveled against some current and past student-athletes and members of our Athletic Department. Make no mistake—I regard these allegations with the utmost of seriousness and understand the concern of so many of you. We will vigorously pursue the truth, wherever that path may lead, and I have insisted upon complete, honest, and transparent cooperation with the NCAA from our staff and students. Our counsel is working jointly with the NCAA Enforcement Division in a thorough and meticulous investigation, which will require our patience.
I am in daily communication with our Board of Trustees, Executive Committee, Director of Athletics, and counsel, and will continue to work closely with the leaders of our University.
To our students, parents, faculty, alumni, and supporters—I encourage you to have patience as the process progresses; to have confidence in knowing that we are doing everything possible to discover the truth; to have faith in the many outstanding student-athletes and coaches who represent the University; and to have pride in what our University has accomplished and aspires to be.
“When Nevin Shapiro made his allegations nearly a year ago, he and his attorneys refused to provide any facts to the University of Miami. The University notified the NCAA Enforcement officials of these allegations. We are fully cooperating with the NCAA and are conducting a joint investigation. The University of Miami takes these matters very seriously.”