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Investigator questions Mark Emmert, NCAA’s look into enforcement

Jan 31, 2013, 9:27 AM EDT

Mark Emmert AP

Last week, Mark Emmert, the President of the NCAA, held a teleconference to announce that the NCAA’s investigation into the alleged improper conduct by Miami involving former-booster Nevan Shapiro would be delayed.

The Notice of Allegations that were prepped to be sent out would get delayed and all the focus would turn to a bigger problem that had arisen: allegations of improper conduct by the NCAA during that investigation.

In other words, the NCAA would have to pause their investigation into Miami so that they could investigate themselves improper conduct.

That improper conduct?

The NCAA not only sat in on depositions with witnesses in a bankruptcy case, they fed the Shapiro’s lawyers questions to ask while the witness was under oath. The NCAA doesn’t have subpoena power, which is why they were forced into this method. They also had Shapiro’s lawyer on their payroll.

None of that is a good look for the NCAA.

And things got worse on Thursday, as an anonymous NCAA investigator spoke to the Orlando Sun-Sentinel and basically said they did nothing wrong and that this tactic was commonplace:

NCAA President Mark Emmert called a national news conference last week, saying he was “angry,” that an investigator sat with the lawyer for UM whistle-blower Nevin Shapiro on the depositions of former athletic employees.

This NCAA investigator, who demanded anonymity, raised a different angle to that issue. It broke no law, he said. It didn’t involve a twisted ethical question, he said.

“There are a lot of us wondering just what the purpose of (Emmert’s news conference) was — and why it happened in the first place,” the investigator said.

[…]

When asked if there was an ethical question in an attorney using legal means to depose someone the NCAA otherwise couldn’t, the investigator was certain.

“This was good, investigative work,” he said.

The investigator then listed similar officials the NCAA has worked with through the years to gather evidence against schools or individuals: U.S. Attorney offices, private investigators, former FBI agents and various lawyers.

The investigator would go on to say that there was more than one member of the NCAA sitting in on those depositions, and that Emmert knew about all of those well before he admitted publicly.

Emmert said that the investigation would take 7-10 days to complete, meaning it should be complete quite soon. At this point, the NCAA is going to have to make the findings of that investigation public if they want to save face.

Because this is not the way they want their investigation arm viewed publicly.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

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