A former NCAA investigator told the convicted felon at the center of the Miami athletics scandal that he believed "upper levels" of the organization simply wanted the case against the Hurricanes over with, according to court records.
Emails that were apparently written by the former investigator, Ameen Najjar, to Nevin Shapiro last year were attached to court documents filed this week by Shapiro's attorney, Maria Elena Perez. In those emails, Najjar told Shapiro that he was fired on May 16, 2012 because the NCAA "did not like the way I was moving the Miami case along."
Another email five days later, again from Najjar to Shapiro — identified in the copies of emails attached to the documents by only his prisoner number — indicated that the former investigator thought the NCAA was essentially giving up on the Miami case.
"My belief is that they simply want to get the case done, even if it is half or only one quarter done," Najjar wrote. "I don't know if it is simply to meet some arbitrary timeline or the upper levels are trying to save Miami. I suspect it's the latter."
Attempts to reach Najjar by The Associated Press for the past several weeks have been unsuccessful. The NCAA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The emails were attached to a motion Perez filed in U.S. District Court this week, one that successfully sought to have a letter that Najjar wrote on Shapiro's behalf before the former booster was sentenced for masterminding a $930 million Ponzi scheme stricken from court records.
On June 3, 2011, Najjar wrote to U.S. District Judge Susan Wigenton and said that college sports' governing body could have utilized Shapiro "in the future as a consultant and/or speaker to educate our membership." It's unclear if Wigenton — who sentenced Shapiro to 20 years in prison and ordered him to pay more than $82 million in restitution, stiffer penalties than even the prosecution wanted — ever actually considered Najjar's letter.
The AP reported on Najjar's letter last month, and the NCAA said in response that Shapiro "has not been and will not be" a consultant for the organization.
Based on that, Perez said she felt "morally and ethically" compelled to tell the court that deception may have taken place with regard to the letter Najjar wrote on Shapiro's behalf, and filed the motion accordingly.
Court records show Perez's motion was granted Monday. It does not change Shapiro's 20-year sentence.
Miami received its notice of allegations from the NCAA in February and moved last week to have the case dismissed, citing massive impropriety by the NCAA and how it handled the investigation. At least four other Miami coaches — former head basketball coach Frank Haith and three former basketball and football assistants — have also asked the case be dropped.
The Miami case is still scheduled to go to a hearing that is to begin June 14. Shapiro has said he provided dozens of Miami athletes, coaches and recruits with benefits from 2002 through 2010, and that is largely why the Hurricanes will face the lack of "institutional control" charge in the upcoming NCAA hearing unless the case is settled beforehand.