Firing back for the first time at the long investigation of her school's athletic department, Miami President Donna Shalala has released a statement saying the Hurricanes "have been wronged" by what she called a flawed NCAA probe.
Shalala says Miami wants a swift resolution — with no additional penalties other than the ones the Hurricanes have already self-imposed, such as two missed bowl games, a missed Atlantic Coast Conference football championship game and scholarship reductions.
Her statement came out a few hours after the NCAA said it would press on with its case against Miami, even after revealing that it was replacing the head of its enforcement department and throwing out all ill-gotten information gleaned from two depositions that could have been very damaging for the Hurricanes.
The statement in its entirety is as follows:
“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.”