Fernandez, the NCAA alleged, “knowingly provided extra benefits” in the form of an air ticket. The NCAA said Fernandez denied using air miles for the tickets for a men’s basketball player and a high school coach, despite evidence to the contrary.
In February 2012, Miami center Reggie Johnson was ruled ineligible by the school after an investigation revealed that members of his family accepted “impermissible travel benefits” from a member of the school’s former coaching staff, without specifying Fernandez or anyone else by name. The university said Johnson was not aware of the benefits, personally accepted nothing and that his family had been told they were allowed.
Johnson was reinstated quickly last season, and remains a key part of this season’s team — now ranked No. 2 in the nation and leading the Atlantic Coast Conference. The ongoing cloud of the scandal is not hurting the Hurricanes, basketball coach Jim Larranaga said Tuesday night.
“If it was overshadowing what we were doing, this room would not be packed,” Larranaga said after his team beat Virginia. “We’re getting so much exposure. We can only focus on the things we have control over. We have nothing to do with the investigation.”
Several other former Miami coaches are named in the allegations as well, including one-time men’s basketball assistant Jake Morton, who the NCAA said, among other things, accepted “supplemental income” of at least $6,000 from Shapiro. Morton is now on the staff at Western Kentucky.
Haith’s charge is specific to how he handled things when Shapiro allegedly wanted money in exchange for not going public with accusations that he paid to help the Hurricanes recruit a player.
“After learning of the threat, Haith failed to alert anyone in the athletics department administration about Shapiro’s threat, ask reasonable questions of Morton to ensure that Shapiro’s claim lacked merit or disclose the fact that Morton engaged in financial dealings with Shapiro,” read Haith’s portion of the notice of allegations, which Missouri revealed Wednesday. “Rather, Haith gave Morton funds that Morton then provided to Shapiro.”
Missouri has been told by the NCAA that it, as an institution, does not face any possible sanctions, but that Haith’s ability to coach may be affected “if he is found in violation by the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions or the NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee.”
Some of the allegations in the letter the NCAA delivered Tuesday to Miami are more than 10 years old, including a claim that Shapiro bought a suit for former Miami star running back Willis McGahee to wear to the Heisman Trophy ceremony in 2002.
Other allegations include that he paid for dinners at Benihana, televisions, sneakers, Miami Heat tickets, bowling parties, one player’s engagement ring, a used washer-dryer set for current New England Patriots lineman Vince Wilfork, and that he directed his girlfriend to give two former Hurricanes no-show jobs for a couple of months.