Perhaps the most interesting story line surrounding Frank Haith’s emergence as one of the nation’s better coaches during his two seasons at Missouri has nothing to do with the Tigers and everything to do with Haith’s tenure at Miami, where he spent seven solid years being thoroughly average.
If you’ve forgotten, Haith was tangled in the web spun by Yahoo! when they broke the story that Nevin Shapiro, a booster for the Hurricanes, had broken just about every rule the NCAA has. According to Shapiro, he helped secure a commitment from DeQuan Jones, a top 25 recruit that is now playing for the Orlando Magic, but funding a $10,000 payment. Shapiro said Haith later thanked him for it, but that the money was eventually returned by a Miami assistant.
So while Haith is busy trying to coach these Tigers to their second consecutive NCAA tournament — and, hopefully, past the opening round this time — he’s doing so with an NCAA investigation into his past playing out.
And according to Haith’s lawyer, a notice of allegations has not yet been received:
Attorney Michael L. Buckner also told The Miami Herald that Haith “has given the NCAA thousands of pages of documents at Coach Haith’s own expense,’’ and that “the bill for him acquiring these documents has cost well into the thousands of dollars.
“It has been over 15 months since he first was interviewed, and he’s cooperated the whole time,’’ Buckner said by phone. “We just want to know when this process will end.’’
That’s not the money quote, however. This is:
“Whatever happens, everyone has to understand, these are just allegations,” Buckner said. “The enforcement staff has been wrong before. The university involved and the coaches themselves have to look at what the NCAA produces and conduct their own investigations. There have been times when the NCAA has made allegations against my clients and I’ve found glaring mistakes in the evidence — maybe they didn’t interview everybody they should have or reached a conclusion that wasn’t supported by the evidence. It’s the job of the attorneys or whoever is representing each of the parties to do independent vetting of the evidence and bring that information forward to the NCAA so that the complete situation can be presented before the Committee on Infractions.”
Let me paraphrase that for you. Haith’s lawyer essentially said that he doesn’t think anything is going to come from the investigation because his client did nothing wrong, and if the investigation says his client did something wrong, their evidence is wrong. They know that already, even though they don’t know what the evidence is.
That’s as lawyerly of a quote as you’ll ever see in this space.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.