Frank Haith’s lawyer speaks about potential NCAA infractions

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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.

Louisville campus police reviewing escort allegations

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Louisville campus police now say they are reviewing allegations that a former men’s basketball staffer hired escorts to dance and have sex with recruits and players in a dormitory.

Katina Powell has alleged in a book released online over the weekend that former Cardinals director of basketball operation Andre McGee paid her $10,000 for dancers to perform 22 shows from 2010-14 at the players’ Billy Minardi Hall dormitory. The school reported those allegations to the NCAA and has launched an investigation.

“The University of Louisville Police Department, in consultation with the Louisville Metro Police Department and the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, is reviewing allegations regarding the men’s basketball program,” University police chief Wayne Hall said Tuesday in a statement.

It was the first confirmation that police are looking into the allegations. When contacted last week, a campus police operator said they weren’t aware of the book allegations, and it was unclear at that time if an investigation had been launched.

Cardinals coach Rick Pitino has said that McGee denied Powell’s allegations.

McGee left in 2014 and is currently an assistant at Missouri-Kansas City, which has put him on paid leave.

Pitino said Saturday that he hasn’t read Powell’s book titled “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen” and doesn’t plan to. The 104-page book was published by an affiliate of the Indianapolis Business Journal and is scheduled for hardcover release Oct. 12.

The woman said that she and three of her daughters, along with other women, danced and stripped for Louisville recruits and players and performed sex acts with them, according to the book. Powell, 43, also said McGee offered recruits alcohol at those parties.

Upon hearing of the allegations, Pitino said he did some investigating on his own before being told by the school’s compliance department not to talk to players. But the coach said he talked to other assistants about the allegations and all of them denied knowing of the activities outlined in Powell’s book.

“I’m going through 15 people who worked here, and not one person even had a premonition of something wrong,” Pitino said. “Not one person living in the dorm had even the slightest premonition. It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

Louisville has hired Chuck Smrt of the Compliance Group, which assists schools in NCAA cases, to review the allegations.

McGee left Louisville in 2014 to become an assistant at Missouri-Kansas City under Kareem Richardson, who was a Cardinals assistant from 2012-13. He was placed on paid administrative on Friday and has been unavailable for comment. McGee’s Louisville attorney, Scott Cox, didn’t comment because the investigation is ongoing.

St. John’s hires Mitch Richmond as a special assistant

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St. John’s added its second Hall of Famer to the coaching staff on Tuesday, announcing Mitch Richmond had been hired as a special assistant to first-year head coach Chris Mullin.

Mullin and Richmond, along with Tim Hardaway, made up Run TMC, the short-lived, high-scoring offense the Golden State Warriors played from 1989-91.

Mullin was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 2011. Three years later, he was a presenter to Richmond’s enshrinement in Springfield.

“Mitch is committed to helping us build this program and develop an environment for sustained success at St. John’s,” Mullin said in a statement. “He has tremendous basketball insight, a vision for the game and a passion to share his knowledge. Obviously, his experience in different roles throughout his career as a player, scout and mentor will have an impact in many areas.”

Earlier this summer, Mullin bolstered his coaching staff with the additions of associate head coach Barry Rohrssen and Matt Abdelmassih. Greg St. Jean was hired later in the summer.

The Red Storm open the 2015-16 season on Nov. 13 against Wagner.