MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – Amidst the turmoil surrounding the University of Miami’s athletic program, UM president Donna Shalala issued a video statement Monday afternoon defending the university and its values.
“The past eight days have been difficult for so many members of our community,” Shalala said. “As I said on Wednesday, I’m saddened and disappointed by the allegations leveled against some current and former members of the University community.”
In the past eight days, UM has been rocked by explosive allegations from former booster, and convicted Ponzi schemer, Nevin Shapiro. The former UM high roller alleged he paid players, coaches, gave access to his yacht, his house, steered players to agents and even paid for prostitutes and an abortion.
“When our values are called into question, as they have been this past week, we have only one option, to do what is right and to have the confidence in tomorrow,” Shalala said.
Shalala said that she understands there are many “unanswered questions about the investigations,” but “there’s just not much we can say beyond our official written statements.”
“The NCAA has instructed us not to comment on specific details of the investigation,” Shalala said. “It’s frustrating for us, for me, to not be able to speak more freely or to answer questions.”
Shalala did reveal that the University of Miami’s compliance staff, along with the NCAA, is reviewing the eligibility of 15 current student-athletes. That’s two more than the 13 athletes named in the Yahoo! Sports report that revealed the depth of the investigation and the details of the scandal.
Shalala said the investigation into the eligibility must “be deliberate and thorough to ensure its integrity.” She also said the NCAA welcomed the school’s request to conduct a joint investigation.