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Shalala Talks Ineligibility And Future Of UM

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Donna Shalala Statement 8/29/11

(Source: miami.edu)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – University of Miami president Donna Shalala has taken to the university’s website to again address the storm that now envelops the athletic department.

Shalala has been under fire herself for the scandal that erupted when former UM booster Nevin Shapiro and a Yahoo! Sports investigation revealed a scandal big enough to rival that of Southern Methodist University in the early 1980’s.

Shapiro alleged paying numerous players, arranging club access, and various other gifts to secure access for himself and to bring clients to his player agency when UM players went to the NFL.

Shalala said Monday that the ball is now in the NCAA’s court, but that both are conducting their joint investigation into allegations of wrongdoing.

“The NCAA is taking the lead,” Shalala said in a video posted on the school’s website. “We promised we would not comment on any specifics until the investigation runs it course. We continue to honor the commitment.”

While both organizations are staying silent on the issue, CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald reported last week that eight current Hurricanes football players have been declared ineligible. It’s a move by a university to put the onus on the NCAA to determine the eligibility of each player. Shalala acknowledged the ineligibility of those players Monday.

“The NCAA is reviewing the eligibility of current student athletes who are alleged to have violated NCAA rules,” Shalala said. “They will determine if any disciplinary action is warranted.”

The problem for most Hurricanes fans is that an NCAA investigation can takes months, and even years, depending on the complexity of the case involved. Nevertheless, Shalala said the school is dedicated to the investigation.

“Investigations are about fact finding, they are a systematic search for the truth,” Shalala said. “We are committed to pursuing this investigation wherever it leads us and you don’t time that process with a stopwatch.”

Shalala said the investigation will be used by the school to “identify any weaknesses in our own compliance efforts,” and that the school will “implement necessary changes.”

But, by then it could be too little, too late to stave off a possible severe penalty from the NCAA. But Shalala said the current experience will pass and the school will “move on stronger, and better prepared for the future.”

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