Ameen Najjar, the guy whom the NCAA hired as their director of enforcement, wrote a letter on behalf of convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro days before he was sentenced in 2011, suggesting that having Shapiro on the payroll would be swell.
Quickly noting that a potential fire could break out, the NCAA sent the Associated Press a letter, saying, "Nevin Shapiro has not been and will not be a consultant for the NCAA."
Phew. That was a close one, right, NCAA?
Najjar, who is no longer with the NCAA, wrote the letter, which is dated June 3, 2011, on NCAA letterhead and suggested it would be a superneat idea if a Ponzi schemer worked for the organization as a consultant.
"Throughout the course of our interactions, it is my belief that Mr. Shapiro possesses a unique depth of knowledge and experience concerning representatives athletics interest ('Boosters'), agents and the provision of extra-benefits to student-athletes," Najjar wrote in his letter.
Najjar also said that Shapiro assisted the NCAA with investigations involving a number of schools, although which schools exactly weren't mentioned (not even The U).
And the holy crapvalanche the NCAA created out of the University of Miami-Shapiro investigation was pretty much mostly Najjar's doing.
An investigation showed that Najjar tried to manipulate the UM probe when he hired Shapiro's own lawyer, Maria Elena Perez, so she could use subpoena power to interview people for the case against The U.
Among the multiple ethical screw-ups by the NCAA, this one was pretty bad, seeing how the NCAA does not have subpoena power.
But, hey, let's hire someone who does!
Two people were eventually subpoenaed and deposed, regardless.
Because, institutional control and all that.
For her part, Perez was quick to point out that she never took on that role, and even the fees the NCAA owed her weren't completely paid off yet.
"Had I realized I was dealing with, what is in my opinion... such an incompetent regulatory institution," Perez told the AP, "I would have never allowed Mr. Shapiro to have had any type of contact with the NCAA -- period."
Of course, Shapiro hadn't been sentenced yet when the letter was written, although he was on trial. But what's the big deal?
Shapiro apparently excels at making millions via unethical means.
He'd totally fit right in!
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