It's getting to be put-up or shut-up time for the NCAA and their investigation into the University of Miami. Two years since Ponzi con Nevin Sheprio opened his mouth with allegations of widespread misconduct, the showdown between the school and oversight gurus has just gotten weirder and weirder. The latest developments have dragged a familiar name center stage -- Rich Johanningmeier, the alleged NCAA strong-arm artist we profiled in February.
While other investigators suffered high-profile slips from grace after the sleazy details of the NCAA's investigation came to light, Johanningmeier's role in the shakedown went largely unreported, until we spotlit his track record of misconduct allegations. Now, UM players are openly questioning Johanningmeier's role, with one even filing a recent police report against the investigator.
Last week current UM defensive end Dyron Dye walked into the Coral Gables police department with his lawyer Darren Heitner to file a report. According to a copy obtained by New Times, on August 16, 2011 Dye was interviewed by Johanningmeier. Later the same day, the pair met again. The investigators apparently didn't like the answers he got the first time.
"Mr. Heitner [Dye's lawyer] advised that prior to the second interview, Mr. Johanningmeier coerced Mr. Dye into providing favorable answers for his investigation . . . Mr. Dye state that he felt intimidated by Mr. Johanningmeier. Me. Heitner stated that Mr. Johanningmeier threatened Mr. Dye's football eligibility if he did not cooperate durning the interview."
As a result of that second interview, Dye gave certain information to the NCAA. Fast forward to this year, Dye filed an affidavit in supporting embattled former UM coach Aubrey Hill in his head-to-head against regulators. We haven't seen the affidavit (we wouldn't complain if it ended up in our inbox, hint hint), but the Associated Press got their hands on a copy.
"I felt compelled to testify in a manner that would be consistent with the manner in which Mr. Johanningmeier was directing me in order to keep my eligibility," Dye wrote, according to the AP. As a result of the affidavit, the NCAA called for another sit-down with Dye recently, this time due to the discrepancy between his 2011 statements and the affidavit. Dye and his attorney filed their report with Coral Gables last Friday.
Dye isn't the only player piping up about the NCAA. The Miami Herald is reporting former UM players "Olivier Vernon, Eric Moncur, Randy Phillips and Jacory Harris signed affidavits on behalf of Hill."
"The NCAA treated us like criminals," Vernon told The Herald.
"When [Johanningmeier] asked the question, he made it seem like he wanted you to answer it as to where you did something wrong," Vernon said. "He flipped it on us... Sometimes you blurt out something that you were pressured into saying. He pressured us a lot more."
As for the police involvement, New Times called up the State Attorney's office about possible criminal charges on Johanningmeier. Spokesman Ed Griffith said it's up to the Coral Gables PD to determine if there's a felony charge there. As for a misdemeanor charge, Dye would have to talk directly with the State Attorney. "Anybody can file a report," he says. "You can file a report on your next door neighbor's barking dog."
But as far as the allegations about dangled eligibility, it syncs with the past allegations were reported on earlier.
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