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NCAA blames Miami coaches in athletic department probe

| Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, 7:24 p.m.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — The NCAA believes former Miami assistant coaches Clint Hurtt, Aubrey Hill and Jorge Fernandez provided false or misleading information during the probe into the Hurricanes' athletic department.

The NCAA said all three violated “principles of ethical conduct” as part of the notice of allegations served against the Hurricanes, according to a person who spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the allegations have not been released publicly.

Hurtt and Hill were members of Miami's football staff. Fernandez worked on the men's basketball staff.

Several other coaches are named or referenced in the allegations, including Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith, who is alleged of failing “to promote an atmosphere for compliance.” But only Hurtt, Hill and Fernandez are facing the ethical-conduct charge, commonly known as NCAA Rule 10.1.

Hurtt currently is on the staff at Louisville. Hill is not working as a coach at this time, and Fernandez spent last season as an assistant at Marshall, resigning last May.

The notice of allegations was delivered to Miami on Tuesday, and the university is facing the charge that it had a “lack of institutional control” — one of the worst things the NCAA can levy against a member school. The charge revolves around how the school allegedly failed to monitor conduct of Nevin Shapiro, a rogue booster and convicted felon who provided cash, gifts and other items to players on the football and men's basketball teams.

University president Donna Shalala said Tuesday night that the Hurricanes have suffered enough through self-imposed sanctions. Through a university spokesman, she declined further comment Wednesday.

The NCAA said Hurtt and Hill committed the same violations, at least related to the ethical-conduct matter.

The sanctions portion of this saga could take several months. The NCAA has asked some of the people who are facing major charges to respond by May 20, which means that under ordinary circumstances a hearing before the Committee on Infractions would then take place, followed by the issuing of penalties.

The NCAA alleged both provided meals, transportation and lodging to recruits, current players, or both in 2008 or '09. Both were interviewed by the NCAA during the course of its probe and allegedly denied providing those extra benefits, statements the NCAA said were contradicted in each case by what players told them separately.

Hurtt also took a $2,500 personal loan from Shapiro, which was repaid. The NCAA also believes he sent about 40 impermissible text messages to recruits, which typically is a secondary, or minor, violation.

Fernandez, the NCAA alleged, “knowingly provided extra benefits” in the form of an air ticket. The NCAA said Fernandez denied using air miles for the tickets for a men's basketball player and a high school coach, despite evidence to the contrary.

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