LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- With word circulating for the past week that the NCAA is ready to move on its lengthy investigation into alleged major football recruiting violations at Miami involving former booster and jailed Ponzi-schemer Nevin Shapiro, CBS Sports' is reporting that University of Louisville assistant football coach Clint Hurtt could face major NCAA sanctions.
Hurtt was the recruiting coordinator at Miami from 2007 to 2009 before leaving to join the U of L staff as defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator in 2010. All of the reported allegations against him are from his tenure at Miami.
CBS' Bruce Feldman reports that a source close to the investigation said of Hurtt: "They are pretty much throwing everything at him. They have him on essentially everything that was brought to the attention of the NCAA, some of which has been publicly known because of (Shapiro) but there are some other things that did not involve Shapiro that they're charging him with."
CBS also reported that Hurtt is expected to be cited for "unethical conduct" under NCAA Bylaw 10.1, a wide-ranging bylaw that encompasses everything from providing impermissible benefits to failing to cooperate with NCAA investigations.
A U of L spokesman told WDRB that the school will have no comment without an NCAA report.
The NCAA advised U of L at the outset not to become involved in the process. There have been no reports of allegations against U of L, and any players involved with Miami who subsequently attended U of L, including quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, were cleared for competition by the NCAA even as some at Miami were handed suspensions.
Earlier Monday CBS reported that Missouri coach Frank Haith could face serious allegations -- and a possible "show cause" penalty from the NCAA -- over incidents during his basketball coaching tenure at Miami.
If Hurtt were to receive a similar penalty and it were to stick then it's certain he would not remain on U of L's staff. Coaches who receive notices of allegations have 90 days to respond and are accorded due process by the NCAA, but in the event of a show-cause penalty any school that wants to employ that coach must assume the sanctions placed on that coach by the NCAA. In addition, any school hiring a coach with a show-cause penalty in place must appear before the NCAA committee on infractions and show cause for why it should not be penalized just for hiring that coach.
In other words, a show-cause penalty effectively makes a coach virtually unemployable by an NCAA institution for the term of the show-cause.
-- Nevin Shapiro alleged that he paid for Hurtt to take Miami recruits to dinners at a Miami restaurant.
-- He told federal agents he provided a 5,000 interest-fee loan to Hurtt (a source close to the investigation told WDRB that Hurtt claims those checks were a wedding gift, and that he returned the money fearing they would constitute an NCAA violation, which they do.)
-- Shapiro charged that Hurtt brought three recruits to his mansion so that the booster could help recruit the players. Aubrey Hill, who also was alleged to be present at that get-together, resigned abruptly before this season at Florida. Shapiro also alleged other trips by Hurtt to his mansion, and that the coach also took the recruits for a ride in Shapiro's $200,000 Mercedes. Two players involved were suspended for four games during the 2012 season, and the parents of two, Ray Ray Armstrong and Oliver Vernon, questioned in November why assistant coaches still had not faced any sanctions.
Shapiro told Yahoo! Sports, "Hurtt became a really good friend of mine. He kept me posted on what was going on with the recruiting inside the university."
Yahoo! provided phone records of cell phone conversations between Hurtt and Shapiro, and a copy of a $2,500 check from Shapiro to Hurtt.
CBS reports that Hurtt also could be charged with impermissible lodging (in addition to impermissible benefits and transportation), which would be consistent with some punishments already received by Miami players.
Hurtt has had no comment on the NCAA issues throughout the process.
The process will not end with an NCAA notice of allegations. Once issued, the coach served will have 90 days to respond in writing to the NCAA's committee on infractions, with a hearing occurring sometime in the summer.
For U of L, the situation on Hurtt has been delicate. It was advised by the NCAA not to question the coach or to become involved in an investigation that was centered on another school.
U of L has taken no action against the coach, and has not restricted his recruiting duties. He was, in fact, named the ESPN recruiter of the year in 2010, and has continued to help head coach Charlie Strong build impressive recruiting classes. He also has been an extremely popular coach among players and his coaching colleagues.
If served with NCAA allegations, and with the recruiting period nearly over, U of L could elect to wait for a final disposition of the situation this summer before deciding what to do with Hurtt, or it could take him off the recruiting trail or otherwise alter his duties if the charges are of sufficient concern to warrant stronger action.
The notice of allegations represents the NCAA's side of events, it does not include any response or defense from those accused. How involved U of L will be in Hurtt's response, whether it will be handled with advice from the school or from outside counsel, will be an interesting part of Hurtt's response.
Having so many former assistants, and in fact a sitting head coach at another school, be the subject of such serious allegations is very unusual for the NCAA, and presumably has added to the already lengthy investigation. CBS reported that notices of allegations were expected to be released as early as Tuesday of this week, but might be held up as much as two more weeks "because of procedural questions."
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