The NCAA enforcement staff is conducting an investigation of the University of Miami (UM) athletics program. Specifically, the NCAA staff is collecting information pertaining to alleged NCAA rules-violations involving UM booster Nevin Shapiro and the UM athletics program. Shapiro contends he provided illicit benefits (including money, cars, yacht trips, jewelry, televisions and other gifts) to over 70 UM student-athletes. The NCAA staff will use several investigative techniques to obtain relevant information, including witness interviews and document collection. This post is the last of a two-part series on NCAA rules concerning interviews conducted by the enforcement staff during an investigation.
First, NCAA Bylaw 32.3.5 (Proper Identification of NCAA Staff Member) requires the enforcement staff to properly identify themselves during an investigation. In fact, the rule states “in no case shall an enforcement staff member misrepresent the staff member’s identity or title.”
Second, an interview subject possesses a right to legal counsel during an enforcement interview. In fact, the Michael L. Buckner Law Firm recommends all persons who are subject to an interview conducted by the NCAA enforcement staff or an institution be represented by legal counsel. NCAA Bylaw 32.3.6 (Representation by Legal Counsel) notes “when an enforcement staff member conducts an interview that may develop information detrimental to the interests of the individual being questioned, that individual may be represented by personal legal counsel throughout the interview.”
Third, NCAA Bylaw 188.8.131.52 (Disclosure of Purpose of Interview) requires “when an enforcement representative requests information that could be detrimental to the interests of the student-athlete or institutional employee being interviewed, that individual shall be advised that the purpose of the interview is to determine whether the individual has knowledge of or has been involved directly or indirectly in any violation of NCAA legislation.”
Lastly, under NCAA Bylaw 184.108.40.206 (Responsibility to Cooperate), student-athletes and institutional employees are required to cooperate with the NCAA enforcement staff. In particular, the rule requires “at the beginning of an interview arranged or initiated by the enforcement staff, a current or former student-athlete or institutional employee shall be advised that refusing to furnish information or providing false or misleading information to the NCAA, conference or institution may result in an allegation that the individual has violated NCAA ethical conduct legislation (see Bylaw 10.1).”