Former Marshall assistant cited in Miami investigation
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- The NCAA believes former Marshall University men's basketball assistant coach Jorge Fernandez provided false or misleading information during the probe into the Miami Hurricanes' athletic department.
The NCAA said former Miami assistant coaches Fernandez, Clint Hurtt and Aubrey Hill 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 Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the allegations have not been released publicly.
Fernandez worked on the Miami men's basketball staff from 2004 to 2011, the last four as associate head coach. He was at Marshall for the 2011-12 season and cited family reasons for his resignation in May 2012.
Hurtt and Hill were members of Miami's football staff.
Several other coaches are named or referenced in the allegations, including Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith. But only Hurtt, Hill and Fernandez are facing the ethical-conduct charge, commonly known as NCAA Rule 10.1.
Hurtt is currently on the staff at Louisville. Hill is not working as a coach at this time.
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.
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.
In February 2012, Miami center Reggie Johnson was ruled ineligible by the school after an investigation revealed that members of his family accepted "impermissible travel benefits" from a member of the school's former coaching staff, without specifying Fernandez or anyone else by name. The university said Johnson was not aware of the benefits, personally accepted nothing and that his family had been told they were allowed.
Johnson was reinstated quickly last season, and remains a key part of this season's team -- now ranked No. 2 in the nation and leading the Atlantic Coast Conference.