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The NCAA And Frank Haith's Bank Account

Frank Haith alleges that someone illegally obtained his records, but it probably wasn't the NCAA.

Did somebody illegally access Frank Haith's bank records?
Did somebody illegally access Frank Haith's bank records?
Jamie Squire

More accusations of the NCAA abusing its enforcement power, this time by Rob Dauster at NBC.

Missouri and former Miami coach Frank Haith alleges that his bank, the Bank of America, illegally shared some of his banking information with third parties. Dauster concludes the NCAA did it:

The bigger issue for us is that this is just the latest example of the NCAA abusing their enforcement power. If you’ve forgotten, during that same case, the NCAA used some incredibly questionable tactics in order to sidestep their lack of subpoena power.

But wait just a second... If the BOA provided the information, it was they who broke the law. The NCAA has no power to compel that disclosure. They could be, I guess, a co-conspirator if they made some kind of false representation, or told the BOA that Haith had given permission. But if they just requested the data, and the bank turned it over, I can't see how the NCAA did anything wrong there.

The Missourian has a less opinion-laden, more fact-based article here. The article explains that Haith is asking questions of his bank, not of the NCAA, which seems right to me:

Monday's petition says the bank told Haith it would not reveal who breached his account if and when it did discover the party, in an effort to protect the bank. It goes on to say the bank "failed to conduct a thorough investigation of the breach." The petition says Bank of America violated its own policies and federal laws by allowing an unknown party to view Haith's bank account.

But Dauster can be forgiven his conclusion given the source of his information -- Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports. Dodd has a record of writing articles very critical of the NCAA, and if you follow his tweets, it's pretty easy to figure out that he is very anti-NCAA.

Dodd's story practically drags the reader to draw the very conclusion Dauster did by reciting the entire Miami investigation and listing every negative conclusion drawn from it. This is a common journalistic tactic when a reporter is on a crusade -- you dump all the dirt on your bad guy that you can find in every single article, regardless of it's relevance to the instant case. Nobody can accuse the writer of malice, because they are all just facts, right?

Interestingly, according to Dodd it was the NCAA who apparently tipped Haith off that something was amiss:

Also from the affidavit: The Haiths were told by NCAA on or about October 22, 2012 that a "source" had informed the enforcement staff that a microfiche copy of the checks was available. The NCAA refused to disclose the identity of "sources" according to the petition.

During that same time period, Pamela Haith contacted Bank of America customer service. The customer service rep "implied" the microfiche copies had been previously viewed or ordered.

Dodd invites us to draw the conclusion that the requesting party must have been the NCAA, but that could, and probably is, the wrong conclusion. It is unlikely that the bank released these records to the NCAA if they asked for them. A bank, generally, will only release records to a third party in response to a specific legal process.

Which brings us to the possibility that Haith's bank records were subpoenaed in connection with Nevin Shapiro's bankruptcy proceedings, a matter in which the NCAA was unethically tied in with Shapiro's attorney, Maria Perez. If so, the NCAA should have redacted those records from evidence as "fruit of the poisonous tree," as has been done for the rest of the evidence collected using their relationship with Perez.

As to whether the act of disclosing legally-obtained bank records is a crime, I have no idea. If the BOA provided the records responsive to a subpoena from Perez, I'd say they are in the clear. But is Perez's disclosure to the NCAA, if that actually happened, a crime? I don't know, but if so, I'd say that Perez would have been the guilty party.

So before we rise in unison to condemn the NCAA yet again, let's all take a breath and wait for the process to happen. Eventually, the BOA will have to disclose the recipient of the information. At that point, we can all rationally visit high dudgeon and condemn the association all over again, whether they are culpable or not.

Who knows, if we all complain enough, maybe we can get Miami off scot-free.