Emmert said the NCAA learned of the alleged misconduct, in part, through legal bills presented by Shapiro's attorney for work that was not properly approved by the organization's general counsel's office. Emmert did not specify Perez by name, only referring to the attorney as "she," and the NCAA refused to confirm that Perez was the attorney in question.
"One of the questions that has to be answered, unequivocally, is what was the nature of that contractual arrangement and what was all the activity that that individual was involved with," Emmert said. "There is some uncertainty about all of that and it's one of the first orders of business for the firm that we've hired to investigate."
The Hurricanes' athletic compliance practices have been probed by the NCAA for nearly two years. Allegations of wrongdoing involving Miami's football and men's basketball programs became widely known in August 2011 when Yahoo Sports published accusations brought by Shapiro, who is serving a 20-year term in federal prison for masterminding a $930 million Ponzi scheme.
Miami has self-imposed two postseason bans in response to the investigation. The Hurricanes also would have played in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game this past season, meaning they could have qualified for the Orange Bowl.
This would figure to be another significant issue for the NCAA and its enforcement department. Among the others pending:
— A California case filed by former Southern Cal assistant football coach Todd McNair, who said the NCAA was "malicious" in its investigation into his role in the benefits scandal surrounding Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Frederick Shaller said he was convinced the actions of NCAA investigators were "over the top."
— Earlier this month, the NCAA was sued by Pennsylvania Gov. Thomas W. Corbett, who claimed the sports governing body overstepped its authority and "piled on" when it penalized Penn State for the Jerry Sandusky scandal last summer. The governor asked a federal judge to throw out the sanctions, arguing that the measures — which include a four-year bowl ban and $60 million fine — have harmed students, business owners and others who had nothing to do with Sandusky's crimes.
And now comes Miami, an investigation that has taken a most bizarre turn.
"In my two-and-a-half years I've certainly never seen anything like this, and don't want to see it again," Emmert said.
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