University of Miami president Donna Shalala watches players during warmups before the start of a game against South Florida on Nov. 17. / Wilfredo Lee, AP
One member of the Florida State Senate is taking the steps needed to begin a full investigation into the NCAA, which issued last week a notice of allegations to Miami (Fla.) in the case involving former booster Nevin Shapiro.
Joseph Abruzzo, a Democrat who represents Florida's District 25, covering part of Palm Beach County, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel he has a meeting scheduled with state attorney general Pam Bondi to discuss a potential state inquiry into the NCAA's case against the Hurricanes.
The planned meeting comes on the heels of a letter Abruzzo wrote to Bondi requesting she look into the NCAA's handling of its investigation.
"The NCAA's admittedly corrupt investigation has now dragged on for more than two years, and the University of Miami has suffered through this abuse of power," Abruzzo wrote in his letter to Bondi. "While the NCAA has been paying off a criminal and his lawyer for forbidden fruit, the University of Miami has tried to work cooperatively with the NCAA and has even self-imposed serious sanctions that included a two-year bowl ban and a conference football championship game.
"I strongly feel that the NCAA's abuse of power and payoffs must be scrutinized to the fullest extent, especially considering the NCAA's role as a regulatory institution of more than 400,000 students across the nation. Thank you for your consideration."
Abruzzo is a graduate of Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. He told the Sun-Sentinel that he has no official ties to Miami and would have questioned the NCAA's tactics regardless of the university involved.
In January, the NCAA revealed that its enforcement staff had hired Shapiro's lawyer to gain access to Shapiro's bankruptcy proceedings, violating its own protocols.
As a result, the NCAA announced in January an external review of its enforcement staff. While NCAA president Mark Emmert said portions of the NCAA's findings in the case would be thrown out â?? roughly 20 percent of the case â?? it still delivered the allegations to Miami and will eventually proceed to the sanctions phase of the investigation.
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