Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 11/1/11
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) -- There's not much that Miami athletic director Shawn Eichorst can say about an ongoing investigation into the Hurricanes' compliance practices, one that could lead to stiff sanctions from the NCAA. He isn't sure when he'll be able to say much about it, either. Speaking out for the first time since the scandal centered around the actions of a former booster broke in August, Eichorst revealed Tuesday that the Hurricanes do not know when the NCAA will be done with the process of collecting information or when the Hurricanes should find out what sort of penalties they'll be facing. But Eichorst was extremely guarded in his comments, declining to even say if the football team -- which is at the epicenter of the scandal -- will go to a bowl game if they are eligible. It's possible that Miami may elect to self-impose certain sanctions, including a bowl ban or loss of a small number of scholarships, ahead of any NCAA penalties, although the school has never said if it is even considering any such moves. "We're continuing to cooperate," Eichorst said. "And I believe that the NCAA is very pleased with the level of cooperation they've not only received from the institution, but more importantly from the cooperation they've received from some of the student-athletes that have been interviewed and reinstated up to this point." The NCAA said on Aug. 30 that 12 football players who were declared ineligible by the university may return to the field this season after completing some conditions: four were ordered to pay back amounts of less than 100, and eight others repaid larger fines and faced suspensions of either one, four or six games. A 13th player was vindicated and did not face any penalty. There has not been a ruling yet on men's basketball player DeQuan Jones. The former booster, convicted Ponzi scheme architect Nevin Shapiro, told Yahoo Sports for a story published in August that he provided Miami coaches with 10,000 in cash to secure Jones' commitment to the Hurricanes, and later got the money back. Eichorst isn't sure when the Hurricanes will know Jones' status. Jones will not play until the NCAA decides his case. "He has cooperated. We have cooperated," Eichorst said. "I hope sooner than later we can figure out where we're going to be." Eichorst and football coach Al Golden are in similar positions, in that they're facing a mess that was created long before they joined the Hurricanes. Both arrived at Miami (Golden in December 2010, Eichorst this past April) long after Shapiro's involvement with the university ended. Shapiro is serving a 20-year prison term after federal prosecutors said he masterminded a 930 million investment scam. Golden has said he did not know about the possibility of Miami facing NCAA trouble when he took the job. Eichorst did not divulge how much, if anything, he knew about the scandal when he got hired, but said he is committed to long-term goals at Miami and indicated that Golden feels the same way. "He is extremely excited to be the coach at the University of Miami," Eichorst said. "His family loves being here. And why would you not? The University of Miami is as good as it gets, if you're going to get involved with college football. And we will get back there. We have high expectations. We talk about the positive things, the optimistic things, the things that we know we can get done. It doesn't do us any good to talk about the rest of the stuff." Eichorst said he speaks with Golden daily, and that he "couldn't be more excited" about what Golden and his staff have done so far at Miami. But when the topic turned to Golden's contract status, a particularly hot-button issue Tuesday after the coach's agent first told CBSSports.com for a story published earlier in the day that the university has made "overtures" about adjusting his deal, Eichorst declined comment. "I'm not going to talk about personnel matters. ... We have an excellent football coach in Al Golden," Eichorst said. Eichorst spent the first several minutes of a roundtable session with reporters talking about all that he believes is going right at Miami. The university's planned Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence, an expansion and renovation of the current Hecht Athletic Center, will break ground in December. The volleyball team is nationally ranked, women's soccer has a chance to reach the NCAA tournament, and there's plenty of excitement over the start of men's basketball and women's basketball -- the latter starting the season ranked No. 7 in The Associated Press' Top 25 poll. All of it, though, seems overshadowed by football and the NCAA investigation. "I'm not making any excuses. I'm not asking anybody to feel sorry for me or anybody else," Eichorst said. "I've got a job to do and I'm only looking forward. I'm not looking backwards. So if folks want to come along with me, fine. If they don't, that's fine, too."
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