CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Miami senior Dyron Dye has agreed to meet for a third time with NCAA investigators, who want to know why there are discrepancies between what he told them in 2011 and what he wrote in a recent affidavit to support a former Hurricanes assistant coach.
And according to that affidavit, Dye’s explanation is simple. He claims he said what the NCAA told him in 2011 was necessary to preserve his career.
Dye’s attorney, Darren Heitner, said Saturday that his client stands by what he wrote, which has been obtained by The Associated Press. The NCAA has told Miami that it wants to interview Dye as soon it can, even over Memorial Day weekend, amid “Bylaw 10.1 concerns” — the rule covering unethical conduct by those involved in collegiate athletics.
“My client stands behind the statements he made in his affidavit, which we understand is supported by affidavits signed by other former players,” Heitner said. “Nevertheless, we will cooperate with the NCAA and comply with its request for a third interview.”
Dye has already been sanctioned once for his involvement with the scandal that has dogged the Hurricanes for more than two years and was sparked by claims made by former booster Nevin Shapiro, a convicted felon who is currently serving a 20-year federal prison sentence for masterminding a $930 million Ponzi scheme.
After the scandal broke in 2011, Dye had to sit out four games and repay $738 because the NCAA found — primarily through his own acknowledgement — that he accepted impermissible benefits from Shapiro, who was linked to dozens of Miami athletes, recruits and coaches over about a decade.
The stakes are higher this time. If the NCAA successfully pursues a 10.1 charge against Dye, his remaining eligibility would almost certainly be gone.
“I feel that it is unfair that the NCAA has twisted my testimony,” Dye wrote in his statement, filed on behalf of former Hurricanes assistant coach Aubrey Hill, who faces one of the unethical conduct charges — the 10.1 — that the NCAA included in the notice of allegations it sent to Miami in February.
Former Miami quarterback Jacory Harris echoed Dye’s claim of NCAA intimidation in another affidavit on Hill’s behalf, and it’s now expected that more former players involved in the Hurricanes case will say the same thing happened to them during their interviews related to the investigation.
The NCAA has not commented about the affidavit from Dye, who played tight end last year and was planning to switch to defensive line for his final collegiate season. He is recovering from surgery needed after he got hurt on the final day of Miami’s spring practice season, but remains hopeful that he will be able to play in 2013.
Dye appears several times in the notice of allegations, which is what Miami will be facing when it appears before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions for a hearing scheduled to begin June 13 in Indianapolis.
Dye, the AP has learned, was one of at least 38 football players who the NCAA said was entertained at Shapiro’s home. The NCAA also said Dye, Ray-Ray Armstrong and Andre Dubose were provided “impermissible transportation and benefits” such as a strip-club trip during an unofficial recruiting visit. Dye also allegedly was allowed to stay at the homes of two former football assistant coaches — Hill and Clint Hurtt — for no cost during unofficial visits.
The NCAA said Dye stayed at Hurtt’s home at least two nights, and at Hill’s for at least two other nights.
More allegations involving Dye included that he, Debose and Armstrong were picked up by Hill about halfway between Miami and Orlando and driven by the then-assistant to South Florida for a visit; that Hurtt arranged a trip to a gathering with Miami players at Shapiro’s home; that he played in a pool tournament at Shapiro’s where the booster was offering a cash prize; and that he dined at an Italian restaurant with Hill and others, with Shapiro paying.
In his affidavit, Dye denied many of those allegations, including that he stayed at Hill’s home, that he got transportation from Hill for an unofficial visit, and that he did not dine with a group that included Hill at the Italian restaurant.
With regard to one of his previous interviews with the NCAA, conducted Aug. 16, 2011, Dye said now-retired investigator Rich Johanningmeier threatened his scholarships and remaining eligibility, according to the documents obtained by AP.
“I felt compelled to testify in a manner that would be consistent with the manner in which Mr. Johanningmeier was directing me in order to keep my eligibility,” Dye wrote.