Shalala: NCAA Investigating 15 Current Athletes' Eligibility

"It's frustrating for us -- for me -- to be unable to speak more freely and answer questions," UM prez says in video statement

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    Donna Shalala talks about the UM football scandal.

    University of Miami president Donna Shalala said Monday that the elegibility of 15 current student-athletes is being jointly investigated by the NCAA and UM.

    Shalala's comments came in a video statement released by the university, addressing the recent allegations by a jailed former booster that he provided improper benefits to football and basketball players.

    "The NCAA has instructed us not to comment on specific details of the investigation. It's frustrating for us -- for me -- to be unable to speak more freely and answer questions," Shalala said, noting that the university "will move through the process thoroughly."

    Shalala did state said she was notified on August 15 that the NCAA would be on campus to investigate potential violations.

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    The NCAA has said their investigation began five months ago, when convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro began providing details to back up claims that for nearly a decade he provided cash, gifts, and even prostitutes to dozens of athletes.

    Shalala also announced that the university retained outside counsel specializing in NCAA investigations "to assist in all aspects of the investigation," and that the school had received a favorable response from NCAA investigators when UM officials asked to conduct a joint investigation.

    NCAA enforcement staff conducted several on-campus interviews last week, Shalala said, but she did not suggest a timeline for a verdict on presumably impending sanctions against the football program.

    "With the season fast approaching, I know our players, coaches, and fans are eager to know the results," she said. "The process, however, must be deliberate and thorough in order to ensure its integrity."