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Sunday, August 21, 2011
Dan LeBatard never took Evidence

Dan LeBatard of the Miami Herald is not a lawyer. But I often complain that when the mainstream media tries to talk about law, they invariably get it wrong. Today,  LeBatard tried to urge patience as allegations swirl around UM's football team, with some genuinely incoherent comments about law.

First, he says that "Circumstantial evidence is not actual evidence." Umm, yes, it is. We know that, because, as a blogger for The Big Lead says, it says "evidence" right there in the phrase. And in any event, the evidence against UM is not circumstantial. Someone with firsthand knowledge (Shapiro) is stating the things he did (giving players money and other gifts, etc.) and those things violate NCAA rules. That is as direct as evidence can get.

Later, LeBatard says "precious little of what we’ve seen amid this noise so far can be considered truth, evidence, facts." Again, this is wrong on many levels. What we have been hearing are, indeed, facts--assertions or propositions about events that have happened in the world (e.g., "I gave money to UM football players"). And it is evidence--information by someone with knowledge offered to establish the truth of those assertions or propositions. Is it truth? That we do not know (although each of us is free to reach our own conclusions for now) and that ultimately will be for some fact-finder, whoever it turns out to be. But doubting the truth of facts does not mean they are not facts; disbelieving some evidence does not mean it is not evidence.


It is pretty obvious that LeBatard is filtering the information through a preconceived position, namely that his local team cannot really be guilty of violations. This reminds me of why jury consultants are find the juror sympathetic to the position the consultant represents.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 8/22/2011 12:03 PM  

You state that what we have been hearing are indeed 'facts'. Facts however are proven truths. You can't dispute a fact. These 'facts' are also coming from a convicted felon in jail for a ponzi scheme, a master manipulator if you will. This is the same individual that told investors that he was making them money. Were those considered facts as well? At this point, nothing that Shapiro has said can be considered trustworthy. The NCAA is conducting their own investigation, one they have been conducting before anybody even knew Shapiro was in the picture. When the NCAA decides to release statements on the matter then those can be considered facts. Until then, everything else is speculation.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 8/22/2011 1:22 PM  

I think I can point to LeBatard's column as an example of what I was talking about with the "ability to control" that a cheating school requires.

Credit where due, though: Linda Robertson in the same paper, the same day:

"In hindsight, the warning signs were as obvious as a bottle of Dom Perignon. But UM gladly accepted his checks while granting him the illusion of being part of the team. UM preyed on his fanaticism, as do all universities dependent on donors to pay for palatial weight rooms and multimillion-dollar coaches’ salaries."

Blogger Ken Houghton -- 8/22/2011 1:29 PM  

The assertions made by Dan LeBatard may not align perfectly with legal definitions, but with only minor changes, his assertions are exactly what an attorney defending the University of Miami will argue as part of the defense.

Presumably, the attorney hired by the university will have passed his law school courses...

Anonymous The sports Curmudgeon -- 8/22/2011 10:54 PM  

Yes even someone who is not a lawyer should understand that circumstantial evidence IS actual evidence. Many a folks in prison right now because of overwhelming circumstantial evidence.

Anonymous bail bonds las vegas -- 8/23/2011 4:56 PM  

I think what a lot of people do not realize is that the NCAA does not need to prove, per se, that Miami knew about what was going on (although, it's pretty difficult to think that nobody knew, considering what was reported in the Yahoo article).

Taking the totality of the circumstances, the NCAA could find that Miami SHOULD HAVE known, had they been using due diligence in investigating and keeping an eye out for improper benefits provided by boosters. This is how an institution gets slapped with the dreaded "lack of institutional control."

Ask yourself what's more likely - that Shapiro is lying about everything, or the 70+ guys he is accusing of providing with imporper benefits are lying when denying such benefits or remaining silent. Think about it; what's the first thing you would do nif osmeone was accusing you of such things? I'd be quite outspoken regarding my innocence and seeking a potential slander suit against him. I don't know of any players (former or current) who have taken that route, just like nobody went after Jose Canseco when he published his book of accusations. Gee, I wonder why.

Anonymous Mike -- 8/24/2011 9:41 AM  

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Anonymous Matt Trevor -- 9/09/2011 6:50 AM  

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