Report: NCAA V.P. approved payment to Miami booster's attorney

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NCAA president Mark Emmert put the Miami probe on hold due to "very severe" improper conduct by his staff. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

NCAA president Mark Emmert put the Miami investigation on hold after discovering major improper conduct. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

An NCAA vice president approved a five-figure payment to the attorney of Miami booster Nevin Shapiro to obtain information in its Miami infractions investigation, two sources with knowledge of the arrangement told

In the report, sources said enforcement director Julie Roe Lach discussed and approved the payment of at least $20,000 in October-November 2011.

The NCAA is already conducting an external review investigating what it called "improper conduct" when its enforcement department gained access to a witness deposed by Shapiro's attorney, Maria Elena Perez, in order to gain evidence of NCAA infractions in a separate bankruptcy proceeding.

"Whether or not Julie approved [the action], it will be part of the external review process," said NCAA spokesman Bob Williams. "However, the review is solely focused on enforcement."

A source close to the case termed the information obtained at the depositions as being of "mutual interest" to Shapiro and the NCAA, and was acquired in a manner in which NCAA investigators could circumvent their lack of subpoena power.

Shapiro, who is currently serving a 20-year sentence in federal prison for his role in a $970-million Ponzi scheme, is working through bankruptcy proceedings to repay money owed to creditors.

put the Miami investigation on hold