As confusing, as surprising, as embarrassing, as unbearably long as this NCAA investigation of the University of Miami seems from the outside, an official on the inside adds another word.
"Unprecedented,'' an NCAA investigator who worked on the Miami case said.
This is a walk through the looking glass. This is a view of the other side, at how the sausage in NCAA investigations gets made — or un-made, as in this strange Miami case.
NCAA President Mark Emmert called a national news conference last week, saying he was "angry," that an investigator sat with the lawyer for UM whistle-blower Nevin Shapiro on the depositions of former athletic employees.
This NCAA investigator, who demanded anonymity, raised a different angle to that issue. It broke no law, he said. It didn't involve a twisted ethical question, he said.
"There are a lot of us wondering just what the purpose of (Emmert's news conference) was — and why it happened in the first place,'' the investigator said.
Do you know how unusual this is? An investigator questioning the NCAA itself? A foot soldier wondering what is at work inside the college castle?
When asked if there was an ethical question in an attorney using legal means to depose someone the NCAA otherwise couldn't, the investigator was certain.
"This was good, investigative work,'' he said.
The investigator then listed similar officials the NCAA has worked with through the years to gather evidence against schools or individuals: U.S. Attorney offices, private investigators, former FBI agents and various lawyers.
"Even in the Miami case, this wasn't a solitary issue,'' he said.