The stories are only begin to break, and already it is clear that there are going to be a lot of problems unearthed at Miami.
While many people are questioning the motivations and/or character of Nevin Shapiro, the reality is neither of those matter. The people who get NCAA athletes in trouble rare have stellar character or pure motivations.
What does matter are the allegations of 72 athletes receiving impermissible benefits and early indications that multiple coaches and/or administrators were aware of (at worst) or suspicious of (at best) the situation.
And when Yahoo sports spends 100 hours interviewing Shapiro over 11 months then you know that there are a lot of details and documents to substantiate what is going on.
One report clearly states that two former Miami coaches (who are now at Alabama), brought student athletes to meet with Shapiro during the recruiting process.
According to the report:
[Jeff] Stoutland is the Crimson Tide’s offensive line coach after holding that position at Miami from 2007-10. [Joe] Pannunzio is director of football operations. He spent the previous five years as the Hurricanes’ tight ends coach/special teams coordinator.
Despite the rash of allegations and the recent disclosure, it appears that this is not new to the NCAA. Apparently the NCAA has been investigating Miami for five months already. But Al Golden is apparently willing to tackle the challenge, and at least so far he is not attacking Miami for failing to disclose this situation to him. Golden also discussed how he will handle the situation with his student athletes.
“Until we hear of an infraction or that we did break a rule, everybody is practicing,” Golden told a small group of reporters before the practice session. “If it is determined that somebody broke rules, than certainly that will be first dealt with from a university standpoint from an eligibility standpoint.”
Former Miami Hurricanes quarterback Jim Kelly says he was shocked to hear about alleged NCAA violations at Miami. Plus, Kelly says he probably would have taken additional benefits, too.
Golden said he has thought about future suspensions, but said he doesn’t know all of the facts and did not read the inflammatory Yahoo! Sports story released on Tuesday. Nevin Shapiro, a former Miami booster who is serving a 20-year prison sentence for masterminding a $930 million Ponzi scheme, told Yahoo! Sports he provided impermissible benefits to 72 of the university’s athletes between 2002 and 2010.
Shapiro said he gave money, cars, yacht trips, jewelry, televisions and other gifts to numerous players, including several starters on Miami’s current roster. Shapiro also claimed he paid for nightclub outings, sex parties, restaurant meals and in one case, an abortion for a woman impregnated by a player.
NCAA president Mark Emmert said Wednesday in an interview with ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning” that Miami has been under investigation for at least five months.
“We were well aware of it and weren’t surprised by the sensational media coverage. We’ve been on top of it for a while, gathering information and collecting data,” he said.
Emmert said he couldn’t comment on the specifics of the case but he did say that typical investigations take six to seven months.
The problem in this case, as occurs in most of these cases is that the current student athletes will suffer, even if they had nothing to do with the wrongdoing.
Until the NCAA (or anyone else) can figure out a truly meaningful way to punish a school for the historical problems without punishing the current athletes (if there is a way to accomplish that), we are going to continue to face these issues.
Shapiro names many players in his latest claims and also alleges that he made payments to players in his capacity as a part owner of a sports agency.
Shapiro said he gave money, cars, yacht trips, jewelry, televisions and other gifts to a list of players including Vince Wilfork, Jon Beason, Antrel Rolle, Devin Hester, Willis McGahee and the late Sean Taylor. Shapiro also claimed he paid for nightclub outings, sex parties, restaurant meals and in one case, an abortion for a woman impregnated by a player. One former Miami player, running back Tyrone Moss, told Yahoo! Sports he accepted $1,000 from Shapiro around the time he was entering college.
“Hell yeah, I recruited a lot of kids for Miami,” Shapiro told Yahoo! Sports. “With access to the clubs, access to the strip joints. My house. My boat. We’re talking about high school football players. Not anybody can just get into the clubs or strip joints. Who is going to pay for it and make it happen? That was me.”
Shapiro has said multiple times in the past year, including in the Yahoo! Sports story posted Tuesday, that he is angry with several of the players he claims to have helped when they were Hurricanes. Miami officials began cooperating with NCAA investigators not long after Shapiro made claims about his involvement with players last year. University president Donna Shalala and athletic director Shawn Eichorst were questioned by the NCAA this week.
“I can tell you what I think is going to happen,” Shapiro told Miami television station WFOR from federal prison in Atlanta. “Death penalty.”
Shapiro also says he was part-owner in an agency, Axcess Sports & Entertainment, that funneled cash to players to sign with its agents, a charge others in the agency deny.
Shapiro also told Yahoo! he made payments on behalf of the sports agency to serve as a tool to recruit potential clients. These included a lump sum of $50,000 to Patriots lineman and former Hurricane Wilfork, who signed with the agency as a former first-round pick.