Tag:Maria Elena Perez
Posted on: August 22, 2011 4:52 am
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Nevin Shapiro tried to land Houston Nutt in 2006

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Former Miami head coach Randy Shannon isn't listed in the exhaustive Yahoo! Sports report* on Nevin Shapiro's extensive expose on impermissble player benefits, unlike the numerous assistants and contemporaries of his. That's not by accident; Shannon is by-the-book to a fault, and it's ironically that disdain for shenanigans that led to the Miami fanbase abandoning the 'Canes by the droves in the weeks preceding Shannon's firing after the 2010 season.

Imagine then, if you will, an alternate reality where instead of straight-laced Shannon running the Miami program, the head coach is current Arkansas coach Houston Nutt. Heads are now exploding nationwide. And according to the Orlando Sentinel, it came closer to happening than you would expect:

As the Sentinel reported late Sunday, Nevin Shapiro was personally involved in trying to recruit Nutt to coach the Hurricanes -- and his contact with the coach preceded several discussions between Nutt and university brass:

According to Nutt’s cell phone records obtained by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette through the Freedom of Information Act, Nutt spoke with Shapiro, in addition to UM assistant AD Tony Hernandez.

According to records, Nutt called Shapiro at 10:17 a.m. on Dec. 7, 2006 and the call lasted 30 minutes. Nutt then hung up and called his agent, Jimmy Sexton, before contacting Shapiro again that same day. Nutt also called Hernandez four times in a span of four hours that day.

That alternate reality almost came true! The theoretical NCAA violations are almost certainly even worse, aren't they? That's not an attack specifically on Nutt, who was head coach of Ole Miss at the time of the report, but Shannon brought a deep and abiding respect for the University of Miami and the rules it (ostensibly) operates under, and Insert Any Big-Name Coach With No Miami Ties Here almost certainly wouldn't bring that same approach. Get that same coach from the SEC, and the rules are going to get bent beyond recognition, like so many flat sheets of paper turned into origami swans.

Still, it's worth noting that Shapiro's influence did not get Nutt the Miami job. Not only that, Miami hired the most anti-Shapiro coach fathomable, and Shapiro was so angry at the Hurricanes' new adherence to the rules that he tried to pick a fight with Miami's director of compliance during a bowl game. If anything saves the program during the impending NCAA bloodshed, it's the fact that in the middle of Shapiro's influence on the program, it ignored Shapiro's contact with an in-demand coach that flirted with multiple BCS programs before eventually landing at Arkansas, where Nutt has since led the program to a BCS bowl game.

So imagining Houston Nutt as the Miami coach post-Larry Coker is nothing more than a thought exercise, because absent some evidence that not even Yahoo! could conjure up -- and lord knows they tried -- there's nothing the NCAA can point to that would suggest the Miami administrators valued anything about Shapiro or Nutt over what Shannon and his compliance-centric approach offered the program. That's small comfort for a football program trying to distance itself from the excesses of Shapiro and his well-documented interaction with the team, but it's also a fact that just might save the Hurricanes' program from the death penalty.


*For the record, Shapiro's lawyer, Maria Elena Perez, said in a phone interview that she believed Shannon had direct knowledge of Shapiro's dealings, but even her statement was phrased in a way that it wasn't entirely credible; it seems much more likely that Perez misremembered the facts than that Yahoo!'s 11-month investigation missed or omitted evidence that Shannon was directly involved, doesn't it? 

Posted on: August 17, 2011 3:03 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 3:39 pm
 

AUDIO: Shapiro attorney says Shannon, Coker knew

Posted by Adam Jacobi

One of the names most conspicuously absent from the Nevin Shapiro report produced by Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday was that of former Miami head coach Randy Shannon, whose career fell entirely within the timeframe of Shapiro's allegations. It made sense, on some level; Shannon's always been something of a "by the rules, at all costs" type of coach, and his discipline and integrity are generally thought of as above reproach. He's one of the good guys, as the story goes.

Slight problem: Nevin Shapiro's attorney Maria Elena Perez has other ideas about Shannon's role in the scandal. To that end, Perez was on "Armando and the Amigo," a radio program with Armando Salguero (Miami Herald columnist), Chris Perkins (CBSSports.com Dolphins RapidReporter), and Larry Milian (longtime Miami-area radio personality) on 640-AM WMEN in Miami-Fort Lauderdale.

For those unable or unwilling to listen to Ms. Perez's statement, here's what she told Salguero, Perkins, and Milian:

Perez: "Well, I wouldn't say that [Miami president] Donna Shalala knew that there was NCAA violations going on. She obviously knew that Nevin was a benefactor, someone that was giving money to the school, because there's a picture of her receiving a check at an event at Lucky Strike on the beach, it's photographed on the Yahoo! Sports article. So I don't think that she knew that there were NCAA violations, but I know that the coaches knew. And I know that--
Host: "Which coaches?"
Perez: "--the organization knew, and that's why they let him lead them out of the tunnel on a couple of occasions!"
Host: "Randy Shannon knew?" 
Perez: "Excuse me?"
Host: "Randy Shannon knew?"
Perez: "I believe, based on what my client has indicated, that Randy Shannon did know."
Host: "Larry Coker knew?"
Perez: "Um... I believe, based my client's representations, that Larry Coker did know."
Host: "And obviously, in the story, Frank Haith--"
Perez: "That is correct."
Host: "Frank Haith knew."
Perez: "That is correct."

One hopes for Shannon's sake that Perez's recollection of Shapiro's statements is incorrect, and given that we're talking about 100 hours of jailhouse testimony to Yahoo! Sports alone, that's not out of the realm of possibility. If she's right though, and if Shapiro is accurate that Shannon, Coker, and Haith all knew about the illegal activity, then Miami is in a world of NCAA trouble.

 
 
 
 
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