Tag:NCAA Miami
Posted on: August 16, 2011 6:26 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 2:33 am
 

Report: Miami coaches knew of massive violations

Posted by Chip Patterson and Adam Jacobi

Former Miami booster and indicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro provided thousands of dollars in impermissible benefits to "at least 72 student-athletes" between 2002 and 2010, according to a Yahoo! Sports report.

The investigation included over 100 hours of jailhouse interviews with Shapiro, along with financial records and corroboration from several sources - including former Miami players - to support the claims. Among the most alarming details to the program include seven former coaches and three athletic support staff who either witnessed, had knowledge of, or even participated in Shapiro committing all kinds of NCAA violations. The report details the life of a rampant rule-breaker who was never told to stop.

"At a cost that Shapiro estimates in the millions of dollars, he said his benefits to athletes included but were not limited to: cash, prostitutes, entertainment in his multimillion-dollar homes and yacht, paid trips to high-end restaurants and nightclubs, jewelry, bounties for on-field play (including bounties for injuring opposing players), travel and on one occasion, an abortion," Robinson writes.

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."

The University of Miami has not commented specifically on the allegations made by Shapiro, as is generally the policy of schools under NCAA investigation, except to say that Shapiro was not as forthcoming to the school and to the NCAA as he was to Yahoo! Sports.

“When Shapiro made his allegations nearly a year ago, he and his attorneys refused to provide any facts to the university,” Miami associate for communications Chris Freet said. “We notified the NCAA enforcement officials of these allegations. We are fully cooperating with the NCAA and are conducting a joint investigation. We take these matters very seriously.”

Shapiro was once one of Miami's most prominent boosters, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars (and committing $250,000 more) to the football program, and presenting head basketball coach Frank Haith (now of Missouri) and current Miami president Donna Shalala with a check for $50,000 -- earmarked for the basketball program -- at one fundraiser. Shapiro alleges that his donations were was enough for Miami's brass to look the other way on the litany of violations he was perpetrating because they were so desperate for donations.

In fact, not only did Miami officials cast a blind eye to Shapiro, they embraced him as a booster, naming a student lounge after him and letting him lead the team onto its home field before games -- twice. In fact, former Miami athletic director Paul Dee maintained as of Tuesday that Miami "didn't have any suspicion that he was doing anything like this. He didn't do anything to cause concern." Dee is the former chair of the NCAA Committee on Infractions, having served the maximum allowable nine-year term as chair. 

Miami report fallout

Shapiro said he gave money, cars, yacht trips, jewelry, televisions and other gifts to a long list of notable former Hurricanes including Vince Wilfork, Jon Beason, Antrel Rolle, Devin Hester, Willis McGahee and the late Sean Taylor.

The potential fall-out from this report could be devastating to the Miami athletic department. Miami's football program was hit with serious sanctions in 1995. Many thought that the program would be protected by any allegations because of the NCAA's four-year statute of limitations. However, under NCAA bylaw 36.2.3 an investigation can expand beyond the statute if information reveals that in individual tied to a university has engaged in "a pattern of willful violations" over a sustained period beyond the previous four years.

One of the most damning aspects of the report was that while Shapiro was a booster for the Hurricanes, he was also acting as a runner for a sports agency -- Axcess Sports & Entertainment -- that he also owned a minority share of. Shapiro's partner in that agency, former NFL agent and current UFL commissioner Michael Huyghue, vehemently denied Shapiro's charges to the Associated Press.

"It's just fantasy," Huyghue said. "He never had any role in my company. He didn't have the acumen to represent players."

Yahoo! Sports reported that Axcess signee Vince Wilfork received $50,000 and a pair of Cadillac Escalades from Shapiro on behalf of the agency, however, and that Hester recognized Shapiro as a runner (though Hester did not name which agent).

Among the litany of gifts and incentives that Shapiro lavished on the Hurricanes included a $5,000 bounty on rival quarterbacks Chris Rix of Florida State and Tim Tebow of Florida. Neither quarterback was knocked out of a game against Miami, but Shapiro said Rix was targeted several time by Miami defenders.

“We pounded the (expletive) out of [Rix],” Shapiro said. “Watch the tape of those games. You’ll see so many big hits on him. Guys were all going after that $5,000 in cash. [Jon Vilma] tried to kill him – just crushed him – a couple of times trying to get that $5,000. And he almost got it, too.” 

Vilma, a current member of the New Orleans Saints, did not comment to Yahoo! Sports.

Now, Shapiro's prediction of the "death penalty" for Miami -- an entire season's cancellation, which is punishment only meted out by the NCAA once, to flagrant and repeat offenders Southern Methodist, in 1987 -- will probably not come true. Robinson even said as much in an interview on ESPN on Tuesday night, saying the idea isn't "reasonable or possible with any program anymore."

And yet it might be. For perhaps the first time since that fateful day in February 1987, the notion of a "death penalty" is now at least a remote possibility. For Miami, that means some of the NCAA's strongest sanctions are likely in store, so even if the worst-case scenario doesn't come true, the once-storied program will probably be damaged for years and years to come.  

AP Sports Writers Steven Wine, Eric Olson, Cliff Brunt and RB Fallstrom contributed to this story.

Posted on: August 16, 2011 10:09 am
Edited on: August 16, 2011 2:17 pm
 

Miami responds to NCAA investigation

Posted by Chip Patterson

Miami has stayed mum on the subject of the NCAA's investigation into claims of impermissible benefits until Tuesday. No players will be available to the media, but head coach Al Golden spoke to reporters before Tuesday's morning practice and the school offered this official statement.

When Nevin Shapiro made his allegations nearly a year ago, he and his attorneys refused to provide any facts to the University of Miami. The University notified the NCAA Enforcement officials of these allegations. We are fully cooperating with the NCAA and are conducting a joint investigation. The University of Miami takes these matters very seriously.

Golden informed reporters that he is learning about the investigation as the public/reporters are, because the NCAA has not identified him as someone of interest in this investigation. There are current players on the roster who have and/or will be interviewed, but they will not be contacting the coach and Golden will not be a part of the process.

CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy reported today that the investigation could uncover serious NCAA violations, citing a source that believes that "between a 1 and 10," the scandal-in-waiting is "a 10."

In the below video you will also hear Golden claim that when he was hired, then-athletic director Kirby Hocutt did not inform of possible NCAA violations.  CBSSports.com's Daniel Walker reports that Texas Tech's athletic department (where Hocutt is currently AD) offered an official "no comment" in response to Golden's claim.  Hocutt was the Hurricanes AD when Golden was hired in December, then left for Lubbock, TX in Febrauary.  Golden did say that he would still have taken the job, even if he did have knowledge of a potential investigation.  

Full interview of Golden with the media on Tuesday morning below, courtesy of Canes All-Access


Posted on: August 15, 2011 2:35 pm
 

Lawyer: Miami booster has been talking with NCAA

Posted by Chip Patterson

The NCAA spent Monday morning on Miami's campus investigating claims that Miami football players received impermissible benefits from former UM booster and convicted felon Nevin Shapiro.

CBSSports.com's Bryan Fischer reported the investigation, and the Associated Press confirmed the NCAA's presence on campus after speaking to Shapiro's attorney, Maria Elena Perez.
His attorney, Maria Elena Perez, says Shapiro has told the NCAA he provided players with the use of a yacht and other favors. Shapiro and Perez have been talking with the NCAA about the matter for a couple of months, and she says investigators were on campus Monday.
Shapiro claims he is working on a tell-all book about Miami football that is expected to name nearly 100 Hurricanes who broke NCAA rules since 2001. He was a big-time booster who, unfortunately, became very close with the team and was often seen on the Miami sideline. One CBSSports.com source told Fischer Miami was in "big trouble" and "Shapiro would be able to back up his allegations."

Shapiro, 42, was sentenced in June to 20 years in prison for his involvement in a Ponzi scheme. While one argument in Miami's favor would try to paint this as a desperate man looking for publicity, Shapiro's legal troubles could actually end up hurting Miami. In other situations money trails disappear and make it difficult for allegations to stick, I bet it is impossible for someone already convicted of investment fraud to hide any transactions.

University officials have not offered an official comment on the issue. Keep it here at the Eye on College Football for more as it develops.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com