Blog Entry

Report: Miami coaches knew of massive violations

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

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.


Since: Dec 1, 2010
Posted on: August 17, 2011 9:00 am

Report: Miami coaches knew of massive violations

Nightmare's right.  You don't have the same situation elsewhere, except maybe Vegas or LA,  where there's dozens of high end clubs and celebrity hang-outs.  Now do other places and boosters spend time and money on players, probably,  but nothing like this.  I can live with a booster out in say Kansas buying a player a steak now and then,  but dropping $20k in a strip club then adjorning to a yacth,  no way.

Since: Oct 14, 2008
Posted on: August 17, 2011 8:18 am

Report: Miami coaches knew of massive violations

I hate to say it, but this happens at EVERY SINGLE MAJOR COLLEGE FOOTBALL PROGRAM. Maybe not 72 players, but I can confidently say probably 10+ guys on every major program get benefits every year they're on the team. I hate OSU, but I even thought it was pretty crappy that they got screwed over earlier in the year, since I knew they weren't the only school guilty of NCAA Violations. There's no way of stopping it.

No, actually this kind of stuff does not happen at every major school. Quit with the justification and cop-outs. Not every major school's players are treated like South American drug lords. If you're even trying to compare text book benefits to narcotics and prostitution then you need to go back to school and take a few courses in criminal justice.  

Since: Sep 23, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 8:15 am

Report: Miami coaches knew of massive violations

I can guess who the prime candidate to join the SEC with A&M is. Miami will fit right in!

Since: Aug 1, 2007
Posted on: August 17, 2011 8:14 am

Report: Miami coaches knew of massive violations

Where can I apply to be an editor? I’ve never seen so many typos.

Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: August 17, 2011 8:07 am

Report: Miami coaches knew of massive violations

thats what you get when you name a semi literate, irrational political hack like Donna Schalala to be a University president  

Since: Dec 10, 2007
Posted on: August 17, 2011 7:49 am

Report: Miami coaches knew of massive violations

Since: Aug 15, 2011
Posted on: August 17, 2011 7:07 am

Report: Miami coaches knew of massive violations

Two of the coaches involved are on the Bama staff. When you look at T-Town Mensware scandle and pictures, it looks like the Miami thing without the big boat and mansion. Is T-Town Tom a cheaper version of Shapiro. If you all remember over a year ago wasnt Marcil Darious suspended for going to a party down in Miami. Why is all the big media and NCAA scared of Bama, is it because they are still on probation and they would really have to put the hammer down.

Since: Jun 1, 2011
Posted on: August 17, 2011 12:32 am

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

I think Craig & Smokey say it best:

Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2011 12:26 am

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

Here is the list of just football players involved in this. Some are currently on the team.

Ray-Ray Armstrong
Jon Beason
Travis Benjamin
Arthur Brown
James Bryant
Calais Campbell
Vernon Carey
Howard Clark
Graig Cooper
Antonio Dixon
Dyron Dye
Dedrick Epps
Kayne Farquharson
Marcus Forston
Orlando Franklin
Vegas Franklin
Jason Geathers
Tavares Gooden
Frank Gore
Cornelius Green
Gavin Hardin
Courtney Harris
Jacory Harris
Orien Harris
Devin Hester
Aldarius Johnson
Andre Johnson
Andrew Johnson
Charlie Jones
Carlos Joseph
William Joseph
Robert Marve
Marcus Maxey
Colin McCarthy
Jerome McDougle
Willis McGahee
Rocky McIntosh
Eric Moncur
Brian Monroe
Tyrone Moss
Javon Nanton
JoJo Nicolas
Adewale Ojomo
Bryan Pata
Kenny Phillips
Randy Phillips
Anthony Reddick
Marcus Robinson
Antrel Rolle
Darryl Sharpton
Sam Shields
Sean Spence
Sean Taylor
Vaughn Telemaque
Santonio Thomas
Olivier Vernon
Jonathan Vilma
Carl Walker
Vince Wilfork
Andrew Williams
D.J. Williams
Leon Williams
Willie Williams
Kellen Winslow Jr.
Reggie Youngblood

Since: Mar 22, 2011
Posted on: August 17, 2011 12:06 am

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

Um, you neglected to mention stops in both Lexington and Nashville.

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