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: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: August 16, 2011 10:24 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

This is bad... real bad, but the lying that Ohio State University did while trying to act better than everyone else makes me snicker at the Buckeyes even more. The Lying Ohio State University and the University of Pete Carroll is a sleazebag and Lame Kitten is worse are right there with SMU of the 80's.

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: August 16, 2011 10:24 pm

Great distraction for Mark Emmert

Now Mark Emmert has someone to hammer for violations while he sweeps his mentor, Gordon Gee, and THE Ohio State University's violations under the carpet.  Emmert will be on the soapbox against Miami so much that nobody will notice when he gives Ohio State the world's weakest slap on the wrist.  
Funny: the way this was stated before the article actually came out, it looked like most of these were old violations.  In reality, though, the violations continued all the way to April 2010.  That is well within the statute of limitations.  This could end up being the death penalty for Miami.  They might give the basketball team the death penalty, too, but nobody would notice anything had changed. 

I guess all this really proves is that the tainted National Championship game between Ohio State and Miami featured the two Dirtiest Programs in College Football.  Both deserved to lose. 

Since: Dec 28, 2006
Posted on: August 16, 2011 10:19 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

I don't wish Miami any ill, but I have to admit I do wonder where guys like Doyel and Dodd are.  They couldn't wait to shoot at Ohio State and Jim Tressel.  Now I guess they're on vacation.

Since: Feb 15, 2008
Posted on: August 16, 2011 10:18 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

What a load of BS. For the last seven years, no conference titles and no BCS bowls. We certainly didn't get our money's worth like all of the OSU's, Alabama's, Auburn's, Florida's, USC's, and LSU's of the world.

Since: Apr 19, 2010
Posted on: August 16, 2011 9:56 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

D-Town in fairness OSU did enough SHADY BEHAVIOR to dismiss Miami from comparisons. They fired the wrong guy in Tressel. Should have shot at Gee and Smith.

I think they do to which is why an investigation beyond the Tressel investigation exists after the suppose to be Dooms Day! Glass houses should not throw stones! Just when you thought Failure to Monitor was over! BOOM! Sucks I know but I only experienced the Fab 5 and practice! Not Failure to Monitor to Lack of Institutional Control. Good luck my friend.

Since: May 15, 2007
Posted on: August 16, 2011 9:49 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

Why can't they figure out some way to retroactively punish the real offenders in cases like this one and at OSU (and USC and UNC, and....)?


 The NCAA had the chance to punish the Buckeyes when they were caught, but they (much like all the kids in these cases) went for the money. The NCAA could have sat Pryor and company when they had the chance in the Sugar Bowl, but they didn't. They didn't want to lose money or ratings for the game. The NCAA is the single biggest problem in this whole flawed system.

 The NCAA knew of improper benfits by tOSU atheletes and allowed them to play in a bowl game. Read that again and then ask what would happen if Jim Tressel knew of that same thing and played those players. Oh yeah he got fired. The NCAA people who let those guys play should lose their jobs as well.

With all that said Tats and trinkets seems like chump change compared to what was allegedly going down at the "U".  

Since: Jul 18, 2011
Posted on: August 16, 2011 9:45 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

Miami is flooded with drug money.  The U will always have a hard time staying clean because they couldn't watch their boosters and hangers on if they wanted to.  There's a different attitude in Miami and its in the air.  You can smell it and taste it.  It gets into your blood and you actually become a sort of different person.  I have experienced it personally while working there.

Since: Feb 21, 2011
Posted on: August 16, 2011 9:26 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

Hmm...was beginning to think Miami had cleaned up, and had them picked to take the ACC and make noise, not so much.  Too bad...College Football was more interesting wwhen they were a really looks now...with the severity of the allegations, that they may go the way of SMU in the mid 80's.  Too bad.

Since: Nov 9, 2006
Posted on: August 16, 2011 9:22 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

I found much joy in OSU's troubles. Mostly due to the fact that you uptight asses have called us such names and Thug U and what not. And was overjoyed when the shit hit the fan in Columbus this year. I dont care if they got payed, I dont care if they screwed hookers. I only care if they win on Saturday.

Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: August 16, 2011 9:22 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

wow miami! do it big!  come on osu, memorabilia for tats and money??  don't let these florida boys show you up like that.  if you aren't getting prostitutes and parties on yachts, you aren't getting market value

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