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: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: August 16, 2011 9:21 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

I have to admit, Charles Robinson & Yahoo know how to research and write a story.  Is any of this true?  Let's just say they didn't throw together some allegations from anonymous sources and 20 year old hearsay and rumors.  We will see if they have real proof - I think they do.   

Only a matter of time before ESPiN says ohio state & Tressel are behind this.  I also hear it will be reported that Brutus was the bag man for Cam Newton.  lol    

Embrace The Hate.

Since: Dec 3, 2009
Posted on: August 16, 2011 9:20 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

Rockerweiler, I couldn't have said it better.  We'll likely face some type of sanctions, it would be wishful thinking that we're going to come out of this unscathed.  However we won't get hit with failure of compliance which seems to be the grand daddy of all violations given that we've already been actively investigating this internally.

Pretty sad that the NCAA goes off the word of the man who committed the second largest PONZI scheme, and has litterally stated that he's paid for prostitution for under-aged players.  If you don't see where it says that, think recruiting and it'll hit you that some of these kids are 17 years of age. 

I for one can say that I didn't find much joy in OSU's situation, as crooked as some programs are you need them around for college football to be exciting.  I'm not a fond believer of those paying for the misdeeds of pass players, coaches, and administration.  The silver lining though, if all of Shapiro's evidence is true, the U won't be the only one hurting.  Several other players are mentioned, that are now playing for other schools as well as position coaches that were at the U that are now at other schools (Stoutland, Alabama; Hurtt, Louisville;).

Wonder who'll be in the spot light next month?

Since: Jul 15, 2009
Posted on: August 16, 2011 9:11 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

who is chip patterson??  where are the "dopes"(dodd & doyel)???  are they gonna spew the same venom that they gave the Ohio State or are they gonna look the other way???  come on where is da hate!!!!!!!!

Since: Jul 27, 2009
Posted on: August 16, 2011 9:10 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

Hope Coach L is ok and his end is clear...

Since: Oct 12, 2010
Posted on: August 16, 2011 9:05 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

Also, all decisions handed down by Paul Dee as head of NCAA COI should be rescinded. 

Since: Nov 18, 2006
Posted on: August 16, 2011 9:04 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

We, the self-righteous, will bash the U for the next few weeks, as we have bashed USC, OSU, UNC, UT Oregon and any other school who doesn't happen to be ours. We will continue to denegrate these schools until ours gets caught. Then we solemnly swear to blame the media and make excuses for the reprehensible behavior of our team. And then we will criticize the other self-righteous ones who blaspheme our schools. This cycle will continue until all of the schools get caught. And trust us, they WILL get caught because it is a universal problem.

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: August 16, 2011 8:52 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

From a Buckeye fan to all the Canes fans...don't get all bent out of shape. Yea, it looks bad...real bad, but if the last 6 months have taugh me anything, it's not to buy a f**king word the media says. Wait it out, wait for the NCAA to investigate and see if they even formally charge you guys. I'm not so ignorant that I don't think stuff goes on behind the scenes in CFB, but that's a story straight out of Hollywood. Plus, how depndable is their source? A guy in prison for a PONZI scheme? I hope it works out for you Canes fans, I really do...the media will be relentless in calling for your heads because they think they matter.

Since: Sep 10, 2008
Posted on: August 16, 2011 8:51 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

p;  CAN YOU SAY DEATH PENALTY ???????????????????????

Since: Oct 11, 2009
Posted on: August 16, 2011 8:50 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

Hey Willis McGahee!  Do you know the definition of hypocrisy?  Wasn't it you that was screaming Miami deserved the "2002 National Championship Ring" because Ohio State cheated?  Selling memorabilia for Tats seems trivial compared to millions spent on on Booze, Drugs, and Hookers.  Too bad I don't have this option with Miami in my NCAA 12 game!

Since: Oct 12, 2010
Posted on: August 16, 2011 8:49 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

Paul Dee was Athletic Director at University of Miami from 1993-2008.  He was head of the NCAA COI that handed down the penalty to USC, presumbaly as a cover for the scam that he ran at Miami.  It would have worked if Shapiro did not get arrested.

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