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 9, 2006
Posted on: August 16, 2011 7:32 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: May 5, 2010
Posted on: August 16, 2011 7:29 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

There is 2 type of college football programs. One's that get caught and the one's who dont! It seems every year there is a major program that gets hit with violations. I had a cousin that played at Northwestern. He told me that they couldnt even take a free hamburger at McDonalds. The NCAA is like slave owners. They want the money and the power. Why do you think they wont let kids leave until their JR. year. Basketball FR. year. In basketball all the top players would go pro. That would leave college basketball with tier 2 talent. Football the same thing. Schools give these kids scholarships and they leave 1 or 2 years later. But everyone will watch march madness. Everyone will watch BCS bowl games. So the slave owning NCAA will make money year in and year out. Look at the Ohio St. situation. The NCAA doesnt suspend the kids from a major bowl game but the 1st 5 games of the next season. But then this year tells OSU to return the money from the bowl game. What! Why didnt they suspend the players for the bowl game? No one would watch because OSU would be playing without their best players! Lets face it most of the players playing at big schools are not there for an education. They are there because they have to be. Its the only step they can make to go to the NBA or NFL. Look at baseball. Kids have a choice. Thats why you never hear of baseball NCAA violations. Its always football and basketball. The NCAA make's mega-millions off of football and the NCAA tourny. So what is Miami going to do? Forfeit 8 years of wins. Give back bowl money. Lose Scholarships. Same with N. Carolina. Look at USC! No scholarships for 3 years! Thats 3 major programs that have a huge following that fans wont watch because it dont mean nothing. Whats the real reason the NCAA wont have a playoff at the end of the year? MONEY! Thats why there is so many sorry bowl games. The NCAA doesnt want the kids to make money. They know the top athletes will leave college without a degree. But they also know that the top programs have huge followings and they get money from advertising. Its a joke!

Since: Feb 23, 2010
Posted on: August 16, 2011 7:28 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

Damn you, OSMS!

That is THE OSU!! Show some respect, inbred!

Since: Nov 9, 2006
Posted on: August 16, 2011 7:27 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

Death pent? Get the fuck out of here. Just jealous that for the most part we cheat and win. While most colleges cheat and still lose.

Since: Nov 9, 2006
Posted on: August 16, 2011 7:26 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

Every school has this going on. Come on who thinks there school or coach is not dirty just a little? I mean to think OSU really thought Tressel was a saint.

Since: Nov 18, 2008
Posted on: August 16, 2011 7:26 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

Really what a surprise U Miami caught cheating again? They need the death penalty for this program. They just came off penalties from cheating.

Since: Jun 15, 2011
Posted on: August 16, 2011 7:26 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

I live down here..Been a huge Canes fan my whole life and parked cars at the games when I was a young kid..Acccording to local radio everything right now is being blown out of proportion because we are "THE U". This guy has credit card statements and no real proof of anything. He has a bunch of reciepts with no names on them of steak houses and south beach spending sprees..Im not saying these players didnt accept gifts..but as of right now all it is is a bunch of receipts and pictures with no real proof. Golden is handling this exceptionally well. He is telling all the kids to be forthcoming and tell the truth in the matter. 

You think the NCAA wants to associate there name with a ponzi scheming scum bag? This should be interesting is all I can say. Also, they are saying this could be a year before we know anything in the way of punsishments or anthing.  

Since: Sep 21, 2008
Posted on: August 16, 2011 7:22 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

Criminal U at it's finest

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: August 16, 2011 7:21 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

To put it in context, its worse than the Tattoo issue at OSU (much more money involved it seems).

Wow, didn't the U play tOSU in a championship game earlier in the decade?  I wonder how many players from both teams were on the take?

Crime does seem to pay sometimes, at least in the short term.  Too bad the NCAA doesn't have the power to punish the ones that should be punished instead of the ones that follow after.  Maybe the US Government should get involved?  Heck, they throw their weight around when it comes to the BCS and all that.  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....)?

Since: Mar 22, 2010
Posted on: August 16, 2011 7:21 pm

Report: UM coaches, staff knew of violations

Want to read the whole story:

Wow, if even 10% is true.....

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