Posted by Chip Patterson
As the dust begins to settle from the initial shock of the Yahoo! investigative report on Miami football, some of the details regarding Nevin Shapiro are beginning to rise to the surface. Among them, who had this well-connected booster involved in his wholesale grocery Ponzi scheme that landed him 20 years behind bars?
One of them is Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez.
Alvarez and his wife, Cynthia, reportedly lost $600,000 by investing in Shapiro's company. Their son, Chad, also claimed he lost $400,000 in the scheme. The Herald reports rumors that the Wisconsin AD may have been introduced to Shapiro by Miami president Donna Shalala, former president at UW.
That rumor was squashed by a Miami attorney who represents the bankruptcy trustee on the case. Court papers instead list one of Shapiro's investors in Naples as the connect between the booster and the Alvarez family. The athletic director released a statement on Thursday.
“Like dozens of others, I was introduced by a friend several years ago to an investment opportunity with Capital Investments USA, Inc., which was the company being run by Mr. Shapiro," Alvarez said. "I was introduced to Mr. Shapiro on one occasion over the years, but had no contact with him outside that one introduction. Eventually I became aware that the investment I had made was in jeopardy due to Mr. Shapiro’s legal troubles. At that point, I retained legal counsel in an effort to recoup the money I had invested. That process is still ongoing.”
As Shapiro's status rises with the NCAA investigation, chances are more well-known names will be attached to his $930 million scheme. As someone who spent a lot of money to get to college football's inside circle, he likely had numerous opportunities to run his con on powerful people with money to spend.