Tag:Frank Haith
Posted on: August 17, 2011 4:48 pm
 

Donna Shalala issues statement on Shapiro report

Posted by Adam Jacobi 

Miami president Donna Shalala is not having a pleasant couple of days recently. Her school has been besieged by the Yahoo! Sports report of former booster (and convicted embezzler) Nevin Shapiro detailing the litany of NCAA violations committed with the football and basketball teams. Even Shapiro's attorney doesn't think Shalala knew about the violations as they were being committed, but the picture of Shalala grinning at a $50,000 check (of Ponzi-earned money, as it would turn out) presented to her and basketball coach Frank Haith at a fundraiser is now one of the most indelible images of the scandal.

Clearly, Shalala had to say something, and here is the statement her office issued Wednesday, in full.

August 17, 2011

To the University Community:

Since its founding more than 85 years ago, the University of Miami has stood for excellence in higher education in every endeavor, every degree, and every student. Our more than 15,000 students, on three campuses in 11 schools and colleges, and over 150,000 alumni expect our core values to remain steadfast and true in times of extraordinary achievement as well as those rare times when those values are called into question.

As a member of the University family, I am upset, disheartened, and saddened by the recent allegations leveled against some current and past student-athletes and members of our Athletic Department. Make no mistake—I regard these allegations with the utmost of seriousness and understand the concern of so many of you. We will vigorously pursue the truth, wherever that path may lead, and I have insisted upon complete, honest, and transparent cooperation with the NCAA from our staff and students. Our counsel is working jointly with the NCAA Enforcement Division in a thorough and meticulous investigation, which will require our patience.

I am in daily communication with our Board of Trustees, Executive Committee, Director of Athletics, and counsel, and will continue to work closely with the leaders of our University.

To our students, parents, faculty, alumni, and supporters—I encourage you to have patience as the process progresses; to have confidence in knowing that we are doing everything possible to discover the truth; to have faith in the many outstanding student-athletes and coaches who represent the University; and to have pride in what our University has accomplished and aspires to be. 

Posted on: August 17, 2011 3:03 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 3:39 pm
 

AUDIO: Shapiro attorney says Shannon, Coker knew

Posted by Adam Jacobi

One of the names most conspicuously absent from the Nevin Shapiro report produced by Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday was that of former Miami head coach Randy Shannon, whose career fell entirely within the timeframe of Shapiro's allegations. It made sense, on some level; Shannon's always been something of a "by the rules, at all costs" type of coach, and his discipline and integrity are generally thought of as above reproach. He's one of the good guys, as the story goes.

Slight problem: Nevin Shapiro's attorney Maria Elena Perez has other ideas about Shannon's role in the scandal. To that end, Perez was on "Armando and the Amigo," a radio program with Armando Salguero (Miami Herald columnist), Chris Perkins (CBSSports.com Dolphins RapidReporter), and Larry Milian (longtime Miami-area radio personality) on 640-AM WMEN in Miami-Fort Lauderdale.

For those unable or unwilling to listen to Ms. Perez's statement, here's what she told Salguero, Perkins, and Milian:

Perez: "Well, I wouldn't say that [Miami president] Donna Shalala knew that there was NCAA violations going on. She obviously knew that Nevin was a benefactor, someone that was giving money to the school, because there's a picture of her receiving a check at an event at Lucky Strike on the beach, it's photographed on the Yahoo! Sports article. So I don't think that she knew that there were NCAA violations, but I know that the coaches knew. And I know that--
Host: "Which coaches?"
Perez: "--the organization knew, and that's why they let him lead them out of the tunnel on a couple of occasions!"
Host: "Randy Shannon knew?" 
Perez: "Excuse me?"
Host: "Randy Shannon knew?"
Perez: "I believe, based on what my client has indicated, that Randy Shannon did know."
Host: "Larry Coker knew?"
Perez: "Um... I believe, based my client's representations, that Larry Coker did know."
Host: "And obviously, in the story, Frank Haith--"
Perez: "That is correct."
Host: "Frank Haith knew."
Perez: "That is correct."

One hopes for Shannon's sake that Perez's recollection of Shapiro's statements is incorrect, and given that we're talking about 100 hours of jailhouse testimony to Yahoo! Sports alone, that's not out of the realm of possibility. If she's right though, and if Shapiro is accurate that Shannon, Coker, and Haith all knew about the illegal activity, then Miami is in a world of NCAA trouble.

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

Report: Miami coaches knew of massive violations

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.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com