'Straight Up Revenge' Drives University Of Miami Booster
It's a story that has sent "shockwaves through the world of college sports," as NPR's David Greene said earlier today on Morning Edition:
"A University of Miami booster, incarcerated for his role in a $930 million Ponzi scheme, has told Yahoo! Sports he provided thousands of impermissible benefits to at least 72 athletes from 2002 through 2010."
According to Yahoo!, in an 11-month long investigation it conducted about 100 hours of jailhouse interviews with Hurricanes booster Nevin Shapiro, examined 20,000 pages of his financial and business records, about 5,000 pages of cell phone records, more than 1,000 photos and interviewed nearly 100 other people in six states.
What emerged are claims and evidence from Shapiro that he gave players cash, threw parties for them, hooked them up with prostitutes, entertained them at night clubs and let them use his cars. Shapiro also claims that some Miami football and basketball coaches knew about what he was doing.
Basically, Yahoo! reporter Dan Wetzel told David this morning, "anything you could come up with, Nevan Shapiro [says] he did it."
And what has driven Shapiro to come forward?
"Straight up revenge," Wetzel said. After Shapiro's arrest, trial and conviction for the Ponzi scheme, almost all of the players and coaches he says he lavished with gifts, "stopped being his friend," said Wetzel. "To him, they should have stuck by him, not run from him."
As for the university, the Miami Herald writes today that football coach Al Golden "said he knew 'zero, absolutely nothing'' about Shapiro and his sordid history" before the Yahoo! story broke.
The Herald adds that:
"Golden, the only UM official who has spoken publicly about the investigation, was hired in December but apparently not told about Ponzi schemer Shapiro's publicized claims in The Miami Herald last August that former Hurricanes players committed major NCAA violations and that 'they might be great players, but they're certainly not great people.' "
And, according to the newspaper:
"UM released the following statement Tuesday: 'When Nevin Shapiro made his allegations nearly a year ago, he and his attorneys refused to provide any facts to [UM]. The University notified the NCAA Enforcement officials of these allegations. We are fully cooperating with the NCAA and are conducting a joint investigation. The University of Miami takes these matters very seriously.' "