The Miami Scandal: Eleven

A few months back, Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Robinson said that they had a “10 out of 10” scandal story, while the Tressel situation only garned a middle rating. Well, it’s here, and it’s an eleven:

In 100 hours of jailhouse interviews during Yahoo! Sports’ 11-month investigation, Hurricanes booster Nevin Shapiro described a sustained, eight-year run of rampant NCAA rule-breaking, some of it with the knowledge or direct participation of at least seven coaches from the Miami football and basketball programs. 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.

The entire breakdown is unreal, as are the individualized player pages detailing the involvement of specific current and former players and recruits. Go and read it. (Though the Worldwide Leader seems a little slow on the take . . . .)

My questions are these: How do you stop this kind of thing, with some renegade booster running his own personal red light district? And for high school coaches, do you educate your players to try to avoid this kind of thing, both on recruiting trips and as players? Can you? (Note that the page for Orson Charles says it was his high school coach that took him to meet Nevin Shapiro.)

And, finally, with all the fear about paying stipends to player or criticisms of amateur athletics in general, stories like this make me wonder if it’s all beside the point: In time, amateur collegiate athletics may simply collapse under its own weight.

  • Stunner

    This is the most unbelievable story I’ve ever seen. They should shut down Miami — the football program and the dam university.

  • Anonymous

    if its all about incentives, then unless a school receives an SMU sentence, does it really benefit a program from spending inordinate amount of resources from stopping something like this?

    Unrelated, but paying Nick Saban $5m / season was ridiculous at the time, but $5M / season is a pittance if you consider how much of a payoff (now and later) that National Championship was.

    Point being – its easier to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission

  • Anonymous

    I’m trying to imagine being a recruit and comparing South Beach with prostitutes, parties, and yachts against some dreary midwest campus visit……….wow

  • I hate the defeatist tone of posts like this, because in a way it serves to absolve the offenders. “How do STOP something like this?” as if it’s impossible or even especially difficult, when numerous coaches during this scandal-ridden era have come out to say that compliance issues are actually relatively easy to teach one’s team about, monitor carefully, and punish/report immediately – IF the university/program actually cares to do so. I think the “Oh it’s everywhere, let’s just call the whole thing off and start over” type posts are the same bad attitude. Notre Dame is currently recruiting, and has been recruiting since Weis got in, among the best in the country. They are recruiting coast to coast, in the southeast, northeast, eastern shore, cali, hawaii, texas, everywhere. They’re getting five star players on occasion, players wanted badly by less-compliant schools. I would be SHOCKED if ND is paying any of these athletes, if there is any booster, rogue or otherwise, paying them or giving them gifts, or any other such compliance issues. So – how are they doing it?

    It’s not impossible to recruit well without cheating. You just have to work hard, be good at your job, be at a good university, be able to coach/win, and be part of a program that actively teaches its student-athletes about compliance issues, and monitors them. But maybe the key word there is “student-athletes”. Maybe it’s all about the kind of kid you recruit. You want to clean up NCAA? Have the well dry up for these kids who are really just thugs, who can’t read or write and have no desire to do so, who have no integrity, and/or who are the sort of kids who would actively participate in an illegal bidding war for their services. Don’t let them go to ANY D1 school. Collude to keep them out, or just enforce rules that probably already exist. Cause to me this is as much on the kids involved as on the institutions and the boosters. ND will never have this problem. Stanford, which is recruiting well, will never have this problem. Why not? Well it’s the respective characters of the institutions are half of it, but then the other half, caused by the first half, is the character of the kids these schools go after.

    Don’t shut down NCAA, or lower the rules for everyone to adjust to the lack of integrity of the scumbags. Shut down the scumbags. This includes the entire SEC, which has been conspicuously absent from this entire series of NCAA compliance issues, but which we know is full of cheats – in fact I can hardly blame these ACC schools, or Ohio State, for doing what they do – they probably feel, correctly, that they have to make up ground on a league that already has a huge demographic advantage, a huge media advantage, AND a huge “getting with away with it” advantage.

  • 4.0 Point Stance

    I was with you 100%  until the last paragraph. How can you start a post by saying “I hate the defeatist tone of posts like this, because in a way it serves
    to absolve the offenders” and end it with “I can hardly blame these ACC schools, or Ohio State, for doing what they do.”

  • Ragoney Shambroni

    Get off your high horse.  You have the IQ of a retarded mosquito if you think this doesn’t happen at Notre Dame.  Also, do you need us to remind you of how many ND football players have been arrested in the past decade?  I thought ND only recruited kids with great character?!?

  • nTm

    I’d rather they use this to further the shutdown of the whole sham. Tear it down and let’s start over. 

  • Aaron B.

    Yup, Weis and his recruiting was so awesome, as evident in his record after all of Willingham’s players were gone. Oh, I’m sorry, you’re saying they’ve done worse since then? My apologies.

  • Aaron B.

    whoops, reply fail

  • Anonymous

    don’t these recruiting scandals pretty much highlight what college football has now become about?
    you can’t keep your job if you don’t win, and you can’t win without talent.
    we can talk all day about scheme and coaching, but when its all said and done, we’d all sell our program’s soul for the next great blue chipper

  • Anonymous

    I think these sorts of scandals really show how hollow the idea of officially sanctioning paying players is. Because regardless of how much you pay college athletes under such a scheme, some (perhaps most) of them will still become involved in exactly this sort of corruption and there will always be boosters who are willing to fund it. NFL players who are paid millions of dollars accept all of the free stuff that these players accepted (without violating any rules, of course). A weekend on the yacht is a weekend on the yacht, regardless of how much of a stipend you get from the university.

    Billions of dollars are at stake in college football. Coaches want to keep earning millions. Universities want TV and bowl money. Boosters want their favorite team to win. Agents and would-be agents want to court future NFL draftees. And how do you get that money? By convincing young athletes to join the program (or if you’re an agent, sign with you). The idea that somehow outside money can be expunged from this system when it is literally everywhere is fantastical. 

    In the big revenue sports, massive corruption will always be with us.

  • Joseph Patterson

    I think that the Universities would clamp down on allowing these type of rouges around the team if  the NCAA would hit them where it hurts which is in their pocketbooks. Maybe start by banning teams on probation from TV appearances. Whatever happened to using TV bans as punishment?

  • Stan Brown

    First, it’s not amateur athletics.  It’s business with labor costs artificially constrained via antitrust violations.

    Trying to keep extra benefits out of college sports is as likely to work as trying to keep money out of politics.  As long as the govt has the power to handsomely reward or utterly destroy, people are going to try to influence the process.  As long as multi-million dollar budgets and jobs are going to be determined by the school choices of kids, people in danger of losing their jobs are going to try to influence the process.  It will always be thus.

    If boosters care enough about winning to donate hundreds of thousands to help add something new to a building, some will make the hundred dollar handshakes that actually may influence a stud recruit to join the program.  If people continue to pretend that a billion dollar business is amateur sport, they are going to continue to be disappointed.

  •  The context of the sentence is important. I’m saying I can hardly blame them for doing it WHEN THE SEC DOES IT AND GETS AWAY WITH IT. I’m not a defeatist, but I think not punishing what is almost certainly the worst LEAGUE of violators is  kind of sending the exact wrong message, especially when that league has huge demographic advantages on every other school other than USC or Texas. The point was that I want them all punished to the full extent of the law. Auburn football should also be shut down. Bama and LSU should receive stiff penalties. Grey-shirting should be legislated against. Etc etc. But the NCAA isn’t doing it. They’re dragging their feet on these schools and their SMU-like stuff and going after ACC schools that never win anything, and Ohio St and USC. Take the SEC down too, or what’s the point?


    That is the extent of Notre Dame’s modern NCAA infraction history, and I guarantee you that it will never happen again, has not happened since, and is not happening now. You should know a little about something before you speak. Or maybe you have information no one else does. What rumblings, since the Dunbar incident, have you heard involving ND players and gifts/money from boosters? Name names. Name sources. Precisely BECAUSE of that incident, which mortified the university, this is something that will never happen at ND again. You have the IQ of a fucking moron on the internet who talks out of his ass about things he doesn’t know a goddam thing about. Fuck you.

  •  The follow-up post to this should have been “reasoning fail”, not reply fail. How well a coach recruits has nothing to do with how well he coaches or how well his teams perform. Weis recruited well. Look at the class rankings. He brought in the #1 class in the country one year. The two years prior to that he brought in top 5/10 type classes, one of which included the #1 player in the class (Clausen). That he didn’t coach them up has nothing to do with his recruiting prowess.

    It’s amazing to me how many morons are willing to talk out of their asses whenever it involves Notre Dame. It doesn’t matter if they’re demonstrably incorrect, if they perceive that Notre Dame is getting any kind of praise or credit, they’ll jump into the fray to unleash uninformed, clueless, blind hatred. Weis DID recruit well. Notre Dame DOES run a clean program. Does that mean Weis was a good coach? No, he was awful. He squandered his recruits, and it’s on Brian Kelly to get a good year out of the senior class, which was the #1 recruiting class in the nation in 2008. Has Notre Dame always run a squeaky clean program? No, there were a couple issues under the human infraction machine Holtz and then the (more embarrassing than sinister) Kim Dunbar incident, which began under Holtz and continued under Davie. But it’s precisely DUE to that incident that ND is highly unlikely to ever allow such a thing to happen again.

    Those who can’t judge things objectively can’t judge them at all.

  • 4.0 Point Stance

    Arkansas lost the Sugar Bowl because *the* Ohio State University chose to play five players (starters!)  who it knew to be ineligible. But the SEC is the bad guy.

    Your “demographic advantage” argument makes even less sense. Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Illinois are all top ten states in population — and all bigger than any SEC school other than Florida.

    More and more Big Ten fans have been going off the rails about the SEC in the past few years, and it’s really tiresome. The SEC wins a couple MNCs and bowl games against Big Ten teams and they show themselves to be the sorest losers in the country. 

  • Jim

    After hearing about the scandal, I wanted to respond immediatly. I adopted a cooling off period and then started analyzing what had taken place. First impressions are almost always the best and after the cooling off I still believe in my first thoughts. Personally, I believe that all sports programs at the university should be eliminated. I mean all. Coaches and all the responsible personnal that are associated with any sport at the university should be released and all contracts should be nullified. These professional people cannot tell me that all actions in this scandal were on the QT. and they knew nothing about it. Look what happened at Georgia.  How about the REDSKIN at Washington with a college degree and cannot write. Miami should be banned from any sport for at least 10 years—clean house and start over. When money is paid to a student, as was mentioned, to ingest bodily harm to another player something is wrong with the system—-GREED – POWER – MONEY- this will do it every time. Its a shame that something like this takes place in our education system. What do these students take with them when they leave college, after being associated with practices like this??? I commend the sports writer for his undercover work and exposing the dirty practices at this university. Hopefully this is a wake-up call and more investigations should be in the future for all colleges.  Thanks for letting me respond.

  • duh9

    So how do you stop poor kids from accepting money?  You’re essentially asking 17 year old kids to behave properly all the time…..what planet are you from? Oh, and is Michael Floyd out of jail yet? The people to blame in this are the ADULTS who are quite simply corrupt human beings. I don’t care who you are, white, black, poor, Notre Dame, Standford, Miami – Offer a 17 year old kid a ride on a million dollar yacht with bikinis everywhere, and you’ll likely get several participants — And The U named a BUILDING after this guy…yet you think this is about thugs who can’t read and write? Wow. I agree with this article, very well said:

  • Wheilala1

    As a high school coach, it’s hard enough to educate our athletes about college and the NCAA Clearinghouse.  I believe the NCAA should offer free seminars for the coaches. However, I know this won’t happen.

  • el chupacabra

    Auburn football should be shut down? On what do you base this assertion? You can’t shut down a program based on hear say. Since last November, no program has been scrutinized to the level that Auburn’s has and yet there is still no evidence that we’ve done anything wrong. Every salacious rumor that has surfaced has amounted to bupkis.   Auburn played by the rules set forth. Cam was ruled ineligible, and reinstated by the NCAA. You may think the loophole that allowed this was BS, and that’s fine, but guess what. Tough shit, because those were the rules that all NCAA institutions agreed to play under.

  • Anonymous

    In spite of the many loud and confident comments here, this is a complicated problem.  You are dealing with young kids and, as in the case of Shapiro, professional con men.  Not an even match.  Hell, Shapiro took advantage of some pretty sophisticated adults in his financial Ponzi scheme — how much easier must it have been with teenagers?

    Moreover,any school can fall victim to something simular, whether it be Alabama, Notre Dame or Liberty University.  

    This problem goes far beyond Miami, and although it may never be completely solved, the NCAA needs to step in and do something beside making rules and waiting for them to be broken.  I’m not close enough to the inner workings to know the answer, but Wheilala1’s suggestion of seminars for HS coaches might be a start.