Meet Nevin Shapiro, a man who is serving 20 years in a federal prison for running a 930 million dollar Ponzi scheme in Miami. Shapiro is also the man who is single handedly going to bring down the University of Miami athletic department. At the very least, he will be responsible for bringing the death penalty to the Hurricanes football program.
In what may be the biggest scandal to hit college football since the SMU investigation in the 80’s, Shapiro is the focal point in a list of infractions that trail all the way back to 2002. Up until he was charged with his Ponzi scheme in April of 2010, Shapiro has alleged that he has given a ton of money to several Miami athletes including such notables as Vince Wilfork, Andre Johnson, Devin Hester, Frank Gore, and Jon Beason. He gave them cash and jewelry, and threw them parties that came complete with booze and prostitutes. In one incident, he paid for an unnamed player’s girlfriend to have an abortion. The investigation, deemed by many in the NCAA as the biggest infractions case ever, will probably find that the U of M officials knew about Shapiro’s dealings with Hurricane athletes, and will most likely come down on the university like a ton of bricks. This is going to make the current OSU and North Carolina scandals seem infinitesimal in comparison.
Shapiro was a huge contributor to Miami’s athletic program; he had his own luxury box at the stadium. He had free access to the Miami press box, as well as the coaches in both the football and basketball programs. In fact, Shapiro claims that he has had interaction with no less than 7 Hurricane football and basketball coaches, taking them to dinner and strip clubs, and in the case of one coach, loaning him $5000 dollars. He hobnobbed with the highest officials in the U of M program, including university president Donna Shalala. He had open access to practices, flew on the team charter to away games, and even led the team onto the field at least twice before home games. Shapiro was as tied to the university as the ocean is tied to Miami Beach. To make things even worse, the millions that he has given to the university, were from the ill gotten gains from his near $1 billion dollar Ponzi scheme.
While some will claim that Shapiro is merely bitter because the university disassociated from him after his Ponzi scheme, Shapiro has the proof to back it up. He has provided the NCAA with bank records, financial statements, credit card receipts, e-mails, phone bills, as well as the names to witnesses that can back up his allegations. He may be pissed, but he was thorough, and as a result, the University of Miami is royally fucked.
What is going on at Miami just underscores a point that I’ve been making all along; big time college athletic programs cheat. I don’t care who it is: USC, Ohio State, Miami, Michigan, Florida, Auburn, Alabama, Oregon State, it doesn’t matter who they are, they all flaunt the NCAA rule book in order to get a leg up on the competition. Money fuels success, and success fuels money. It’s as simple as that. Just because a college athletic program has not been found guilty of any infractions to date doesn’t mean they comply, it just means they’re good at not getting caught. If you’re a fan of a “clean” program, don’t delude yourself, your team’s time under the microscope is coming. It’s not a question of if; it’s a question of when. College athletics are big business, and like every major corporation, where there’s big business, there’s big time greed and corruption. It’s the American Way; just ask our politicians and corporate leaders.
To quote former baseball player Oscar Gamble “They don’t think it be like it is, but it do.” In the case of college athletics, truer words were never spoken. Think about that, the next time you feel tempted to criticize a program for cheating. Your team may just be next.
- NCAA Questioning Miami Over Claims By Former Booster Nevin Shapiro, According To Report (sbnation.com)
- Ex-booster: Scandal will destroy U. Miami football (cbsnews.com)
- Luther Campbell: ‘Nevin Shapiro Can Kiss My Ass’ (sbnation.com)
- Jacking For Posts: Miami Hurricanes Booster Bought Players Jewelry and Abortions? (crunktastical.net)
- Luke Caught In Massive U of Miami Scandal (optimummusic1.com)
Ohio State starting QB Terrelle Pryor announced yesterday that he would not be returning this fall. I don’t think that many of us are surprised by this. Pryor is the centerpiece of the current NCAA investigation into several violations committed by both past and present players. Violations that former coach Jim Tressel tried to cover up last fall, which lead to his resignation on Memorial Day.
Ohio State has now officially lost the two faces of it’s football program; so where does this leave them? Actually, they’re not in that bad of shape. Pending the outcome of the NCAA investigation, the program can now move on, and move on they will.
The program Tressel left behind is a damned good one. They were always, and are still, in a position to reload rather than rebuild. Coach Luke Fickell was a well respected assistant, both by coaches and players. I have every confidence in the world that he’ll keep Ohio State Football at a high level. As for the QB position, they are set for another four years. Freshman Braxton Miller is regarded as the best high school QB in the country. I’m betting he starts in game one, and stays there until it’s time for him to go pro. The kid is special, and he’s a winner.
As for Pryor, I think his future is a little cloudy. He will turn pro, but he is not ready. He still needed that last year of college to develop. Furthermore, with the NFL lockout still unsettled, it may be a year before he can get his foot in the door. He may not even be highly sought after by NFL teams.
Although Pryor is a big game player with three wins over Michigan, and two BCS wins under his belt, Pryor’s talent has often taken a back seat to his behavior. He is a character risk to many NFL general managers. His skill set at the next level is also in question; many talent evaluators in the NFL feel that he is more suited to play wide receiver because he’s tall, and runs like a deer. He’s already being compared to wide outs such as Calvin Johnson or Plaxico Burress. Personally, I don’t think his ego will let him play anything other than quarterback. Unless he grows up in a hurry, he’s not going to get that chance.
I loved watching Pryor play as a Buckeye, but I’m glad he’s moving on. As much as I love the players, I love the program more. Pryor has become a distraction, as well as a cancer to the team. It’s time to move on to the new faces of the team: Coach Fickell and Braxton Miller.
Oh, and one more thing: Out of the top 25 football programs in the country, THE Ohio State was ranked #1 in Academic Progress Rate. Call them what you will, but the fact of the matter is that the Buckeyes kick ass in the class room as well as on the field.
Suck on that Michigan ;)
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- Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor Leaving School After NCAA Investigation (tipdrillzonline.wordpress.com)
- Terrelle Pryor Quits on OSU as Scandal Fallout Continues (blippitt.com)
- Can Terrelle Pryor Help the Pittsburgh Steelers? (football.rawsignal.com)
- Requiem For a Heavyweight: Jim Tressel Resigns. (tinfoilhatman45.wordpress.com)
- Terrelle Pryor’s OSU Career Comes to an End (elevenwarriors.com)
Wow, just wow.
After 10 years of being the face of Ohio State football, coach Jim Tressel resigned Monday amidst a mountain of controversy. Co-Defensive Coordinator Luke Fickell was named interim head coach for the 2011 season.
I honestly can’t say that I’m surprised. When Coach Tressel chose to cover up the fact that 5 of his players including Terrelle Pryor were exchanging memorabilia for tattoos and pocket money, he all but sealed his fate at Ohio State. It was just a matter of time before he would either be fired or forced to resign. However, knowing what was coming still didn’t soften the blow, nor did it ease the pain.
As Buckeye fans, Tressel spoiled me and my partner, as well as the rest of the rabid, loyal fans in Buckeye Nation. Under Tressel, we came to expect 3 three things. A win over Michigan, A Big Ten title, and a run at the National Championship. For a decade, Coach Tressel would deliver on all three.
Tressel’s cover up is indicative of what’s wrong with college football; it’s about winning and generating revenue. In many aspects, it’s not much different than the NFL. Ohio State is no different than any other major college program; it’s always about winning at all costs. I could easily see any of the other 120 major college coaches doing what Tressel did. I refuse to condemn the man for getting caught.
So where does Ohio State go from here? They are facing probation, as well as the possibility of having to forfeit their 2010 season including the Sugar Bowl, pending the results of the NCAA investigation. They are also facing the possibility of losing QB Terrelle Pryor for the entire season once the NCAA investigation into his activities are concluded. Interim coach Luke Fickell has no small task in front of him; whether or not he is up for the job of salvaging an already tarnished season is up to him. If he is up to the challenge, he can write his own ticket.
Here’s the thing: In Ohio State’s case, the program makes the coach, not the other way around. Tressel was not a household name when he was hired, nor were the names of Cooper,Bruce, or Hayes, the coaches who preceded him. Coach Fickell is a high energy, intelligent coach who steadily worked his way up the OSU rank and file. As a former 4 year starter for the Buckeyes, he gets it. He know what’s expected of him: Beat Michigan, win the Big Ten, compete for a national title. He will not get a pass for this season, in spite of the external challenges he is facing. Even if the Buckeyes land on probation, Fickell is expected to win if he is to remove the interim tag.
I want to finish with this: Thank you Coach Tressel for all you’ve done for Buckeye Nation. You will always have a place in my heart as the greatest OSU coach ever. You brought a lot of joy into our house, and you will always be remembered fondly. I hope you land another coaching gig soon; they will be lucky to have you.
And to Coach Fickell I offer congratulations and some advice. I can live with a rebuilding year this season considering what you’re facing, but you sure as hell better beat Michigan!
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- Ohio State Football: Terrelle Pryor to Supplemental Draft with Jim Tressel Gone? (bleacherreport.com)
- Jim Tressel has resigned from Ohio State (fanaticsportsandcards.com)
- Jim Tressel Resigns (thebostonsportslist.com)
- Jim Tressel Resigns Amid Multiple Ohio State Football Scandals, Luke Fickell Taking Over (sbnation.com)