Ain’t this about a b****?
A former University of Miami booster, who is now sitting in jail behind his involvement in a $930 Million ponze scheme was upset that none of the school’s former players want anything to do with his criminal ways. So he decided to put the entire University of Miami football program on blast… which could lead to a permanent shut down of one of the country’s biggest college athletic teams.
Claiming he paid for nightclub outings, sex parties, cars and other gifts, former Miami Hurricanes booster and convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro has told Yahoo Sports he provided extra benefits to 72 of the university’s football players and other athletes between 2002 and 2010.
His claims involve several current football players and threaten to bring down a program with a legacy dotted by scandals – but none quite like this.
Yahoo Sports published its story Tuesday afternoon, hours after Miami coach Al Golden said he was certain that his team would “stay focused” amid an NCAA investigation into claims Shapiro first began making about a year ago.
The site said it spent 100 hours interviewing Shapiro over the span of 11 months and audited thousands of pages of financial and business records to examine his claims.
“I did it because I could,” Shapiro said of his spending. “And because nobody stepped in to stop me.”
Shapiro was sentenced in June to 20 years in prison for masterminding a $930 million Ponzi scheme, plus ordered to pay more than $82 million in restitution to investors.
“We’ll stay focused. I’m certain of that,” Golden said. “We’re disappointed but we’re not discouraged. And again, there’s going to be a life lesson here. We’re talking about allegations from a man that’s behind bars, now. If these do hold some truth, then we’ll deal with them. There’s no other way to do it.”
Shapiro said he gave money, cars, yacht trips, jewelry, televisions and other gifts to a list of players including Vince Wilfork, Jon Beason, Antrel Rolle, Devin Hester, Willis McGahee and the late Sean Taylor.
Shapiro also claimed he paid for restaurant meals and in one case, an abortion for a woman impregnated by a player. One former Miami player, running back Tyrone Moss, told Yahoo Sports he accepted $1,000 from Shapiro around the time he was entering college.
The Yahoo story was topped with a photograph of Shapiro with current Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. Shapiro and a second source said the photo was taken in Shapiro’s VIP section of South Beach’s Opium Garden nightclub in 2003. That was Winslow’s junior year.
“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.”
Shapiro has said multiple times in the past year, including in the Yahoo Sports story posted Tuesday, that he is angry with several of the players he claims to have helped when they were Hurricanes – only to be “abandoned” when he sought their help years later.
Miami officials began cooperating with NCAA investigators not long after Shapiro made claims about his involvement with players last year. University president Donna Shalala and athletic director Shawn Eichorst were questioned by the NCAA this week. The school reiterated Tuesday it takes the allegations seriously.
Here’s the major problem in all of this: if you follow college football, you know the University of Miami football team has been in this kind of trouble before. That means because of the NCAA’s “Death Penalty,” this could mean the end of University Of Miami Football for as much as four years.