This has no doubt been the summer of scandal in college football and surprisingly the ACC has been at the forefront. Major programs like Ohio State and Oregon have been the center of the biggest penalties (Ohio State) and allegations (Oregon) among the top ranked programs but it's the ACC that has come in as the leader (or loser) this summer. Talk about a major upset! UNC and Georgia Tech took their lumps earlier this summer and now it's Miami that was just the recipient of the long rumored Yahoo Sports investigation. Let's not kid ourselves though, this isn't just happening in the ACC it's happening to some extent at a lot of campuses around the country, although admittedly not to the extent that it was at Miami.
Reading through all of the sordid details of the Charles Robinson investigation is captivating and eye opening. This was an 11-month investigation with 100 hours of jailhouse interviews with former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro. The article details eight years of violations and includes 72 players. And this isn't just a he said, she said case as Robinson gives specifics on financial documents and sites other sources that corroborate what Shapiro says.
You have to go to the Yahoo article and read the whole thing for yourself but here are a couple of pieces to let you see the flavor of what was going on in South Florida:
Shapiro said he violated NCAA rules with the knowledge or direct participation of at least six coaches – Clint Hurtt, Jeff Stoutland and Aubrey Hill on the football staff, and Frank Haith, Jake Morton and Jorge Fernandez on the basketball staff. Multiple sources told Yahoo! Sports Shapiro also violated NCAA rules with football assistant Joe Pannunzio, although the booster refused to answer any questions about that relationship. Shapiro also named assistant football equipment manager Sean Allen as someone who engaged in rulebreaking, and equipment managers Ralph Nogueras and Joey Corey as witnesses to some of his impropriety.
Shapiro named 39 Miami players or prospective recruits who he says received prostitution paid for by the booster. Due to the sensitivity of the claims, Yahoo! Sports has chosen not to reveal the names of the players Shapiro claims were involved. However, two players confirmed the booster paid for sexual favors for themselves and others during their careers with the Hurricanes.
The booster told Yahoo! Sports he had a number of individual payouts for “hit of the game” and “big plays.” He also put bounties on specific players, including Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow and a three-year standing bounty on Seminoles quarterback Chris Rix from 2002 to 2004, offering $5,000 to any player who knocked him out of a game.
In one instance, Shapiro described taking a player to the Pink Pony strip club and paying for a dancer to engage in sex with the athlete. In the ensuing weeks, Shapiro said the dancer called one of his security providers and informed him that the player had gotten her pregnant during the incident. Shapiro said he gave the dancer $500 to have an abortion performed, without notifying the player of the incident.
Wow! So what happens now? Obviously the NCAA gets involved with their research handed to them by Yahoo Sports and Charles Robinson on a silver platter. Many are saying Miami should get the death penalty but that's simply not going to happen in this day and age. Miami will be stung and stung hard and they will be made an example of and their program will likely be crippled for many years to come because of this. Scholarship losses, post-season bans, wins taken away, recruiting restrictions, maybe even some type of TV restrictions/ban and people in high positions will lose their jobs and have their reputations tarnished forever. It won't be SMU but it's going to be bad.
In the short term there are 12 current Miami players listed in this article including probable starters QB Jacory Harris, WR Travis Benjamin, DB Ray-Ray Armstrong, DB Vaughn Telemaque, LB Sean Spence, DT Marcus Fortson, DE Marcus Robinson, DE Olivier Vernon, and WR Aldarius Johnson. Miami without those players this year (depending on how the NCAA deals with this) is going to be crippled. There is also the curious case of Al Golden, who just recently left Temple to come be the Head Coach at Miami. You can bet he's on the phone with his agent and lawyer as we speak finding out his options depending on how hard the NCAA drops the hammer on his new school. I just don't know how long he can afford to stick with the Hurricanes and I would bet that he will be looking for a quick exit after the season. Miami will deservedly get hammered by the NCAA and this is yet another example of how Universities cannot keep turning a blind eye to what is going on around them. It's impossible to run an entirely clean program these days with all of the outside factors but you have to self-police. This story is far from over but the proverbial bomb has just been dropped on the University of Miami.