Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Down Goes Miami: Part 2

The key words are "institutional control." Now, granted, it's not easy to keep your institutional alligator arms around dozens of coaches and hundreds of athletes, but when you add wealthy, egotistical and fanatical boosters into the mix it gets extremely tricky.  Our take is you can't expect any given university to control the rouge booster, but you can expect the university to cut ties with said program killer when the lunacy come to light.

As we like to say: You can't hide crazy.
Why Miami Is In Trouble

By Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports

Nevin Shapiro says he was drunk, humiliated and belligerent.

It was Miami’s final home game ever at the Orange Bowl, Nov. 10, 2007. The halftime scoreboard read Virginia 31-0 (en route to a 48-0 embarrassment). Everything Shapiro held dear about the Hurricanes was being stomped on.

As a major booster to the program Shapiro had access to the Orange Bowl press box and that’s where he spotted David Reed, the school’s associate athletic director for compliance. Shapiro felt Reed had been implementing rules that were too stringent, trying to keep boosters and players apart.

To Shapiro, the results of Reed’s efforts were manifesting themselves on the field. A once-powerful program was a competitive disgrace.

“So I tried to kick his ass,” said Shapiro, who despite standing just 5-foot-5 was always willing to fight. “I was screaming at him, calling him a sissy over and over, at least five times. I shouted, ‘these guys are a bunch of (expletives) playing for a real (expletive) (head coach Randy Shannon) and, by the way, you’re a (expletive) too.’

“I had to be held back from hitting him. I wanted to punch him in the face.”

The scene was confirmed to Yahoo! Sports by a separate source who helped break up the situation. The University of Miami declined comment and didn’t make Reed available for an interview.

Shapiro never laid a hand on Reed but the wild, public scene is perhaps the most blatant example of a lack of institutional control ever seen in college athletics.It almost perfectly sums up the depths the Miami program sank, except, well, that wasn’t even rock bottom for the Hurricanes.

As bad as it was for a notorious booster to try to punch out the compliance director, worse is that the school allowed Shapiro to continue operating as he wished.

Shapiro said an athletic department official told him that after the confrontation Reed investigated Shapiro and discovered his troubling ties to athletes, coaches and his part ownership in a professional sports agency. 

Shapiro said he was never questioned by Miami though and never limited in his activities until April 2010, when he was charged with running a $930 million Ponzi scheme. He’s since pled guilty and is currently serving a 20-year term in federal prison.

Shapiro was so welcome in the Miami family that in 2008 he even threw a fundraiser for the basketball program at the trendy Lucky Strike Lanes bowling alley in South Beach. It was attended by no less than UM president Donna Shalala, the former Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Clinton White House.


The most difficult issue for Miami, the one that will cause the NCAA hammer to drop harder and swifter than any other is this: did school officials know, or should they have known, of Shapiro’s actions?

“Everybody knew,” said Shapiro, who tried to hide specific actions but overall wanted to be seen as a big-time player on the scene. “The whole town knew. I didn’t care who knew. With all that I was doing (illegally), do you think I cared about the NCAA? I thought I was invincible. My mentality with Miami was, ‘what are you going to do about it?’

“And you know what? They didn’t do anything.”

Not even after he tried to fight the compliance director.

To read the rest of the article, click here

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