Friday, August 19, 2011

Down Goes Miami: Part 4

This is a excerpt from a great column by Dan Wetzel about the Suits In Indianapolis and the hypocrisy of college sports.  Read it.

Miami Scandal is Symptom of NCAA Flaws
By Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports

…Know this about Nevin Shapiro: He rained down millions on Miami players during an eight-year spread, yet he didn’t come close to the levels of gifts and graft that former Fiesta Bowl CEO John Junker lavished on athletic directors, presidents and conference commissioners.

Shapiro took scores of players out on his $1.6 million yacht. It didn’t cost nearly as much as the Orange Bowl spent in 2010 to provide 40 athletic directors and four conference commissioners (plus spouses) with a four-day Caribbean cruise.

Included in that junket? Then-Miami athletic director Kirby Hocutt.

College athletics is about getting your palm greased. And nobody has its hand out like the already well-paid folks running the show.

If a bowl director is willing to pay off an AD so his sweetheart contract stays intact, hey, that’s business. If a player takes a fraction of the same thing, he’s suspended.

If that’s the deal, fine. Just don’t be so surprised that the players and boosters look at the administrators’ corruption and shrug off their own. Just stop thinking the student-athletes are too na├»ve to understand that everyone above them is being paid handsomely and will still beg and grab for every last quarter rolling down the street.

This isn’t 1955 anymore.

To read the rest of the story (highly recommended), click here

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hey, Good News: Retired UVA Coach To Receive Character Award

(Daily Progress Photo)
Virginia coach Debbie Ryan’s career has been marked by longevity, loyalty and success, and for that she has been chosen as this year's recipients for the Lapchick Character Award.

Hall of Famer Pete Carril of Princeton and Jim Phelan of Mount St. Mary's will also receive the award Nov. 17 at Madison Square Garden, it was announced Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011.

Ryan, a member of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, has been the head coach of the Virginia women's basketball team for 34 years, all but four years of the program's existence.  She also served as an assistant coach in the program for two years before becoming head coach.   She retired last spring.

Ryan's Virginia teams have compiled an overall record of 736-323, won 20 or more games 23 times and 30 or more twice. The Cavaliers participated in the NCAA Tournament 24 times under her direction and made three consecutive Final Four appearances from 1990-92.

Only eight other active Division I women's basketball coaches have reached the 700-win milestone.

T.A.H. Front Page News

A little self-promotion never hurt anybody and we called the Suits In Indianapolis (Formerly Kansas) to ask if we could do this while wearing a JMU polo shirt and no shoes.  They promised to get back to us in 72 hours.

Blue Devils Perfect(?) Guests In China

 Well...for the most part. Evidently...Coach K yells at the refs in every country. (Rumor has it the Chinese ref said:  "Sit down and shut up or I will go get my tank.")
Just a little more proof that UNC fans are everywhere...

Big (L)east Temporarily Bales Out Woeful ACC

(Reuters via N.Y. Post)
It hasn’t been fun to be the ACC’s public relations arm of late.  Coaches have been fired right and left while a hall of famer called it quits.  Scandals have rocked North Carolina, Georgia Tech and now Miami.

What next?

Enter, Georgetown to help turn the white hot negative spotlight off of the ACC and back on the Big (L)east.

According to the Washington Post, a benches-clearing melee erupted in the fourth quarter as Georgetown played the Bayi Rockets of the Chinese Basketball Association as part of their “goodwill” tour to China.

Duke, who to date has refrained from participating in a melee of any sorts, is also touring the Sleeping Giant in the name of “goodwill.”

The scuffle came one day after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden attended the Hoyas' game against the Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons.

(Reuters via N.Y. Post)
The game was unusually physical, with 28 fouls assessed to Georgetown and 11 to the Rockets, according to the report. When Georgetown guard Jason Clark was fouled hard by Rockets forward-center Hu Ke, the two got into a shoving match, and the bedlam began.

Head coach John Thompson III pulled his team off the court as fans threw plastic water bottles at his players.

Tensions were reportedly building throughout the contest. Earlier in the game, a Rockets player yelled at Thompson during a timeout, and later in the second half Georgetown forward Nate Lubick exchanged words with a Rockets player.

"Tonight two great team played a very competitive game that unfortunately ended after heated exchanges with both teams," Thompson said in a statement obtained by the Post. "We sincerely regret that this situation occurred."

Then he said, “North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Miami, Miami, Miami, so what’s your point?”

At the time of the fight, the game was tied at 64 with nine minutes remaining.

Georgetown was scheduled to go to Shanghai Friday, but it is unclear whether they will continue with the “goodwill” tour.

As bad as the photos are the video is even worse.
*Items in italics may not be true. 

Down Goes Miami: Sympathy For The Devil?

Oh why not go all "fire, ready, aim" and voice an opinion (albeit a limited one) about the Yahoo! Sports investigation of rouge booster Nevin Shapiro and the University of Miami.

No doubt, there is more to the story and some yet unrevealed facts are likely to make things worse not better, but...a few points to ponder.

Institutional control when it comes to boosters had always been tricky.  Shame on Miami if they maintained an “official” relationship with Shapiro once they knew that he was a) breaking NCAA rules and 2) a psycho.

That said, no matter how this plays out blood will be spilled and two guys who are certain to suffer for the sins of others are the two NEW head coaches of the Hurricanes’ major sports – Al Golden, football and Jim Larranaga, basketball.  Bot are new to Coral Gables for the 2010-11 seasons.

It’s not every day that we feel sorry for guys at or near the pinnacle of their careers making millions of dollars.  That said, it sucks to be Golden and Larranaga right now.

After 14 years at George Mason and a memorable run to the 2006 Final Four, Larranaga made the difficult decision to leave saying it had always been his dream to coach in the ACC.  

Now, it’s a nightmare.

GOLDEN (Joe Readle/Getty Images)
It would not seem to be hyperbole to describe new head football coach Al Golden as "rising star."

Over five seasons at Temple, Golden took the Owls to unprecedented heights. Before his arrival, TU had just two winning seasons since 1980 and had only won 22 percent of its games over the previous 30 years.

After taking over the Owls, who went 0-11 the season prior to his arrival, Golden led his team to a 17-5 record over the last 22 regular season games.

The 41-year-old Golden owns a 27-34 career record, which includes a 9-4 mark in 2009, and an 8-4 mark in 2010. He was able to lead the Owls to two winning seasons, which is exactly half of their total over the 26 years prior.

Now he has the Suits From Indianapolis (Formerly Kansas) camped out in his office and a whole different sort of hurricane with which to cope. 

Neither deserved the cards they have now been dealt.

Down Goes Miami: Part 3

Renegade Miami Football Booster Spells Out Illicit Benefits To Players

By Charles Robinson, Yahoo! Sports

A University of Miami booster, incarcerated for his role in a $930 million Ponzi scheme, has told Yahoo! Sports he provided thousands of impermissible benefits to at least 72 athletes from 2002 through 2010.

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.

…In an effort to substantiate the booster’s claims, Yahoo! Sports audited approximately 20,000 pages of financial and business records from his bankruptcy case, more than 5,000 pages of cell phone records, multiple interview summaries tied to his federal Ponzi case, and more than 1,000 photos. Nearly 100 interviews were also conducted with individuals living in six different states. In the process, documents, photos and 21 human sources – including nine former Miami players or recruits, and one former coach – corroborated multiple parts of Shapiro’s rule-breaking.

To read more, click here.  

Down Goes Miami: Collateral Damage Report

Former Hurricane QB Robert Marve currently remains eligible at Purdue where he transferred in 2009 after he was mentioned in a report that says he received extra benefits while playing for Miami.

Former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro, told Yahoo Sports that Marve was one of the 72 football players and other athletes he provided improper benefits between 2002 and 2010.

Purdue contacted the NCAA and concluded that there are no issues with Purdue or Marve’s status.

Marve left Miami after losing his starting job to Jacory Harris. He transferred to Purdue in May 2009, then sat out a year because of transfer rules. He entered 2010 as Purdue’s starter before suffering a season-ending ACL injury. He currently is behind Rob Henry on the depth chart.

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America)

Down Goes Maimi: Collateral Damage Report #2

Jail bird Nevin Shapiro has also told Yahoo Sports he violated NCAA rules with the knowledge or direct participation of at least six Hurricanes coaches, including now Missouri head coach Frank Haith, who was the basketball coach at Miami at the time.

Shapiro said his influence at the school spread to the men’s basketball program in 2007, when he paid $10,000 to help secure the commitment of recruit DeQuan Jones in a transaction set up by assistant coach Jake Morton and later acknowledged by Haith in a one-on-one conversation.

Missouri said Tuesday that it is aware of the report and that the NCAA has asked to speak with Haith, who hasn’t commented publicly about Shapiro’s allegations.

Haith was hired in early April, right about the same time the NCAA launched its investigation at Miami.
At the time, athletic director Mike Alden proclaimed Haith a character hire. It was unknown whether Haith or anyone at Missouri was aware of the NCAA investigation.

Haith’s first season with the Tigers will now begin under a cloud and he was already the subject of skepticism among the Tigers’ faithful after going 129-101 in seven seasons at Miami. Missouri tried to keep Anderson and publicly courted Matt Painter of Purdue before hiring Haith.

Haith has a five-year contract that will pay him a base salary of $1.5 million per season with an automatic one-year contract extension effective May 1, 2012. The contract includes language that states the school can terminate Haith because of “any behavior of the employee that brings him into public disrepute, contempt, scandal or ridicule or any behavior that is unfavorable to the reputation or moral or ethical standards of the University.”

The contract also states transgressions that occurred prior to being hired also can result in termination.

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)

Pictures Of The Day

Actors Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges, and John Goodman attend "The Big Lebowski" Blu-ray release at the Hammerstein Ballroom on August 16, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images North America)
Rexford Tullius of the United States completes in Men's 50m Backstroke Heat during Swimming Day Three of the 26th Summer Universiade at Universiade Center on August 16, 2011 in Shenzhen, China. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dear Mr. Snyder

Dear Mr. Snyder:

You’re killin’ us. AGAIN.

But how is that different from years past…hmmm, it isn’t.

More specifically, the Shenanigan-hans seem to be rapidly turning into a Snyderesque nightmare of their own.  If the Donovan McNabb fiasco and refusal to take any responsibility is the cake and the Albert Hayensworth debacle is the icing, then what the heck are we going to call the now soon-to-be festering John Beck SITUATION?  (We aren’t going to call it “The Situation” cause that is already the moniker for something RIDICULOUS and STUPID.)

Kudos to all for getting both McNabb and Hayensworth out of Ashburn prior to the AFC Cental champs rolling into town.

Kudos to the oft-maligned Rex Grossman for looking heroic in the preseason opener completing 19 of 26 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown and a QB rating of something like 4,000.

As gun shy as we weary Redskins fans are, that 16-7 win over the Steelers combined with Grossman’s accuracy and new running back Hightower’s slashing and punishing performance allowed just a tiny hint of optimism to creep into our MISERABLE little football lives.

Hey, even that crazy new-fangled 3-4 defense that can’t possibly work in the smashmouth NFC East (just KIDDING!) looked better. Last year it was London Fletcher, DeAngelo Hall, Brian Orakpo and eight guys named Mo…not so good.  But some shrewd offseason maneuvering seems to have filled some personnel needs well suited to the scheme.  That APPEARS to be well played. 

Perhaps the Shenanigan-hans simply can’t stand success?

Our approach is constant: It is more important to get what you want than it is to be right.

We aren’t sure the Shenanigan-hans believe in the OPPOSITE approach.

On Monday, we learn via the Washington Post’s Jason Reid that John Beck is going to be the starting quarterback – it’s his job to lose.

Let me say this for every single fan of the Washington Redskins:  Who the F**K is John Beck?

Wait, don’t say it – we’ll answer for you. According to Reid: Mike and Kyle were enamored of Beck during his college days at Brigham Young University. They continued to admire him from afar throughout his first three nondescript NFL seasons, during which he played in only five regular season games — none since 2007.

Now the Shenanigan-hans may be right. Lord knows they rang the bell on that McNabb deal, but the jury is still way out on Beck.

Yes, he has a NFLquarterback’s pedigree right?  Seriously, BYU cranks out NFL QBs like crazy. Just look at the past twenty years and you see names like Max Hall, Beck, Matt Berry, Bret Engeman, Brandon Doman, Charlie Peterson, Kevin Feterik, Steve Sarkisian, John Walsh and Ty Detmer.

Really? These guys aren’t even in the Mormon Football Hall of Fame not to mention the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, BYU produced Super Bowl winners Steve Young and Jim McMahon – both from the 1980’S.

Can’t wait until Friday’s game to see the pre-ordained star of the future SHINE (on you crazy diamond)!

We are all hoping the Shenanigan-hans are right. Otherwise, it’s going to be a long season. 

Beck hasn’t played since 2007 and he’s only played in five regular season games since entering the league four years ago.  Call us skeptical, but if he’s so good, why hasn’t some OTHER coach handed him the team and the ball? (Is it possible that the Shenanigan-hans are simply smarter than all of their contemporaries…? How cool would that BE?)

Just askin’?

(Seriously, we hope Beck is GREAT and he is the Skins’ QB for the next ten years, but it seems like the way thing are done in Ashburn are always WEIRD.)

To read Reid’s article, click here.

Your Loyal Fan

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


One for the history books – DH  Jim Thome of the Minnesota Twins hits his second home run of the game in the seventh inning and his 600th career home run making him only the eighth player in Major League Baseball history to achieve that milestone during a MLB game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on August 15, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
Zoo performer and erstwhile crazy person Theerapone Manolai smiles as he puts his head between the jaws of a crocodile during a performance for tourists at the Sriracha Tiger Zoo in Thailand.  Manolai makes $1,000 a month for his efforts.  (Photo by Sukree Sukplang/Reuters)
Jockey Andrea Mari (L) of the Giraffa parish races with his horse Fedora Saura to win the Palio De Sienna.  (Photo by Giampiero Sposito/Reuters)
David Wise of the United States competes in the Freeski Half Pipe Final during day five of the Winter Games NZ at Cardrona Alpine Resort on August 17, 2011 in Wanaka, New Zealand. (Photo by Camilla Stoddart/Getty Images)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Real Picture Of The Day

What? Me? Break an NCAA rule?  That's crazy talk.  We're going to China.

Last week Krzykr6ski said that he expected former players Grant Hill, Jay Williams, Nolan Smith and Kyrie Irving to join the team for part or all of the upcoming trip to China and Dubai, as will Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, whose son Austin is a freshman guard for the Blue Devils.

Duke left Sunday for a two-week tour that will include three games against Chinese teams and a fourth against the national team of the United Arab Emirates.

The Blue Devils won't be alone in the Far East. Georgetown also is touring China this summer, as is the Valparaiso women's team.
(Photo by Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer)

Today's T.A.H. Question: Who Do You Believe?

There is so much noise out there in the world, it’s getting harder and harder to edit out the crap and focus on what’s real.

For example, media outlets bored to tears and desperate to fill pages and hours and hours with something, became obsessed last week with the idea that Florida State and Clemson were moving to the SEC.  Such a move would be illogical for the Tigers, and though more likely for FSU which has only been in the ACC for twenty years, a longshot none the less for the Noles.

Both universities have denied any interest in moving, and it’s not yet clear if Texas A&M will jump from the Big 12 to the SEC and the Aggies are the ones that started the whole big media mess in the first place.

Now, there are legit reports that the Suits From Indianapolis (Formerly Kansas) are investigating Miami.  The investigation is a result of a punk South Florida ponzi scam artist named Nevin Shapiro.  Shapiro, sitting in jail for bilking investors out of millions like some kind of little league Bernie Madoff,  was described by the Miami New Times as “a hard-partying, tasteless, status-obsessed gambler with a lust for harems of girlfriends, famous friends, and luxury yachts.”

Sound credible so far?

So while he’s cooling his heels in the joint in New Jersey,  Shapiro, a rabid UM fan, is writing a book – “The Real U: 2001 to 2010. Inside the Eye of the Hurricane” – which will supposedly bring his once-beloved athletic program to its knees with information on more than 100 athletes who broke NCAA rules (allegedly). 

For what it’s worth to UNC scandal fans, Butch Davis left Miami in 2000.  Larry Coker coached the Canes from 2001 to 2006 followed by Randy Shannon.

Now, it’s not a reach to believe that a wanna-be thug scam artist who was obsessed with Miami sports made yachts and other gifts available to UM players.  In fact, we would label that file “likely.”  But at some point, perhaps the NCAA might consider the concept of “entrapment.”

We will keep you posted on both of these items as they move forward.

To read about this creep Shapiro…and he is a creep, click here to read the Miami New Times’ article from last December titled:  Nevin Shapiro: Miami's Caligula.

SI Snapshot: Pictures Of The Day

Several runners are chased by pissed off young bulls at they take part in a bull run near the village of Falces in the Navarra region of northern Spain.  (Photo by Jesus Diges/EPA)

Michael Jals, left, sends his opponent into the water as they take part in “Fischersterchen” a fisherman jousting tournament at Lake Staffelsee in Seehausen, Germany.  (Photo by Michael Rehi/Reuters)

Greg Potter from St. Joseph, Missouri drives a John Deere P-Pump tractor with a 466 cubic inch 3000 RPM engine during the 9500 lb Field Tractor class at the Missouri State Fair Truck and Tractor Pull. (Photo by David E. Klutho/SI)

Horses and jockeys race along the beach during the low tide in the southern Spanish town of San Lucar de Barrameda.  (Photo by Javier Diaz/Reuters)

Jennifer Kessy and April Ross of the U.S. take on Brazil’s Angela Viera and Lilane Maestrini during the final match of the VISA FIVB Beach Volleyball International at the Horse Guards Parade in London, England.  (Photo by Bob Martin, SI)
Mike Schlebach of South Africa surfs a giant wave at the offshore reef at Cape Town, South Africa.  (Photo by Nic Bothma/EPA)

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