Ex-Miami Hurricanes Booster Details Gifts to Athletes

Ex-Miami Hurricanes Booster Details Gifts to Athletes

The NCAA is investigating what could be numerous major violations.

Published August 17, 2011

 

Disgruntled and jailed booster Nevin Shapiro is telling his story to the NCAA and every media outlet that will pay him a visit in federal penitentiary. Shapiro, who is imprisoned for his part in a $930 million Ponzi scheme, sat down with Yahoo!Sports and revealed that from 2002 through 2010 he showered Miami student athletes with numerous impermissible gifts and benefits. He was also a part owner in a sports agency called Axcess, which signed former Hurricane first round picks Vince Wilfork and Jon Beason.

 

This was happening while Shapiro was a welcome booster to the Miami athletic department. Shapiro gave so much that a section of the school’s athletic facilities are named after him.

 

The NCAA has started its investigation into the Miami athletic department and it appears several major violations could have been committed, which would rock the school’s athletic programs, particularly football.

 

Either the school didn’t know or turned a blind eye to Shapiro’s relationship with the student athletes. He reportedly gave the players money, jewelry and gifts, entertaining them at parties at his multi-million dollar homes and yacht while also exposing them to VIP treatment at Miami night clubs.There were other benefits provided, similar to the actions that led to rapper Luther Campbell being banned from interacting with Miami players in the 1990s.

 

“Here’s the thing: Luther Campbell was the first uncle who took care of players before I got going,” Shapiro told Yahoo! Sports. “His role was diminished by the NCAA and the school, and someone needed to pick up that mantle. That someone was me. He was ‘Uncle Luke’, and I became ‘Little Luke.’

 

“I became a booster in late 2001, and by early 2002, I was giving kids gifts. From the start, I wasn’t really challenged. And once I got going, it just got bigger and bigger. I just did what I wanted and didn’t pay much mind toward the potential repercussions.”

 

In the past, Shapiro resisted discussing his role with the Miami athletes, but now he admits he is talking because he has an ax to grind. Shapiro is upset that many of the former student athletes he once helped have turned their backs on him now that he is imprisoned for 20 years and in need of financial help.

 

“Some of those players — a lot of those players — we used to say we were a family,” Shapiro told Yahoo! Sports. “Well, who do you go to for help when you need it? You go to your family. Why the hell wouldn’t I go to them?”

 

Contact Terrance Harris at terrancefharris@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @Terranceharris

 

(Photo: Eliot Schechter/Allsport/GettyImages)

Written by Terrance Harris

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