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Thursday, May 5, 2016

NCAA soap opera in Miami

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A convicted Ponzi schemer singing tales of illegal benefits from a prison cell... and like sands through an hourglass, these are the days of the NCAA.

By now you've heard about the sleazy former University of Miami booster Nevin Shapiro telling Yahoo! Sports about how much cash he gave players and how many parties he threw for members of the Miami Hurricanes football teams from 2002-2010.

Another tale of under-the-table dealings, only discovered years after the fact.

Are you telling me players at "The U" took a few grand from a guy who was handing it out? Of course they were. If this is shocking news, you haven't been paying attention.

This is just the most recent soap opera story for the powers-that-be in college football to sort through.

The biggest problem I have with this story is where it's coming from. A guy who's in federal prison for bilking investors out of upwards of $930 million in a Ponzi scheme is telling on the very people who provided his fairy tale world for eight years.

I don't doubt many of the claims but I do question Shapiro's motives. Why is he trying to bring down the program he, as it seemed, lived, breathed and broke the law for?

I believe it's fame.

Shapiro said he felt abandoned by the former players he partied with once he got caught up in his serious financial crimes. In actuality, Shapiro paid for those "friendships" and the majority of players named in the allegations aren't in college anymore. I don't buy that reasoning. Those players aren't going to face any punishment, but the Miami football program is now hanging in the balance.

Shapiro was a guy who had a lot of money and was living the 'good life' in South Beach. He wanted to be like rapper Luther Campbell, who hung around the Miami teams in the 1980s, and Shapiro lived out that dream. He led the team out of the tunnel wearing a Miami jersey, for crying out loud.

Now he's locked away for 20 years with a bunch of animals for terrible, life-ruining decisions. This story is a chance to get back in the limelight. Maybe get a screenplay written about his life. And because Shapiro is a convicted liar, cheat and morally bankrupt person, we know he doesn't care about bringing down a university football program that he was "part of" for nearly a decade.

Giving out thousands of dollars to college football players is of more importance than the hundreds of millions scammed away from "regular people" in his elaborate Ponzi scheme.

It's another unfortunate incident involving money in the billion-dollar college football industry. Unfortunately, I know these allegations and investigations will never cease because every school that's ever won anything has this type of thing going on to some degree.

My only hope is some change can come to a broken system after these repeated indiscretions. Don't kill Miami's program, a storied and legendary program, because of the messed up system they operate in. And certainly not just because some guy trying to be Bernie Madoff spilled the beans to a website.

Clean up the bowl system, the revenue and television agreements, and the general hypocrisy that the NCAA has floundered in for so long before crushing programs with extreme penalties.

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Zach Jevne
Real Sports Talk
Zach joined the Daily Reporter staff as sports editor in March 2011. He is originally from Decorah, Iowa. He played baseball at University of Northern Iowa and studied multimedia journalism at Simpson College.