Originally written on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 2/23/13

The city of Miami is in no way allergic to controversy. Its sports teams attract it like no other. Whether it was former Marlins manager Ozzie Guillén saying inappropriate comments about Castro and Cuba. Or if it was the Heat holding a pep rally and famously counting up the rings LeBron planned to win. But one team seems to be above it all, the Hurricanes of Miami found themselves in hot water with the University in 2011. Whether legitimate or not, the University of Miami is always a treasure trove for NCAA investigations. After Yahoo! Sports reported on the Hurricanes receiving improper benefits from convicted ponzi-schemer Nevin Shapiro, the NCAA raced to Miami quicker than my mom when Chico’s has a sale. Granted, while some of the University of Miami athletic programs probably did some shady things with Shapiro, it does not seem it was as horrid as the way Yahoo! presented it. For example, the article listed several ways in which the Hurricanes had broken NCAA laws. These examples included yacht trips, money for strippers and prostitutes, a bounty program, and the kicker, money for an abortion. These severe claims caused many people to once again look at the University with distain like we were in the 80’s again. Jokes were rampant, many Canes fans were disgusted, and the football and basketball programs looked terrible. But that was 2011, when people thought the allegations were true and Shapiro was telling the truth. Now it is 2013, the NCAA has come into question over investigation tactics, Shapiro has since been sent to prison, and many players involved were dealt with. The Hurricanes have missed two bowl games, an ACC Championship appearance, and an undisclosed number of scholarships. And don’t look now, but UM President Donna Shalala is on the warpath. (President Shalala will now be affectionately referred to as “The Don” for the rest of this article.) Once Mark Emmert released the findings of an NCAA internal investigation that confessed behind the scenes dealings with Shapiro’s lawyer, and then sent the Notice of Allegations to Miami, the Don released an aggressive statement.  “The NCAA interviewed dozens of witnesses, including current and former Miami employees and student-athletes, and received thousands of requested documents and emails from the University. Yet despite our efforts to aid the investigation, the NCAA acknowledged on February 18, 2013 that it violated its own policies and procedures in an attempt to validate the allegations made by a convicted felon. Many of the allegations included in the Notice of Allegations remain unsubstantiated.” You tell ‘em Donna. The Don goes on to say that the investigation was handled poorly and many key players in the situation were left un-interviewed. Paul Dee, who was the Director of Athletics during the time of the said allegations, was never interviewed before he passed away. It simply does not make sense. To not interview the man who ran the athletics program during the Shapiro era is a blatant disregard for due process. How can you substantiate anything without first getting input from the man in charge? Personally, this is my favorite part of The Don’s first statement:  “Most of the sensationalized media accounts of Shapiro’s claims are found nowhere in the Notice of Allegations. Despite their efforts over two and a half years, the NCAA enforcement staff could not find evidence of prostitution, expensive cars for players, expensive dinners paid for by boosters, player bounty payments, rampant alcohol and drug use, or the alleged hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts given to student-athletes, as reported in the media. The fabricated story played well—the facts did not.”  If this holds to be true and the NCAA could not find any evidence of these events ever having transpired than the University of Miami is a victim of slander in my opinion. The Yahoo! Sports article listed several of these occurrences and claimed Shapiro was telling the truth and that they had corroborated accounts. (Does anyone else think the author of Yahoo!’s article was a Gators fan just trying to bring UM down?) But if they were all true how come the NCAA couldn’t find anything? They couldn’t find information when they were paying the guy’s lawyer to find out! The Yahoo! Sports article contained this statement when it was originally posted in 2011:  “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.”  Apparently Yahoo! Sports gained some investigation techniques from the NCAA. The University was the victim of countless editorials and articles stressing that they should shut down athletics. SI even had an article that tied back to its famous cover about Miami that stated, “Why the University of Miami Should Drop Football.” Don’t get me wrong, obviously there were rule violations at the University that were connected to Nevin Shapiro. But why did the American public and journalists trust the statements of a convicted ponzi-schemer and not anyone else? The man had the ability to make millionaires trust him to the point where he had amassed 930 million dollars! You think if the guy could get a rich investor to give him money he could talk an 18 year old kid into going to dinner? Of course he could! President Shalala also said that the NCAA deemed anything Shapiro said more than once as true. I repeat, anything the felon said more than once, they believed. I’m going to tell the NCAA something twice and see if they jump on board. “Mr. Emmert should resign. Mr. Emmert should resign.” Tuesday, February 19th, the day that will live in Hurricane Infamy. It was the day the Notice of Allegations letter was delivered which included the now dreaded claim of a “lack of institutional control.” Mr. Emmert, please explain to the nation how you can charge a University with a “lack of institutional control” when you yourself were overseeing a tainted investigation. Your VP of enforcement was fired because of his actions! You had to throw out “20 percent” of your material due to the NCAA’s backhanded deal with Shapiro’s lawyer. And you want to accuse Miami with a lack of control? You are the President of the NCAA, your VP of enforcement was fired, your investigation is tainted, and the University of Miami is ready to come at you with a pack of bloodthirsty lawyers. Mr. Emmert, with all due respect, I suggest you quit before the going gets tougher. Hurricanes fans, I suggest you get behind President Shalala because she is ready to go to the mat for her University. It seems Miami has a President with a backbone who is ready to rock Mr. Emmert like a hurricane. -Reynolds

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