Hurricane Nevin, Scandal and Ponzi Schemes

Money, yacht parties, VIP rooms, prostitutes. I first thought that the reporters had gotten a copy of Charlie Sheen’s bank statement, but these are allegations of benefits received by football players in the University of Miami football program from 2002 until 2010.

Over the last couple of seasons, as bad as it had looked for USC and Ohio State, both of those are misdemeanors relative to the rules genocide carried out within the Hurricane program.

Bounties being paid to players for good performances, money being given to an escort to pay for an abortion of the unborn child of a football player. Some of the darkest clouds to loom over Miami since Hurricane Andrew.

Nevin Shapiro is a felon serving 20 years for a Pyramid Scheme. Shapiro spent upwards of $2 million to provide benefits to players, committing untold violations of NCAA rules.

On Yahoo! Sports, the story broke today. It includes a list of the players to whom Shapiro says he provided benefits, and the specific benefits he provided them. The article also has numerous pictures of Shapiro and players in various social settings.

It is honestly the most in depth investigative sports article I’ve ever seen.

It’s also a very unfortunate story. As a fan of NCAA sports, it troubles me that boosters entice players and give them opportunities to break the rules and that some programs turn a blind eye. Every time that happens, college athletics lose some credibility as being legitimate competition. I would say that they also lose their credibility as being amateur, but many would argue that left long ago.

Ponzi Schemes

As I have already mentioned, Shapiro is a convicted felon who took part in a $930 million Ponzi Scheme.

I don’t understand why people do Ponzi Schemes. I don’t mean in a moral sense. I mean in a practical sense. To get people to trust you with millions of dollars of their own money would take a highly intelligent person who was savy and a good communicator.

Why not just use those skills to make honest money?

We hear of rules violations in the NCAA all of the time, but aside from the SMU football program of the 1980’s, we’ve never seen anything close to this.

Do most programs have issues with rules? Probably. Do most programs have issues to the same extent of Miami? No.

How do I know this? Because most of the big time college football programs are in small, middle of nowhere college towns where these types of behaviors would be noticed.

Miami is different. It’s a major city, on the ocean, with a club scene, where the college football program isn’t the most significant sports team in the city.
In the late 1980’s, the NCAA issued the “death penalty” to the SMU football program for major, systematic violations of rules. This is the first real evidence of anything to that extent which we have seen in over 20 years. To think that major violations go on all over the country, but that none of these programs have been caught is hard for me to believe.

Miami is going to get pounded for these violations. To what extent, I do not know. Everyone who loves NCAA athletics knows changes need to be made. I think a good first start is to have fines that are so great that they do not make it worth it for programs to allow cheating or to pretend to be aloof.