University of Miami rocked by allegations of major NCAA violations
Months after Ohio State was brought down by allegations of NCAA violations, another one of college football's most successful teams is being rocked by accusations of impropriety. Yahoo! Sports reports that a former University of Miami booster has said he provided benefits to as many as 72 athletes at the school between 2002 and 2010.
Nevin Shapiro, who is currently serving a jail sentence for his role in a Ponzi scheme, told investigators that the rule breaking was done with the knowledge of some of the coaches, and involved providing players with everything from paid trips to restaurants, rides aboard his yacht, cash and prostitutes.
The news source conducted an extensive investigation that seems to back up Shapiro's claims. Reporters talked to at least nine former Miami athletes that verified numerous parts of the story. The history of violations involved a long list of top-tier NFL players including Vince Wilfork, Kellen Winslow, Devin Hester and Andre Johnson.
"I became a booster in late 2001, and by early 2002, I was giving kids gifts," Shapiro told investigators. "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."
As for Miami's response, ESPN.com reports that head coach Al Golden has maintained that until it is confirmed by the NCAA that they have broken any rules, no players will be suspended from the team. The NCAA has been investigating for at least five months, and Golden says that the program intends to cooperate fully throughout the process.
Miami opens its season on the road against the University of Maryland and is among the favorites to win the ACC.