When I started writing about sports I had a goal to try and be biased and I plan on continuing to do that but as a sports fan I have to take a second to just vent. I’m a die hard Miami Hurricane fan and I am absolutely crushed by the Yahoo Sports report that came out today. A report came out today showing 72 hurricane athletes have been allegedly been receiving improper benefits from a booster. This Booster Nevin Shapiro has been convicted of operating a ponzi scheme and has been sentenced to 20 years in a fed pen for stealing money from thousands of hard working Americans. His reaction to getting caught is to throw the program he loves under the bus. Make no mistake he is a fan no different from you or I but he was rich and used his criminal means to allegedly give benefits to naive kids.
College sports are so screwed up, Universities generate billions of dollars off their student athletes and those athletes never see a dime. Don’t get me wrong as some one deeply ingrained in the financial side of college I know what a degree is worth but the amount of income that athletes generate alone is much more substantial. This year alone we have dealt with Uconn Basketball being placed on probation (then winning the championship two months later) the North Carolina debacle, Ohio state and Georgia tech also went thru scandals. This all comes on the heels of the USC Dynasty toppling at the end of the 09 season. Conferences have multi-million dollar per year TV contracts plus boosters, ticket sales, merchandise and the student athletes get none of it. I personally am torn on the subject of paying student athletes. On one hand the dollars that collegiate athletics generates shouldn’t be ignored, but how do you determine who gets what and if it did happen would that really stop people from skirting the rules, I highly doubt it.
For the 3 years Randy Shannon was at the helm we had thought Miami cut down on all the nonsense. No arrests no fights nor any public relations problems. The team has been mediocre and not played up to their potential and that is definitely on Shannon but at the same time he came in and implemented an attitude and a sense of responsibility that I had not seen since Butch Davis left to coach the Cleveland Browns or so we thought. I had a conversation with a NC alum after Butch got his walking papers, about how he placed the importance of discipline on the Miami program and how it’s crazy he got caught up in the scandal at NC. Shapiro’s stories start right after Butch left and pertain to cash, jewelry, strippers, prostitutes and extravagant parties thrown for hurricane players. Now as a member of the media I have no doubt that kids at every major college around the country receive benefits and there is nothing you or I can do about it. Kids are naïve, plain and simple when you come from nothing and someone wants to put a thousand dollars in your hand for being good at something they take it and don’t think about the consequences. It was Larry Coker and Randy Shannon’s jobs to teach players about compliance to the rules and it was athletic directors Paul Dee and Kirby Hoccutt’s job to make sure that compliance to the rules was met. If these allegations prove to be true they all failed miserably. The fact Hoccutt bolted for Texas Tech worries me; he must have seen this coming.Dee is just as bad, he was working on the NCAA committee on infractions which shows just how inept the NCAA actually is.
Receiving improper benefits is a rampant problem and when you have 85 players on scholarship, plus recruits, there is no way to keep track of these young adults at all times. This makes it so important that their school, coach and athletic departments provide them with the guidance and stability that they need, especially in a place like Miami. The NCAA needs to conduct a thorough investigation and take into account where/who the information is coming from. I do agree that the people involved with the program that are part of this should be punished. Rules are rules but for the sake of kids not involved the students the alumni and the fans the University of Miami should not given the Death Penalty similar to the SMU scandal Miami is a outstanding academic university the athletic department/football team should not be shut down because of the ramblings of a rouge booster with an axe to grind.
Miami has dealt with harsh penalties before, after the 95 Pell grant scandal Miami was banned from post season for 1 year and lost 31 scholarships over a three year period. They rebounded nicely and I always credited Davis for that. I see a lot of similarities here for coach Golden. The man walked in to a bad situation dealing with kids who have had their development stunted by Randy Shannon and OC Mark chuck it n fuck it Whipple. Now Golden has to deal with this, one thing I know is that I believe in what coach Golden is doing and I have faith that he will keep everyone focused for this season. If he stays and the NCAA penalizes the Canes he is the perfect man to get the Canes back to where they need to be, Winning titles and rings!!!!!!!!!