MIAMI, FL – For the past 25 years the “student athletes” at the University of Miami have had a sugar daddy around to help with just about anything they needed. In the late 80’s and 90’s 2 Live Crew’s Luther Campbell (aka Uncle Luke) was the man showing love to Michael Irvin and Cleveland Gary. More recently, a convicted Ponzi artist and transplanted Brooklyn midget, Nevin Shapiro (aka Lil Luke) was showering players with gifts. A little cash here, a nice meal there, a hooker party everywhere.
In all, 72 Miami football players from 2002 through 2010, including 25 future NFL draft picks and 13 first-round selections, received improper gifts from Shapiro. This is no surprise because the NCAA has been a joke for their entire existence. Schools can do whatever they want as long as they don’t get caught. Even if they do get caught nothing really substantial ever comes of it. Auburn, USC and Ohio State are just three of the more recent examples. What’s the big deal that USC had it’s national title tarnished for paying Reggie Bush? They made tons of money from the football program in the past decade as did the NCAA. The NCAA looks about as hard for potential violations by big time money making football programs as O.J. Simpson did for Nicole Brown’s killer.
It is almost impossible to compete for a national title without the help of boosters who are willing to pay kids to attend your school. The nature of some of the gifts are comical so I thought I would highlight a few for you.
Bounties – Shapiro paid what he termed as “bounties” to players. Some of these were traditional bounties where guys tried to knock out opposing players. Others were more or less incentives for on field performances. He even gave cash payouts to players who were penalized for excessive celebrations. I always thought the guys on Miami were selfish jerks for getting these penalties but it turns out they were just smart businessmen. Chalk one up for Miami’s School of Business on that one.
Wash Dry and Fold – The recipient of the most money of all the players listed was Vince Wolfork. Shapiro’s agency Axcess Sports made a $50,000 lump sum payment to Wilfork during his junior season. Vince also received many other gifts including a washer and dryer, which he presumably asked for because he was told it would be a good idea to launder his dirty money.
TDs or STDs – Thirty-nine current or former Hurricane players or recruits were provided prostitutes by Shapiro. In 2003 he used some of his Ponzi money to purchase a $1.6 million yacht. The U Boat became the place where Shapiro would hold his prostitute parties. Pouncing on it’s rivals misfortune, Florida State University released a statement claiming it’s boosters never had to provide hookers to their prospective recruits because most of the girls at FSU are whores anyway.
Love and Marriage – Not everything Shapiro did was sleazy. He bought Devin Hester a $3,000 engagement ring so he could propose to his girlfriend. On the other hand, he paid for an abortion for a stripper who was impregnated by one of the U’s football players. Let’s call it a push and leave it at that.
Stay tuned tomorrow for the Angry Double-U.