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The NCAA is finally wrapping up its investigation of the University of Miami athletic department. Any day now, UM president Donna Shalala will receive a letter laying out exactly how the school violated rules by allowing onetime Hurricanes booster Nevin Shapiro to run rampant for nearly a decade.
It's time the NCAA ended its witch hunt.
The association unnecessarily dragged out its investigation based solely on accusations made by a pair of witnesses with no credibility: Shapiro and his former flunky and ex-football team manager, Sean "Pee Wee" Allen.
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Shapiro is seething with rage because he couldn't persuade any former U players to take his side when the feds busted him in 2010 for running a $930 million Ponzi scheme. So he went public, claiming to have provided improper benefits to at least 70 University of Miami student athletes between 2001 and 2010. He allegedly paid for fancy dinners and nightclub soirees in South Beach as well as lap dances and liquor at local strip joints. He even boasted that he had covered an abortion for a stripper who had been impregnated by a former player.
During the two years NCAA investigators have been asking questions, I hope they made sure to speak with every employee at all the strip clubs where Shapiro allegedly treated players.
Allen is upset he was forced to resign, but he has said he recruited players shortly after Al Golden took over as head coach — a violation of collegiate athletics rules.
Even if the NCAA believes half the whoppers Shapiro and Allen have told, UM does not deserve heavy sanctions. The school has bowed out of playing in bowls for two straight years while awaiting the NCAA's ruling. The Hurricanes passed up the chance to play in bowl games and hand out scholarships.
What's more, all the players and coaches implicated by Shapiro left the U long ago. When you consider the scandals that rocked Penn State and Ohio State during the same time period, the allegations against the Hurricanes seem insignificant.
It's time the NCAA allowed the U to close the book on Shapiro.