After news broke yesterday that the NCAA would question the University of Miami about gifting allegations made by convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shaprio, initial reports indicated the school didn't think the NCAA would be able to find enough evidence to prove anything. Well, now coach Al Golden, who was hired long after Shapiro's initial arrest, is telling the media that some players might have made mistakes.
Shapiro, who had the school's student athlete lounge named for him until his arrest, claims he gave gifts and services, such as the use of his private yacht, to more than a dozen former and current players. That would be a violation of NCAA rules, and his attorney for months has been trying to get the organization to investigate the claims. Some of the players involved are still with the team.
"We're not going to let this knock us backward," Golden told the media this morning before practice. "We have great kids on this team, to the extent that they may have made a mistake. OK, that's fine. But that's also part of growing up. What we have to teach them now is if something did occur, let's be honest and move forward."
Golden will not be contacted regarding the investigation, because the allegations precede his hiring.
"It's hard for me to stand up here and defend something that occurred three, four, five, six years ago," Golden continued.
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Meanwhile, the school has released an official statement:
When Nevin Shapiro made his allegations nearly a year ago, he and his attorneys refused to provide any facts to the University of Miami. The University notified the NCAA Enforcement officials of these allegations. We are fully cooperating with the NCAA and are conducting a joint investigation. The University of Miami takes these matters very seriously.
Shapiro has indicated before that he felt personally "hurt" because former players refused to pretend to be his friend after they turned pro. He also plans to write a tell-all book about the program.