Kirby Hocutt: UM's real villain
Luther Campbell, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke wonders when the NCAA will drop the hammer on former University of Miami athletic director Kirby Hocutt.
Now that the NCAA has doled out punishment to eight University of Miami football players in the Nevin Shapiro scandal, college investigators need to focus their energy on Kirby Hocutt, the Texas Tech athletic director who bailed on the Hurricanes. Though he has denied involvement with the Ponzi schemer, Hocutt is the guy who gave Shapiro carte blanche to access the football and basketball programs.
Then-UM football coach Randy Shannon was trying to muscle out Shapiro, but Hocutt was rolling out the red carpet. He should have known better. Hocutt played football for Kansas State University in the '90s and got his first collegiate job in 1999 as associate athletic director at the University of Oklahoma. He left in 2005 to become the athletic director at Ohio University, and Miami hired him three years later to replace Paul Dee.
Hocutt was tasked with pleasing big-money donors such as Shapiro, who calls the athletic director his best pal. Shapiro even tried to persuade Hocutt to let him buy out Shannon's contract. And don't think for a minute Hocutt had nothing to do with naming the athletic lounge after Shapiro. The only way millionaire boosters got access to the university was when Hocutt allowed it.
So how can the NCAA punish the kids and not discipline the guy who essentially allowed Shapiro to operate with impunity?
Don't believe Hocutt's denials. He knew how far Shapiro's corruption reached into the UM athletic department. If anyone showed a lack of institutional control, it was Hocutt.
It's certainly convenient for him to say he left the U this past February so he could go back home to Texas, but Hocutt knew Shapiro wouldn't stay quiet. So he skipped out of town in the middle of the night like a triflin' husband tiptoeing out of his mistress's apartment.
Meanwhile, the University of Miami remains under investigation. Though the football program likely won't face the death penalty, the university will almost certainly lose out on scholarships and bowl appearances. Hocutt should not go unscathed in Nevingate. He must be held accountable. The NCAA should suspend him too.
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