Editor's note: Last week we received dozens of comments about our blog posts following a Yahoo! Sports investigation alleging that University of Miami football players had illegally taken payouts from Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro. Here are a few of those comments:
Revenge of the nerd: The first thing I thought when I saw the pictures of Nevin Shapiro was that this little Napoleon just wanted to surround himself with these kids to be the cool guy he couldn't be on his own. If the kids took the money and the gifts, it's because most of them came out of the hood with nothing but their will and talent. Even if they aren't poor, most people, especially young college kids, will take a freebie on a meal or party any time. All the ill-gotten money in the world can't buy you real friends.
No free ride: Nevin Shapiro didn't F the U; the NCAA did. It's absolute BS you're not supposed to take a student athlete out for drinks or to a club or on your yacht. If I'm out drinking with students, I pick up the check. If I had a boat, I'd invite them out gratis too. When I was a student, hundreds of people probably bought me a drink at one point or another, even at school-organized events. While a student, I also went fishing (on Columbus Day) for free, drove a Ferrari, and banged like a screen door in a hurricane and never paid a cent. The NCAA is such a bunch of money-grubbing ba$tards that they shame students for accepting what most students get for free so that the NCAA can suck every last dollar out of the students' hard work.
Pigskin perks: The larger issue here is you have NCAA and BCS execs making stupid amounts of money off of the student athletes, while the students are merely getting an already-overpriced college education for free or at a discount. If I were one of these athletes, you're damn right I would take a little extra on the side. The business of college athletics is corrupt and needs to be dealt with by the federal government.
Unnecessary roughness: Persecute those who are guilty and move on. Make an example of those who are responsible for the misconduct to dissuade any future offenders. But taking it away from all of the innocent kids and the coaches (not to mention the fans) is overkill. UM president Donna Shalala needs to step up and kick some ass, and get that thug-mentality nonsense out of these kids. You're a celebrity when you play for the U. Your chances of making it to the NFL and being a professional are greater as a Cane than at any other NCAA program.
Strong defense: Shalala did not dismiss the scandal nor did she try to sweep it under the rug. Shapiro basically tried to intimidate the university with these allegations a year ago, and UM reported them to the NCAA when he made them. The university asked for his cooperation, and Shapiro refused to give them anything. Clearly he was waiting for his big media moment. Shalala and the athletic department took this issue head-on. They have fully cooperated with the NCAA. It really amazes me how people have taken this guy's story as pure gospel. He is, as Yahoo! wrote in a different article, a sociopath and pathological liar. Yep, Yahoo! called him that and then took his inflammatory claims against UM as credible fact. Amazing.
Monday-morning QB: How come nowhere in this article does it say that all the money that the university received from this man is being returned? Also, don't forget that Shapiro was using legit corporations as coverup, and at the time of the donations, there was no way for the university or anyone to know that this man was a crook. Sure, like they say, hindsight is 20/20, and now we all see clearly what he really was.
Dan Anthony Cruz
So what: I don't care about college football and think the pretense of players being untainted by money or influence when billions of dollars are at stake is a sham. That being said: Shalala should resign? Really? First of all, nowhere in the Yahoo! article is Shalala implicated. She's smiling (normally, not insanely) at a hefty check in the photo, just like any other person short of a billionaire would be. She is the president of a huge college, of which the football program is only one part. Get a grip.
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The article "Tow the Line" (August 18, Francisco Alvarado) did not imply or intend to imply that Beach Towing violated the law by distributing VIP parking decals. According to Beach Towing's attorney, the decals are for "the owners of vehicles who reside at certain condominiums in contrast to persons who are parked illegally." The attorney also accuses New Times of fraud and defamation. This newspaper has removed an image of the decal from its website and asks readers to refrain from reproducing it. We otherwise stand by this article but apologize to VIPs everywhere.