The University of Miami NCAA Investigation Is a Witch Hunt
Uncle Luke, 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 gives his take on the latest developments in the NCAA probe of the Miami Hurricanes.
The NCAA is finally wrapping up its investigation into the University of Miami athletic department. Any day now, President Donna Shalala will receive a letter from the sanctioning body laying out the violations the school allegedly committed by allowing disgraced Hurricanes booster Nevin Shapiro to run rampant for close to a decade. It's time the NCAA ended its witch hunt against the U.
The NCAA unnecessarily dragged out the scandal solely based 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.
Shapiro is seething with revenge because he couldn't get any former U players to sign with his now defunct sports agency or save his ass when the feds busted him in 2010 for running a $930 million Ponzi scheme. So he made some pretty audacious claims about providing improper benefits to at least 70 University of Miami student athletes between 2001 and 2010. He allegedly paid for fancy dinners and nightclub soirees on South Beach and lap dances and liquor at local titty bars.
He even boasted that he 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 certainly hope they made sure to speak to every employee at all the strip clubs where Shapiro allegedly treated players.
Allen is upset he was forced to resign in 2011, shortly after Yahoo! Sports ran its bombshell expose about Shapiro lavishing players. During the past year, while being grilled by Shapiro's bankruptcy attorney and subsequently by NCAA investigators, Allen has alleged 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, the University of Miami does not deserve heavy sanctions. The school has self-imposed a bowl ban for two straight years while awaiting the NCAA's ruling. The Hurricanes passed up the chance to play for the ACC championship and a bid for an automatic spot in a BCS bowl game. Golden has also reduced the number of scholarships he's handing out.
What's more, all the players and coaches implicated by Shapiro have long left the U. When you consider the scandals that rocked Penn State University and Ohio State University during the same time period, the allegations against the Hurricanes are insignificant.
It's time the NCAA allows the U to close the book on Shapiro.
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