Tuesday morning was the culmination of a serendipitous week for Miami football. Last Thursday, an elated Miami Hurricane team walked out of UNC’s Kenan Stadium with a 27-23 victory in primetime. UNC is still reeling from Butch Davis’ major infractions during his short tenure as Tar Heels head coach. That’s the same Butch Davis who gave booster Nevin Shapiro an all-access pass to the program while he was the Miami head coach. For 10 years, Shapiro supplied improper benefits to The U's student-athletes in the form of entertainment on his yacht, prostitutes, cash, jewelry and even an abortion.
The dirt sent him to Butner Low Federal Correction Facility, where Chapel Hill is fewer than 50 miles from Shapiro’s cell. And he's had plenty of time, since 2010, to stew. Since then, Shapiro's been sharpening his wooden bedpost into a piercing chiv, ready to gut the entire Miami program.
"The public is going to hate me worse in the next coming months," Shapiro wrote in numerous e-mails to the Miami Herald in late 2011 through early 2012. "It's going to be severe and catastrophic. My feelings are getting inflamed and I'm going to pop off pretty soon with regards to them and the NCAA. I'm coming for them both [UM and former players] and I'm going to be successful.
"I'm taking that program down to Chinatown and the former players and links to that program. Why? Because the U.S. government lined up 47 former players to testify against me in open court if I went to trial. That in itself is motivation to shove it up their collective [butts]," Shapiro added.
"UM is getting the death penalty or damn close to it."
Unfortunately, Shapiro isn't as adept at bringing down a dirty program as he is at building up million-dollar Ponzi schemes. The U got off easier than Zimmerman. And that plume of smoke in the distance is Penn State, UNC, and USC fans and students preparing to loot or riot in the streets. Looking more unethical than the LAPD after a 2.5 year investigation, here's the breakdown of Miami’s NCAA penalties:
- A five game suspension for former basketball coach Frank Haith.
- Three scholarships a year for three years have been sacrificed by the football program.
- Former assistant Jorge Fernandez is among the three former assistant coaches that was given a two-year show-cause penalty.
By comparison, after UNC issued a self-imposed one-year ban, and stripped itself of nine scholarships from 2012 to 2014, the NCAA increased it to 15, then tacked on a second bowl ban. Over in maximum security, USC has been hindered by the loss of 10 scholarships a year from 2011 to 2013 and the Penn State Madoff’s best hope is to tunnel through the Shawshank wall. Even though the NCAA reduced the Nittany Lions’ 10 scholarship a year penalty, there are still three years remaining on their four-year bowl ban and the university has only paid $12 million of its $60 million fine.
Miami got house arrest in a suburban mansion. It helped that they dealt with their violations in-house by banning themselves from consecutive bowl games and last season's ACC Championship Game. As a result, the NCAA slapped them on the wrist. Ironically, Shapiro lit a match underneath the wrong house. While the NCAA cited Miami's loss of "institutional control," it also exposed the NCAA's lack of control. Their investigation was a flawed one from the beginning, with an enforcement arm committing blunders at numerous points throughout their probe. Twenty percent of the evidence gathered by the NCAA was thrown out and jobs were lost. Investigators paid Shapiro's attorney in exchange for her questioning of NCAA targets during depositions for his bankruptcy case.
But Shapiro isn't the only one who beat down the program over the last two years. No longer can rival coaches talk recruits out of attending Coral Gables with talk of NCAA bowl ban scare tactics. But their Miami announcement couldn't have come at a better time. The Hurricanes are currently undefeated at 7-0 and ranked in the top-10 of the BCS, while Florida is floating face down in The Swamp.
Conversely, Shapiro will have to serve at least 17 years of a 20-year sentence and live with the reality that he was unable to follow through on his threat. And now, the NCAA will have its eye focused on The U and its recidivist mentality over the past three decades. Their next slip-up will be their third strike. But this time, Miami flew near the sun and escaped with a nice South Beach tan. Next time, they’ll get burned.