Thursday, August 18, 2011

Money Can't Buy Me Love, or Wins

Dateline Miami.

Nevin Shapiro, a University of Miami booster, came forward this week alleging he paid thousands, and thousands, of dollars to Miami Hurricane jocks for the past eight years.  72 athletes are named as recipients of Shapiro's alleged largess.

What's not "alleged" is that Shapiro is squealing from the federal pen, where he is serving a 20-year sentence for running a billion dollar ponzi scheme.  He's got an ax to grind since all of his newly bought friends bailed on him when he was sent away. 

Shapiro says he paid cash to jocks, took them on his yacht, gave them NBA tickets and threw wild parties with women who weren't brownie scouts.

Yada yada yada. 

One of the athletes named is former Cane and current Chicago Bear Devin Hester, who when initally asked about Shapiro said he never met him, then when shown pictures of him and Shapiro frollicking around town clammed up faster than a frog in a bee hive.

The NCAA can't touch Hester, or any other athletes no longer in school.  But it's serious stuff, especially if coaches were in the know. 

It's not the first time Miami has been in the penalty box.  In the 80s Miami Hurricanes footballers were brash, dominant and well paid. 

They won three national champinships. 

Which is what struck me most about the Shapiro story. 

Boosters waving cash is here to stay, but the money tossed around in this scandal went to bad teams. The Canes were mediocre in the years Shapiro alleges he paid players, which means either he continued with bad investments or other schools were paying more. 

It's not the worlds oldest profession, but using money to buy influence is nothing new.  The roll call of busted schools this year alone is extensive:  Ohio State, USC, LSU, Georgia Tech. 

And probably Miami. 

I'm proposing yet another bowl game.  The Probation Bowl will pair the two ineligible teams with the highest year end rankings.  Pay per view of course, with the money going directly towards sports cars for the winners. 

Tickets are available, but only on street corners from men in dark shades and rain coats.

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