(Editor’s Note: The following is written by official Fun Police Member Bob Sacamano)
A recent year long investigation Yahoo Sports has brought to light that a booster for the University of Miami has been providing illegal and improper benefits to members of its football team from 2002 to 2010. This booster named Nevin Shapiro* said that he provided impermissible benefits to 72 of the university’s athletes between 2002 and 2010. Of these 72 players include major NFL stars such as Vince Wilfork, Sean Taylor, Willis McGahee, Devin Hester, Frank Gore, Jonathan Vilma, and Kellen Winslow Jr. At a cost that Shapiro estimates in the millions of dollars, he said his benefits to athletes included but were not limited to cash, prostitutes, entertainment in his multimillion-dollar homes and yacht, paid trips to high-end restaurants and nightclubs, jewelry, bounties for on-field play (including bounties for injuring opposing players), travel and, on one occasion, an abortion.
Other then abortion, does any of this surprise anyone? I mean, haven’t we heard this story 100s of times in the last 10 years. I feel like every time I turn on ESPN there is some new story about the NCAA investigating some program for some player getting illegal benefits.*** Aren’t we over this story? The top flight programs of the NCAA in football and basketball are dirty. Done. Can we move on now? Hell, even Duke Basketball with Coach K was just reported to be under a possible NCAA investigation.
At this point how is this news anymore? It is like reporting that the Sun rose in the East and set in the West today. You know what we should be reporting? When a kid makes it through his four years of college football and does not receive one improper benefit.***
Back to the story at hand. Miami has been under investigation before due to the improper benefits reaped upon its players from Uncle Luke of 2 Live Crew as far back as the 1980s. We have accepted that Miami had and has a dirty program. The 2001 Miami team is considered by some to be the greatest team in the history of college football. Look at this lineup.**** How did one team have 8 First Round Picks in the NFL Draft on it? This Nevin Shapiro only opened his mouth because he is in jail and no one has stood by him of the former players he used to support. When asked why Shapiro spoke up now, the Dan Wetzel, Yahoo reporter said “Straight up revenge,” Wetzel said. After Shapiro’s arrest, trial and conviction for the Ponzi scheme, almost all of the players and coaches he says he lavished with gifts, “stopped being his friend,” said Wetzel. “To him, they should have stuck by him, not run from him.”
I personally just don’t care anymore when it comes to these stories. These programs make millions of millions of dollars each year from tickets, merchandise, TV deals, etc. The players get a scholarship and nothing more. Should we pay the players? I believe so but can’t think of a system that would work. But as long as the NCAA doesn’t allow the student athletes to get paid there will continue to be these stories. So for the sake of me and having to keep hearing these, just pay the kids. They earned it. Hell make it retroactive for the former players that did not get anything back then. I know one guy that would find that great.
* Shapiro is currently serving a 20 year sentence in federal prison for being the ring leader in a $930 million Ponzi scheme. Seems the money he was giving out to the players was illegal on two counts.
** Terrelle Pryor, Reggie Bush, Cam Newton to name a few from the last year or so.
*** I’m available for ESPN to interview at this point. Seriously, not one improper benefit in four years of Division 1 football. I would have totally taken it too.