Immediate Reactions to Yahoo's Nevin Shapiro Story

***This post has already been updated***

Well then! This ought to be fun.

  • First thing to remember for Miami fans: Yahoo's investigative reporting staff is extremely talented, thorough and well respected. Their track record speaks for itself. Proceed with that in mind.
  • The NCAA's investigation is going to take a long time. We're not sure right now which, if any, information in Charles Robinson's story is new to the NCAA. Robinson and Yahoo's staff spoke to a lot of sources, we also don't know which of those sources have also spoken to the NCAA.
  • The first thing that Miami needs to do is find out the extent of Shapiro's involvement with players currently on the team. Here's the list of current players that according to Robinson had contact with Shapiro: Ray Ray Armstrong, Travis Benajmin, Dyron Dye, Marcus Forston, Jacory Harris, Aldarius Johnson, JoJo Nicolas, Adewale Ojomo, Marcus Robinson, Sean Spence, Vaughn Telemaque, and Olivier Vernon. Yahoo has yet to provide any specifics on any incidents involving these players, although Robinson does note in his story that a few of those players were "delivered" to Shapiro so he could make "recruiting pitches." That specific allegation could really entail anything, and Miami needs to get to the bottom of what exactly went on, so that it can make its own judgement on whether or not those players are eligible to play this season, if the NCAA doesn't do that first.
  • It seems as if the lavishness of Shapiro's gifts tailed off towards the end of the decade. My best guess here is that any involvement with current players was on the more innocuous side of things (think paid dinners) which means that they may get suspended in some fashion. The host of Ohio State players that traded memorabilia for tattoos, as well as Georgia's A.J. Green, who sold a jersey for money, were both suspended for about half of a season. In my estimation, that's what we'll be looking at with any current player.
  • Again, the scope of this story is still untold, as Yahoo is teasing further details. But it seems, as it pertains to any penalties from the NCAA, that a lot of the corroborating evidence beyond a reasonable doubt rests in the hands of eyewitness testimony. Photos and credit card statements leave lots of room for plausible deniability (i.e. photos of a player in a VIP room and credit card statements showing purchases from a club on that same night don't concretely prove that anything illegal went on), so the goal of the NCAA's investigation will be finding people that can eliminate that deniability. That will fall, most likely, on ex-players, especially ones with nothing to lose, such as Tyrone Moss, who is quoted in the story.
  • Miami will have to do everything it can to explain why it never bothered to look into Shapiro's dealings outside of over-the-table donations that he made to the university. This will obviously prove to be very difficult, but they'll need to do it anyway. In any event, the current administration (outside of President Donna Shalala), who have no ties to years when the allegations happened, will do everything they can to distance themselves from all of this. Whether that will have any effect is unknown.
  • The NCAA's four year statute of limitations has been bandied about quite a bit, but in Robinson's story he notes that the NCAA can expand its investigation beyond four years if, "information reveals that an individual tied to a university has engaged in 'a pattern of willful violations' over a sustained period beyond the previous four years." I know of no precedent for this rule, but if it was ever going to be cited, it would probably be now.
  • These allegations reach far out from Miami in a stunning fashion. 14 ex-players or coaches, all now currently at schools across the country, are implicated in the story. It will be very interesting to see which of the coaches are forced to resign.
  • We'll have more on this story, obviously, as it rolls out. And, well, we'll try and have as much fun as we can, given the circumstances.
  • UPDATES

    • Individual player pages are now live on Yahoo's site. As I predicted, most of the stuff involving current recruits are on the less sensational side of things. If the players cop to playing pool for cash at Shapiro's house they will get suspended, but probably not for the duration of the season.
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