Nevin Shaprio— a convicted Ponzi schemer and ex-UM booster who is now in jail for close to 20 years— has been crowing about lavish illegal gifts that he gave to numerous Canes football players for just about a year now. The story first broke when Shapiro— who is now in jail for defrauding investors out of, ahem, $930 MILLION— said that he was going to write an explosive tell-all book detailing his dealings with Miami's football program in the hopes that it would help him generate some of the, ahem, $82.7 million that he has been ordered to pay in restitution. Much like deciding to steal close to a billion dollars in the first place, the idea that a tell-all book about NCAA violations by the Miami football program would help in any meaningful way to pay back $82.7 million is a stupid one. Yet, here we are anyway. And this is what we know...
Nothing really, at least at the moment. We know that NCAA investigators are in Coral Gables talking with UM's compliance department, and potentially with some current players. Other than that, Nevin's allegations are still largely very vague. According to his attorney, as told to the Herald's Barry Jackson, the gifts from Shapiro include, "giving suits, giving jewelry, paying for entertainment, letting them use his boat twice a week," and presumably other things of that nature. Nevin also claims that he has incriminating evidence— photos, receipts, etc— though that part of the investigation is still further down the line. We also still don't know the exact timeframe of when said gifts were given out, though they presumably ended when he was arrested in April 2010, if not before then. The NCAA has a four-year statute of limitations on illegal benefits, which means that only illegal activities that occurred between
20072008-2010 are relevant to the NCAA as far as penalties are concerned.
This presents a potentially unique situation for the NCAA. Shapiro is, as far as we know, a lone wolf that hasn't had any contact with the program for at least a whole year, and more than that, Miami's current head coach, assistant coaches (save Michael Barrow and strength coach Andreu Swaysey) and athletic director would bear no responsibility for any of Shapiro's dealings with the program since all of them were hired after he had already been jailed. Whether that would help Miami avoid the dreaded "lack of institutional control" charge obviously remains to be seen, but it potentially can't hurt.
The weight of these accusations rests on what Shapiro himself can prove, and he is, of course, someone that stole close to a billion dollars from his investors. Now, that doesn't mean that he is full of shit— in fact, he was rich enough and clearly close enough to the program that it would be willfully ignorant to think that illegal things of some nature didn't go on. This is, of course, major college football. Being a huge felonious liar also doesn't mean that the NCAA will disregard his word; for one, the accusations are apparently serious enough to warrant investigation, and as Yahoo's Dr. Saturday points out, the accuser in the USC/Reggie Bush case was also a convicted felon.
But, all of that also doesn't mean that Shapiro isn't a special devious, lying, jealous, scumbag asshole. For one, I repeat, he defrauded people out of CLOSE TO A BILLION DOLLARS. Secondly, he admittedly has an axe to grind with UM because they broke ties with him after his arrest, which means that he apparently forgot that he was convicted of a nearly billion dollar fraud. There's also this, from the Miami New Times:
The truth is, Shapiro has lived his whole life surrounded by fraud. His stepfather was convicted of stealing millions decades ago, and his longtime girlfriend and business partner was indicted this past summer for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars by bilking a beauty supply company. He's a violent, unstable liar who nearly blinded a SoBe club owner with a sucker punch in the mid-'90s and threatened his ex-employees.
So yes, the NCAA is dealing with a special kind of person here. Maybe that's bad for UM, or maybe it's good. Probably both. But the fact that Shapiro is a historic criminal will not prevent him or his attorney from trying to spin exactly who he is. Said his attorney to The Herald's Jackson:
"He was an honest booster," Perez said. "He gave them money because he cared about the school. His contributions were demonized. There was no ulterior motive. It’s gone unappreciated. Nevin is not a bad guy. A lot of Nevin’s good was tangled with poor judgments he had."
No, he was not an honest booster. His money was stolen from other people. He didn't give his contributions because he cared about the school, at least not completely. He expected things in return (namely access to UM players for his sports management firm)— that was his ulterior motive. He admits that he's now trying to bury UM because the players that he lavished with gifts eventually "turned their backs" on him. He expected things in return, because he is a mischievous and awful person. His gifts have gone unappreciated because they were funded through illegal means, and because while he was giving honest gifts to the university, he was also putting the program in massive danger by illegally giving things to individual players. And yes, Nevin Shaprio is a bad guy. He stole close to a billion dollars from a lot of honest people. He is without question a massive shithead.