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Yahoo! Sports Investigation Uncovers Massive Scandal with Miami Hurricane Athletic Program

Joel Auerbach, Getty Images

Yahoo! Sports investigative reporter Charles Robinson dropped a massive bombshell on the world of college sports yesterday afternoon.

In an incredibly lengthy, detailed and thorough piece, Robinson recounts eight years of illegal payments and benefits given to Miami (FL) Hurricane football players, coaches and staffers from one man; former booster Nevin Shapiro.

In 100 hours of jailhouse interviews during Yahoo! Sports’ 11-month investigation, Hurricanes booster Nevin Shapiro described a sustained, eight-year run of rampant NCAA rule-breaking, some of it with the knowledge or direct participation of at least seven coaches from the Miami football and basketball programs. 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.

Over 70 Miami Hurricane football players who played between 2002-2010 have been implicated in the scandal by Shapiro.  Some of those players include current NFL players Andre Johnson, Devin Hester, Frank Gore and Vince Wilfork and current Miami Hurricane players, including QB Jacory Harris (pictured).

Shapiro is currently serving a 20-year federal prison sentence after pleading guilty to counts of securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud and money laundering.  Robinson recounts why Shapiro came clean about his involvement with Miami.

In 15 prison interviews with Yahoo! Sports and hundreds of telephone and email interactions, Shapiro laid out a multitude of reasons for blowing the whistle on his illicit booster activity. Chief is his feeling that after spending eight years forging what he thought were legitimate friendships with players, he was abandoned by many of the same Miami athletes he treated so well. He told Yahoo! Sports that following his incarceration, he asked multiple players for financial help – either with bail money, or assistance to individuals close to the booster. Shapiro admitted some of those inquiries included angry letters and phone calls to players whom he provided benefits.

Current Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt was the Athletic Director at Miami from February 2008 through March 2011.  Last night, Texas Tech released a statement on behalf of Hocutt concerning the Yahoo! Sports expose and current NCAA investigation, “Due to the ongoing investigation being conducted by the NCAA at the University of Miami (Fla.), it would be inappropriate for Kirby Hocutt to comment publicly at this time.”

Nevin Shapiro’s brazenness was also the subject of a tweet yesterday evening from a former Miami Hurricane play-by-play announcer. Marc Vandermeer, who served as the Hurricanes play-by-play voice before joining the NFL’s Houston Texans in 2002, recounted a story he heard about Shapiro.

@Texansvoice: Was told that Nevin Shapiro once seriously asked former Miami AD Kirby Hocutt if he could replace Randy Shannon as Canes coach #redflag

The NCAA and University of Miami officials are currently conducting an investigation and there is no timetable as to when the NCAA will make any public statements or rulings concerning the scandal.

Charles Robinson was interviewed by Yahoo! Sports Radio’s Travis Rodgers Tuesday afternoon and you can listen by clicking this link.

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