The Miami Hurricanes have suspended 13 players, including QB Jacory Harris, after Yahoo! released the least shocking college football scandal of all time. Sorry Miami, suspending your loser QB and 12 other guys cited in the Yahoo! isn’t going to save you. People are talking about giving Miami Hurricanes the “Death Penalty”. Miami fans and fans of cheating everywhere are screaming that it’s not Miami’s fault that they have been brazenly cheating since 1983, but it’s really just College Football in general that’s broken. My official stance on this issue is that if anyone deserves the Death Penalty its Miami. You can’t have players getting bar tabs, cars, sex parties, abortions, yacht trips, and all kinds of swag paid for and live to tell about it. I hate the NCAA as much as the next guy. I’d like to give them the death penalty too, but there’s a difference between paying for a kid’s laundry and paying for head from a stripper. If Miami gets the Death Penalty they have nobody to blame but themselves.
So yeah, outwardly I am a Notre Dame, BigTen, Wing-T, Power-I kinda guy so…fuck Miami…but double secret full disclosure, I sneaky LOVE the Hurricanes and all of their swag. When Miami is “The U” they move the needle more than anybody. I don’t want Miami to go away and I don’t want them to become this clean-cut boring ass team that plays by the rules. I want the 2LiveCrew Miami ESPN’s 30 for 30 documented. Bad boys who love being bad. Kicking ass on Saturday afternoon, and getting ass on Saturday night.
Here is the truth though…there is no chance in hell that Miami gets the Death Penalty. There is just too much money on the line. The city of Miami is the 13th largest TV market in the country, and Florida has five other cities that rank in the top 65. The only other school to receive the Death Penalty was SMU back in 1987 and 1988. 25 years later they are still completely irrelevant. Killing Miami, and effectively closing themselves off from those markets would take money out of the NCAA’s wallet. There is nothing the NCAA loves more than money. So Miami’s existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to the NCAA, saves College Football. The NCAA doesn’t want to tell the truth because deep down in places they don’t talk about at parties, they want The U in the BCS, they NEED The U in the BCS.
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(Yahoo Sports)–KEARNY, N.J. – A University of Miami booster, incarcerated for his role in a $930 million Ponzi scheme, has told Yahoo! Sports he provided thousands of impermissible benefits to at least 72 athletes from 2002 through 2010. 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. Nevin Shapiro said this photo was taken during a basketball fundraiser in 2008, in which the booster donated $50,000 to the program. From left to right are men’s basketball coach Frank Haith, Shapiro and University of Miami president Donna Shalala. Shalala is holding Shapiro’s donation check, which the booster has said was entirely comprised of Ponzi funds. Also among the revelations were damning details of Shapiro’s co-ownership of a sports agency – Axcess Sports & Entertainment – for nearly his entire tenure as a Hurricanes booster. The same agency that signed two first-round picks from Miami, Vince Wilfork and Jon Beason, and recruited dozens of others while Shapiro was allegedly providing cash and benefits to players. In interviews with federal prosecutors, Shapiro said many of those same players were also being funneled cash and benefits by his partner at Axcess, then-NFL agent and current UFL commissioner Michael Huyghue. Shapiro said he also made payments on behalf of Axcess, including a $50,000 lump sum to Wilfork, as a recruiting tool for the agency.
Why is this such a huge story? The Miami Hurricanes have been corrupt as long as they have been a relevant football program. ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary series had an episode(clip above), “The U”, which documented all of the stuff players received in the 1980’s. The U pretty much invented the illegal benefits game, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that this story proves that they did it bigger than anybody. The real victim in this situation is going to be new Head Coach Al Golden. He just took over for Randy Shannon, a guy who received benefits as a player at Miami in the 1980’s and apparently as coach as well. Now Al Golden, who seems to be a stand-up guy is going to be fighting an uphill battle to revive the Miami Hurricanes program.
Before getting into the football side of this whole thing the booster who financed yacht trips, sex parties, VIP club parties, engagement rings, abortions, and just straight cash, needs to be called out. Nevin Shapiro has to be one of the scummiest people on the planet. In case you haven’t read the article, Shapiro is currently serving a 20 year sentence for running one of the largest ponzi schemes in US history. His ponzi fund totalled as much as $960 million. And according to Shapiro, who is a man…that’s 40, paid in excess of a million dollars to hang out with 18-22 year-old kids. Abercrombie&Fitch just can’t catch a break. On the same day news breaks that they are offering to pay “The Situation” from Jersey Shore to stop wearing their clothes, Nevin Shapiro is all over the internet rocking one of their graphic tee-shirts. If they were trying to shed their image as the official clothing line of douche bags, they might as well give up. Here is the thing that I will never quite understand about boosters in general…why do they do it? What are they getting out of it? I get it when agents pay these guys in hopes of having them sign with them once they turn pro, but boosters seemingly get nothing out of these arrangements. It’s like they really just want to have these athletes like them or need them. Its pathetic.
The guy who broke the story for Yahoo Sports, Charles Robinson, was on ESPN Radio 1000’s Waddle & Silvy show this morning and claimed that Devin Hester was “definitely in the top three” of total benefits received. This doesn’t surprise me one bit. Hester just looks the part of a typical Hurricane. Take a look at his car in the picture above. Does that look like the car of a guy who is going to say no to cash, yacht trips, and free hookers?
I am really interested to see what happens to The U now. Hurricanes football has a strong tradition of alumni in the NFL spending the offseason training in and around Miami football facilities. The NCAA has recently insisted in other cases that NFL players be banned from campus and university activities. The most famous example would be USC essentially getting a restraining order placed on Reggie Bush. If Miami can’t have alums around, I think it hurts their recruiting.
Charles Robinson reported that as many as 12 current Miami players received benefits from Nevin Shapiro…which means Miami is no doubt going on some kind of probation. How pissed are guys like Michael Irvin, Ray Lewis, and Ed Reed? If current players were receiving benefits from 2008 to 2010, what the hell was Shapiro paying for? Its called “pay for play”, not “pay for dogshit”. Miami was 7-6 in 2008, 9-4 in 2009, and 7-6 in 2010. I mean at least when Irvin, Lewis, Sapp, and Reed where getting that scrilla they were winning. This current group sucks and they were getting way more than the Miami Legends that built the program. Not fair.
This is way already way too long and too serious for what is the least surprising major controversy of the year. The current system is clearly broken because it seems like a story of this nature breaks every two weeks. I do not believe that college athletes should get paid. I look at college football as a sort of internship, detailed in this previous blog post.
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NCAA Football win totals are probably my favorite bets of the year…probably because they are the easiest. Hilton Sports Book in Vegas released their lines this past weekend and they are basically putting an ATM on my front lawn with these. Easy money. I also feel a lot smarter when I nail preseason picks. Six picks to chalk up here. Too bad you can’t parlay win totals.
Boise State – Win Total Line: 10.5 over(-135) Under(+115)
Normally I would stay away from a win total line higher than 10 for any team, but I love this line. Kellen Moore is back for a senior season and should be a Heisman Finalist. The Broncos have only three tough games on the schedule; @Georgia(Georgia Dome), Nevada, and TCU. Nevada and TCU both have to replace long time starters at quarterback and both of those games will be played on the blue turf. Playing Georgia in Atlanta will be a tough test, but Boise State historically plays very well against the big boys when given ample time to prepare. No way the Broncos lose 2 games on their slate provided Moore stays healthy. TAKING OVER(-135)
Virginia Tech– Win Total Line: 10 over(-160) under(+140)
Full disclosure, I was ready to take the under when I saw this line. 10 wins at -160 is not a very attractive line, but then I decided I would actually look at the Hokies’ schedule. What a cake walk. They don’t play Florida State and they get Miami, Clemson, Boston College, and UNC at home. They should be favored in all of those games. Even though I am not really buying to the hype surrounding VaTech’s new QB, its hard to find two losses on that schedule. Its either a win or a push at 10 wins. TAKING OVER(-160)
West Virginia– Win Total Line: 9.5 over(+150) under(-170)
If you had read this blog in the past couple of weeks it’s no secret that I LOVE West Virginia this year. Geno Smith and Dana Holgorsen are a match made in offense heaven. They are going to light up the BigEast this season. The test will come in their non-conference schedule. West Virginia takes on SEC power LSU and ACC up-and-comer Maryland. WVU probably splits those games and maybe drops a conference game somewhere along the line. I just don’t see this team losing three games. WVU is BCS bound. TAKING OVER(+150)
USC– Win Total Line: 7.5 over(-130) under(+110)
Look, I hate USC as much as the next guy, but there is absolutely NO chance that they lose 5 games this year. They are in year two of the Lane Kiffin era, have the best quarterback in the conference(maybe the country) not named Andrew Luck, and they don’t have nearly as many distractions this season. I only see three losses on the schedule at this point. @Notre Dame, @Oregon, and home against Stanford. There other “tough” conference tests come at home. I am simply not buying Utah and Arizona as real contenders in the Pac12. USC is still probably the most talented team in the conference and will rebound this year with a 9-3 record. TAKING OVER(-130)
Notre Dame– Win Total Line: 8.5 over(-130) under(+140)
There simply aren’t 4 losses on ND’s schedule this year. The Irish are returning almost all starters on both sides of the ball and will be much more comfortable in year 2 of Brian Kelly’s system. Michigan State historically gives the Irish fits, but the Spartans are coming to South Bend this year and ND will be looking to avenge last season’s heartbreaking OT loss. Notre Dame could very well be unbeaten heading into the season finale @Stanford. So if the Irish are 11-0…that means they aren’t losing 4 games. TAKING OVER(-160)
Miami(FLA)– Win Total Line: 8 over(-120) under(even)
Kudos to the Hurricanes for scheduling probably the toughest non-conference slate in the country…however that means that they will be fighting for bowl eligibility in their first season under coach Al Golden. Miami opens at Maryland on Sept 5th, before heading home to face Ohio State and Kansas State in consecutive weeks. The ‘Canes also play VaTech, Florida State, UNC, and USF on the road. A quarterback controversy, a new system and the schedule from hell will have Miami well under 8 wins. TAKING UNDER(even)
It’s finally here!!! Football gambling spreads. There is no better time to be a complete degenerate than during football season.
NFL Week 1 Locks of the Century:
Atlanta Falcons(pick) @ Chicago Bears(pick): BEARS
New England Patriots(-4) @ Miami Dolphins: PATRIOTS
Tennessee Titans(+2.5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars: TITANS
Carolina Panthers(+3.5) @ Arizona Cardinals: CARDINALS
NCAA Week 1 Locks of the Century:
SMU(+14) @ Texas A&M: TEXAS A&M
Alabama(-8.5) @ Penn State: ALABAMA
Boise State(-1.5) @ Georgia: GEORGIA
Miami Florida (-4) @ Maryland: MIAMI
Parlay these if you want to be a billionaire by September 10th.
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