Exclusive: UM Accuser Says Scandal Will Yield NCAA “Death Penalty”

MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – Former University of Miami booster, and federal convict, Nevin Shapiro said his evidence will spark the NCAA’s most severe punishment that could bring about the end of football at the University of Miami.

In an exclusive interview with CBS4’s Jim Berry, Shapiro said the information the NCAA has in its possession is “going to be so detailed and to the truth that it will be impossible for any former players or current players to go around it.”

Shapiro said for the first time that not only was it players who sought favor with him, but also Hurricanes football staff was involved. According to Shapiro’s attorney, Maria Elena Perez, the information first came out under questioning by federal officials and bankruptcy trustee attorneys.

Shapiro is at the heart of an NCAA investigation and his involvement with the school dates back to 2001-2002. Shapiro’s attorney has claimed that he provided UM players with the use of a yacht and various other favors.

In the interview with Berry, Shapiro was tight-lipped waiting for more information to come out, possibly as soon as Tuesday evening. But, he did reveal who he thinks is at fault and some of the things he was able to do with the program.

“The university, because of the desire to put money first, I was given carte blanche to do things I shouldn’t have been able to do,” Shapiro told CBS4. “I led the team out of the tunnel twice in the Orange Bowl.”

In CBS4’s video archives, Shapiro is seen in front of the tunnel as the Canes entered the field before a game. He is also shown getting excited after a kickoff return was taken back for a touchdown and jumping onto the field.

Shapiro said that he was “hurt” by his treatment by the very players he once thought of as friends. But, “there’s no jealousy or envy of the money they make, their position in life, none.”

Shapiro continued revealing a little about what he did, but he also had a critique of the players themselves.

“I helped in certain ways. They’re gifted ball players, but just because you’re gifted doesn’t mean you have the mental also,” Shapiro said. “I helped them in a lot of other ways. I felt more than a friend, felt like a family member. With certain guys I felt like a father figure.”

Perez gave more details about the culture that was going on when Nevin was dealing with the University of Miami and its student-athletes.

“The players would seek him out,” Perez said. “The players would look for Nevin; Nevin became the in-thing. It was cool to hang out with Nevin. They wanted to be with him, because he was paying. Nevin thought this was standard operating procedure, I’m not inventing this. Nevin is not going to be the first booster. This probably happens in 99.9 percent of the schools.”

Perez also addressed whether Nevin was seeking favor with the schools and the athletes and buying his way into the program.

“There’s no benefit of that because he’s paying all the bills,” Perez said. “What’s the benefit of going out and spending twenty thousand of your dollars. On any given night you’re drinking thousand dollar bottles of wines, you got 12 people, you’re going to clubs, and you’re paying for dancers. You’re paying for a lot of things that are expensive. This wasn’t a one-time thing; it was repeatedly over a long time.”

Perez said Shapiro didn’t want to be known as the guy who brought about the end of football at Miami, but rather as someone who changed the rules to protect the program from boosters.

“Nevin would rather be known as the guy who established standards and procedures to prevent future people like him from being able to penetrate a school,” Perez said.

Naturally, the first question from most fans is why anyone, including the NCAA, should believe anything that a felon may say.

“You don’t have to believe anything he says,” Perez said. “A lot of these statements are statements against interest that people usually don’t make unless they’re true; because by making these statements he’s implicating himself as well.”

Perez continued, “Take it for what it is, don’t shoot the messenger. Nevin didn’t invent this, this isn’t the first time the university has gotten in trouble for this.”

Perez also said that she didn’t think “anyone was a victim, everyone participated in this.”

When Shapiro was asked what he might say to UM president Donna Shalala, he was very complimentary of her.

“I respect her very much,” Shapiro said. “I think she’s a wonderful woman and is all about education. I’m sorry that she has to deal with this situation now.”

As for Shapiro, he said he has come to grips with his situation and is comfortable with his life now, but gave the Hurricanes a warning.

“I sleep so peaceful at night,” Shapiro said. I take my blame. I do what I did. The NCAA has a 10-month head start on what the University of Miami is about to run into.”

Click here to read UM coach Al Golden’s response to the investigation.

As for the former coaches who would have been involved during the time the alleged allegations occurred, former UM coach Larry Coker, who is now the head coach of the University of Texas-San Antonio, said he had not been contacted by the NCAA or the University of Miami. Coach Coker said he had no further comment on the issue.

When Shapiro was asked what will happen to the University of Miami’s team, he pulled no punches.

“I can tell you what I think will happen,” Shapiro told CBS4, “death penalty.”

Berry asked Shapiro if he has a smoking gun of information that’s going to shut down the storied program at “the U.” Shapiro responded simply, “a tsunami.”

  • Catherine B

    It may be hard to believe, but the high school in Miami-Dade County mirror this culture. It is time to stop selling our kids to the highest bidder.

  • el

    wait a min………who cares!!!!! Sports should be taken out of universities all together…..no more college football….

  • Danny A. Couch

    This guy is a real Dogg! This is the kind crook chump that likes to hang-out with ball players carrying their jocks for dollars so he can talk about it.

  • in the industry

    Until the every day people stop paying tons of money to sports and start caring about their own well being and the education of their own children, this will continue.

    We see regular people who “have no money for their children” and get food stamps paying a lot of money to go to a game. We see it every day.

  • a.c

    He is a chump that got caught and now want to bring down a program that he tainted. He is the match that started this fire. What a low life loser. Most kids that are getting started will suffer for his actions

  • tanabanana

    Shapiro is a little man…a very little man..in EVERY way I am sure! He is the problem, not the solution…I hope the UM fams in prison kick the you know what out of him.

  • Over It

    He is a grown man and should be embarassed that his bad investments got him put behind bars. What a cry baby! And as far as players taking goods when GIVEN to them who wouldn’t. I am positive that this happens alll over the US at even the most respectable universities. These kids are making obscene amounts of money for theur universities and granted they probably get free tuiition, but us that really comparable to what they are making for the school? Give me a break. This isn’t news, this is fluff.

  • Jimbo99

    Forever will the first decade be known as the Bush era. Wonder what else UM is involved in that isn’t tainted ? JMS/JMH ? They had a $ 3/4 billion write off in 2010, wonder how much of that money was laundered to support the University in some way shape or form ? Just time to really start connecting dots ?

  • leroy jenkins

    Shapiro is an idiot nothing better to do than to destroy t U…I wonder how much stuff he will say once t U talks to him in t pen……

  • truth

    typical south florida non sensical sentiment, um is prestigous only for its former athletic fortitude which you traded into the team playing in a profiteering multi use stadium and further showing they use eduction and sports as a means of entertainment and not progress. why is the foreclosure rate 25%? Why do you attract people for 4 years and they leave? Why do you accept ponzi money? because miami is a place to muse, to mock and entertain yourself while youre there and not live, you’re a destination, not an institution. Srop priding yourself on the identidy of your city when you dont understand it yourself.

  • Pedro Lara

    I would not be surprised if someone from Florida State talked to Shapiro and made him say these things. Who ever it was talked to this guy in jail.

  • Dany

    Another idiot trying to bring down the (Miami thugs ) U. Miami have the real deal football players comin from our own high schools not lik others schools.. But with that it comes all the hate from other states, but for this guy to come out with all this alligation Tours the U is inexcusable, u use to b 1 of us use to come out the tunnel with the UM player n then do this to them c’mon u are nothin but a chump. The U the best, money doesn’t make a player talent n hard work in the field makes a U football player.. Let gO canes.

  • C-LO

    This is entertaining…..I love everyone blaming this guy.

    Turn out the lights…..THEY PARTY IS OVER!!! NIGHT NIGHT!!!

  • gorillaz2

    He’s just trying to rationalize his stealing and raping of others by saying he did all these things for the players and he wants to bring about change. Still doesn’t justify his thieving ways. He might have been “Big Money” but, it wasn’t his money that he was lavishing on the U. He “bought” his way in and you know he thought he was “all that and a bag of chips” at the time. He saying all this for reform? Please, doesn’t matter how his lawyer spins it, he’s a THIEF bottomline. Deal with your consequences and do your time. Just go away.

  • Larry Diaz

    It is normal for convicts to come “clean.” Rather any of this scathing expose is true matters not. The Damage has been done. Do note two things 1. The University of Miami has retained a lawyer and 2. None of the named wrong-doers are countersuing for defamation. Hmmm?

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