The Grateful Dead sang in the song Casey Jones, “Trouble ahead, trouble behind.” Those words sum up the scandal casting a dark cloud over the University of Miami’s football and basketball programs.
First-year head coach Al Golden has walked into the eye of the growing storm just by being the head coach at UM. But Golden is trying to keep the team’s focus on the game and not the scandal.
“Right now, we’ve been trying to talk about a mentally tough team and being a unified team and I think this is going to test that,” Golden said before practice Wednesday.
Just hours after CBS4 spoke with Nevin Shapiro, the Ponzi schemer who has leveled countless allegations about the University of Miami’s football and basketball programs. Shapiro has implicated 73 players, including 12 current players, along with coaches and staffers who took money or favors from him.
- Click here to read what Shapiro had to say to CBS4 Tuesday evening.
- Click here to listen to Shapiro in an exclusive interview with CBS4.
The 12 current players named by Shapiro as receiving benefits included: quarterback Jacory Harris, Ray Ray Armstrong, Travis Benjamin, Sean Spence, Marcus Forston, Vaughn Telemaque, Dyron Die, Aldarius Johnson, and Oliver Vernon. Additionally, current Purdue quarterback Robert Marve was named by Shapiro.
Coach Golden said that the school is still investigating the issue and that as of now; all of the players named will continue to practice with the team.
“The only facts that I’m going by are what we receive from the NCAA or the university from a compliance standpoint,” Golden said. “So until we hear of an infraction or that we did break a rule, everybody’s practicing. If it is determined that someone broke the rules, than that will first be dealt with by the university form an eligibility standpoint.”
The allegations Shapiro made left many wondering who was at fault for the widespread alleged rules violations.
“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.”
CBS4′s Jorge Sedano had one man who helped to cause massive problems at the University of Miami, Luther Campbell, on his radio show on 790 The Ticket and Campbell pulled no punches talking about Shapiro.
“When you sit around this guy for five minutes, you know he wants to run the University of Miami program,” Campbell said. “You know you don’t do things like that.”
Shapiro says Campbell is the “original uncle who took care of the players.”
“Where’s the NCAA violations that I committed? None! Zero,” Campbell told CBS4 News.
Campbell says Shapiro deserves to be in prison, calling Shapiro a professional liar.
Instead, Campbell says he was helping students stay on the right path.
“That is what I did at the University of Miami. That’s what I always did, that’s what I always would do, is inspire kids to do better, that’s my job,” said Campbell.
Coach Golden said his job right now is to fully cooperate with the investigation. “No one wants this to move along more than I do,” Golden said.
“It’s like I’m standing here in front of you because I want to make sure we get it right,” Golden said. “As quickly as we can get to the bottom of whatever happened, then we can move forward. We’re trying to get to the bottom of it and move forward.”
For UM fans, Golden could be the right person to get the team through this crisis. Golden took over a Temple team in shambles from a previous coach and built it into a winner.
“We’ll get through this. I feel like Temple prepared me for this opportunity,” Golden said. “We had so many issues when we first got there and so many of those were from the previous regime. We stood in there and fixed it.”
But fixing this program could be the biggest challenge any coach could ever face if the allegations reported by Yahoo! Sports prove to be true. Shapiro summed up what he thinks will happen to UM’s football program in two of the most dreaded words in college football, “Death Penalty.”