Reporting Tim Kephart
MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – The growing scandal at the University of Miami continues to show no signs of subsiding anytime soon. Not only is “the U” under fire from the NCAA, but it also has to figure out what to do with the current players implicated in Nevin Shapiro’s allegations.
Hurricanes head coach Al Golden said he would continue to play all of his players unless he is notified by the NCAA or the school on a compliance issue. The problem with that is if the NCAA rules any of the players ineligible and they played in a game, the U has to forfeit those victories.
It’s a complicated path for Golden to try to traverse, as the school tries to figure out exactly what to do in the face of the allegations.
Former players are distancing themselves from the scandal, but most have not come out and completely rebuked the claims made by Shapiro.
One of the biggest names, literally and figuratively, is current New England Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork. Shapiro alleged Wilfork received $50,000 and eventually signed with Shapiro’s sports agency. Wilfork isn’t saying whether he received the money.
“I am aware of the report that has claims that involve me while at the U,” Wilfork tweeted Wednesday night. “While the NCAA and the U conduct their investigations (my wife) and I believe that it is not appropriate for us to comment.”
Miami Dolphins offensive guard Vernon Carey, who Shapiro said was entertained in his home and on the Ponzi schemer’s yacht, denied being involved.
“It’s unfortunate all this stuff is going on at UM,” Carey told reporters late Wednesday. When asked if he knew Shapiro, Carey walked off saying, “Oh no. No.”
New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle issued a non-denial denial of the allegations Shapiro made that said Rolle received a $7,500 watch, thousands of dollars of cash gifts, and paid club outings.
“To me it doesn’t matter what’s true or what’s not true,” Rolle told Giants reporters. “There’s nothing for me to comment on this guy. Obviously, he’s on a rampage to cause havoc, and I’m just going to let him do his talking. Because right now, to me, it’s irrelevant. It don’t concern me at this point. I’ll deal with it when the right time comes.”
The head of the floundering UFL, Michael Huyghue, has also denied any involvement with Shapiro. Huyghue was head of Axcess Sports, where Shapiro was an investor. AxcessSports signed some UM players and Shapiro alleged it was because of his money and help that steered them there.
“It’s ridiculous. There’s no substance to it,” Huyghue told the Florida Times-Union.
All of this comes as the Canes continue to practice for the season opener on national television against the University of Maryland. Current canes players are feeling the pinch of this scandal.
“Know this for sure everyone hurt! We all feel pain!,” Canes defensive back Brandon McGee posted on his Twitter page Thursday morning.
CBS4′s Peter D’Oench spoke with a dozen football players returning to the Isadore Hecht Athletic Center for an afternoon team meeting. And while one player flashed the “U” sign at D’Oench, all the players told him they could not speak about the scandal. One player said he and his teammates were under orders not to discuss the scandal.
Head coach Al Golden met the media Thursday morning and said that the scandal is actually helping his team’s camaraderie.
“If anything, it’s going to bring us closer together,” Golden said. “Again, 90 percent of the guys have nothing to do with this as it happened in the past. For the most part, insider here, we’re moving forward.”
University of Miami president Donna Shalala refused to talk to the press and has only released one statement since the scandal exploded Tuesday night. The statement read in part:
“We will vigorously pursue the truth, wherever that path may lead, and I have insisted upon complete, honest and transparent cooperation with the NCAA from our staff and students,” Shalala said.
Students and parents are sick of the scandal and still have faith in the school, for now.
“Stupid people do stupid things and it ruins the reputation of the program,” said Dave Pyser, father of a UM student, “but at this time it’s purely allegation until something’s proven.”
“I really hope it doesn’t affect the fans showing up to other sports and our spirit here,” said Trenton Feal, a UM freshman. “We’ll see how that goes.”
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