MIAMI (CBSMiami) – When former Biogenesis owner Anthony Bosch reportedly agreed to cooperate with Major League Baseball, it could be the opening of Pandora’s Box when it comes to drugs in the sport. But, Major League Baseball should also tread carefully based on another major scandal.
The similarities between the Bosch scandal in Major League Baseball and the Nevin Shapiro scandal at the University of Miami are striking.
Both scandals required a newspaper or website, in the case of UM it was Yahoo! Sports and for Bosch/MLB it was the Miami New Times, to blow the story wide open in the eyes of the public. In addition, both scandals require complete trust of someone with a less than stellar record.
The UM scandal centered around disgraced, and imprisoned, former booster Nevin Shapiro. The convicted Ponzi scheme architect made claims from prison of paying athletes, coaches, and multiple other violations of NCAA rules.
Since the allegations were made more than two years ago, the NCAA has sought evidence to prove that Shapiro was telling the truth about the Hurricanes program. However, the proof has been hard to come by for the NCAA.
The collegiate governing body has gone to great lengths to find as much information as possible during the investigation. Some of the moves have been too far and the NCAA has had to hold multiple external and internal reviews of the investigation into the University of Miami.
A police report was even filed last week by current Hurricanes player Dyron Dye alleging NCAA investigators used intimidation tactics to try and coerce testimony against him.
It’s not helped the NCAA’s cause that as recently as last week reports were being filed that Shapiro has admitted to perjuring himself in another case.
Still, the NCAA pressed on with the case and the Committee on Infractions is set to hear the evidence collected by NCAA investigators over the summer. The NCAA has made several allegations based on the evidence including the dreaded lack of institutional control.
However, according to UM much of the case relies on Shapiro’s word and the questionable tactics used by investigators call the entirety of the evidence into question.
Now, Major League Baseball is preparing to possibly impose up to a 100-game suspension on multiple players including superstars Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun. But to get to this point, MLB first sought to sue Bosch for intentional and unjustified tortious interference, which “essentially accusing him of sullying MLB and its contracts with players by providing them PEDs,” according to SI.com.
But, much like the UM case, baseball’s ability to suspend the players and have the suspension upheld either in arbitration or in court could hinge on the believability of Bosch’s word. To this point, Bosch has repeatedly denied any involvement with performance enhancing drugs and baseball.
Published reports have gone as far as to allege Bosch of injecting players, specifically Alex Rodriguez, with substances. Most of the players involved have emphatically denied any involvement with PED’s and Bosch, yet no legal action has been taken by the players.
In both cases, Major League Baseball and the NCAA are operating similarly to prosecutors who often cut deals with less than ideal witnesses to obtain convictions against someone. In a similar way, both MLB and the NCAA are also going to run into two tough defense attorneys: The Univ. of Miami and the Major League Baseball Players Association.
Neither the U nor the MLBPA will let the case go without a major fight and that is when the full credibility of both Shapiro and Bosch will come into full view for the public to judge.
Until then, Major League Baseball and the NCAA will continue moving forward with cases that many in the media view as shaky at best. Whether or not those cases will ultimately collapse remains to be seen.