MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s been more than two-and-a-half years since Yahoo! Sports and Nevin Shapiro dropped a bomb on the University of Miami with a scathing investigation sparked by accusations by convicted Ponzi scheme architect Nevin Shapiro.
Thursday, the U meets the NCAA.
The Hurricanes program, along with former coaches, began their appearance before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions following the multi-year investigation that ran into almost as any problems as Shapiro alleged UM committed.
Shapiro, who is in federal prison, alleged that he paid players, lavished gifts on players, helped coaches pay players, made loans to coaches, and multiple other claims. Shapiro made the claims because he felt the people he helped didn’t come through for him when he needed help after his initial arrest.
Shapiro’s claims set off a firestorm around the University of Miami Hurricanes program just as head coach Al Golden was trying to get the school back on solid ground on the field and in recruiting. Since then, UM has been dealing with the cloud of the NCAA investigation hanging over the school.
More claims were made by Shapiro in an article set to be released Thursday by Sports Illustrated. The magazine saw financial statements that Shapiro said showed his massive gambling on UM games that he claimed were benefitted by inside information from the program.
The NCAA looked into the allegations previously by asking former UM assistant and alleged Shapiro runner Sean “Pee Wee” Allen about the claims. The NCAA said it found nothing to substantiate the gambling claims.
But, the NCAA still believes it has plenty of evidence to come down hard on the University of Miami program. The investigation took several years and looked at dozens of ex-players and coaches and involved multiple investigations of the investigation.
The NCAA previously admitted to wrongdoing during the investigation of UM and publicly addressed some of the problems when it commissioned an external review of its practices. The external review led to the NCAA throwing out about 20 percent of its case against the Hurricanes.
Still, the NCAA hit UM with its steepest charge of lack of institutional control when the collegiate governing body hit the school with its notice of allegations. The investigation, charges, and counter-charges by UM have all led up to the hearing Thursday in front of the Committee on Infractions.
The COI has multiple paths it can take when dealing with the University of Miami case. UM self-imposed penalties including a two-year postseason ban, which the NCAA could accept as sufficient punishment and close the case.
The COI could also decide the school needs additional punishment beyond the self-imposed penalties due to the severity of the violations. The Committee could also decide to dismiss the case completely due to the overarching problems in the investigation.
The University and staff involved in the case will have a chance to address the COI during the hearing to make their case.
The NCAA will not issue a ruling on the case for several months, which could mean a decision is published in the middle of the fall football season.