For the first time since it was reported late Sunday night that the NCAA would be in town to investigate the claims of a former booster, Miami has addressed what could be a potentially serious situation for the football program.
And, to his credit, Al Golden did not shy away from the questioning and answered the queries as best he could.
Golden, who was not head coach during the time convicted felon Nevin Shapiro allegedly provided current and former Hurricanes players with impermissible benefits, told UM beat writers that Miami actually began an internal investigation into the allegations before the NCAA came to town. Golden said he just recently learned of the NCAA’s interest in the allegations, but that he has not yet spoken to The Association. Golden also emphasized the fact that these alleged violations occurred well before he landed the job at Miami, although he wouldn’t identify any specific players currently on the roster who may be of interest to the NCAA.
“I just found out,” Golden said. “Clearly there was some articles yesterday. But in terms of contact with NCAA, I haven’t had any. Our [athletic director] and President have. Other than that, it’s a joint effort, a cooperative effort. Once we learned of allegations, we want to make sure we’re doing our due diligence and cooperate with the NCAA on this. …
“I’m out of it. I’ll be completely out of it. We want it that way. It’s unfortunate. It’s hard for me to stand up here and defend something that occurred three, four, five, six years ago. Again, my record with the NCAA, our staff’s record, our commitment to the student-athletes since we’ve been here speaks volumes for itself.”
The complete talk with the media can be viewed by clicking HERE.
The purpose of the visit by the NCAA Monday was to investigate claims made by Shapiro that numerous former and, most importantly, current members of the Hurricanes football program had committed major NCAA violations. Specifically, Shapiro has alleged that he had given, the Miami Herald wrote Monday, “gifts and services – such as use of a yacht – to former Hurricane football players while they were attending UM.”
Shapiro was convicted of running a $930 million Ponzi scheme that left upwards of 60 victims with losses totaling over $80 million. He was sentenced in June to 20 years in federal prison, and has been ordered to repay $82.7 million, which is partly the reason why he’s writing a book concerning the allegations he’s made against The U football program.
After Shapiro donated nearly $150,000 to the university, a players lounge was named in his honor at the school. Upon his arrest in April of 2010, however, Shapiro’s name was stripped from the lounge and the university returned just over $130,000 of his donation.
In addition to Golden speaking on the issue, the school also released a statement.
“When Nevin Shapiro made his allegations nearly a year ago, he and his attorneys refused to provide any facts to the University of Miami. The University notified the NCAA Enforcement officials of these allegations. We are fully cooperating with the NCAA and are conducting a joint investigation.”
As the university cooperates with The Association, Golden has just one thing to ask of his players — tell the truth.
“There’s only one way to move here, to be honest,” Golden said