Sebastian the Ibis

Nevin Shapiro: Miami story will be ‘urban legend’ by the time it’s done


As we noted a little while ago, CNBC’s “American Greed” profiled in length former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro and his nearly $1 billion Ponzi scheme.

The show also touched on, although much less extensively, Shapiro’s accusations that he provided Miami student-athletes with impermissible benefits that violated NCAA rules.

Shapiro was not featured directly in the hour-long special, but in emails to “American Greed”, he answered questions about his Ponzi scheme and his relationship with the University of Miami.

Even behind bars and a computer, it’s clear Shapiro still has a cockiness about him that reflects his current situation.

“You’ll need eight documentaries to film this story” Shapiro wrote in an email to CNBC.

“He was a small guy who didn’t come from money. So he tried to prove himself,” said attorney Linda Jackson, who represents one of Shapiro’s investors.

Shapiro’s story is a fascinating one. Based on his ability to swindle millions of dollars from others for his own profit, Shapiro is no dummy, but compulsive seems like a better way to describe him than, say, intelligent.

Gambling, one of Shapiro’s many preoccupations, cost him $9 million, according to lawyer. He spent investor money and lots of it constantly. When Shapiro didn’t get his way, he lashed out, allegedly punching an intramural referee while at the University of South Florida, which he attended briefly. There’s another incident where Shapiro allegedly punched a nightclub owner.

This was man who, in addition to being unstable, was obviously insecure in the way that he had to be surrounded by others, often times buying them lavish gifts.

That’s where the University of Miami story comes in. Even if a portion of his allegations about Miami are true — and eight players have already been suspended for their connection to him — this reeks of a lonely guy who had to buy his friendships — and with college kids, no less. When those “friends” didn’t return the favor upon Shapiro’s sentencing, he lashed out again.

The Miami story will become “an urban legend” before it’s all said and done, Shapiro said in his email to CNBC.

It’s already pretty close now, if not already.

But whether the Miami scandal gets worse or not, we won’t know until the NCAA concludes its investigation. It probably won’t matter to Shapiro how the investigation ends either way; the isolation of a jail cell hasn’t contained Shapiro’s personality.

That’s all Shapiro really wants — to matter, albeit however briefly.

Butch Jones labels rumor of ‘physical altercation’ with Vols player ‘absolutely ridiculous’

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers yells at Marquez North #8 during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.

The website, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August.  The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.

From the site’s report:

The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.

The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”

Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”

At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations.  Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.

Tulsa loses second-leading receiver to season-ending injury

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 14:   Wide receiver Keevan Lucas #2 of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane just misses a pass against the Oklahoma Sooners September 14, 2013 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. The Sooners defeated the Golden Hurricane 51-20.  (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
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One of the most productive pass-catching duos in the country has been cut in half.

Tulsa head coach Philip Montgomery confirmed Tuesday that Keevan Lucas sustained a torn patellar tendon  in the third quarter of Saturday’s loss to Houston.  As a result, the wide receiver will miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

“He’s such an emotional leader for us and such a great kid,” the first-year coach said. “We’ll have to make a few adjustments offensively and move some people around and try to make sure we’ve got guys in the right spot but also guys who will step up and be ready to play.”

Lucas is currently second on the team with 26 receptions and 409 receiving yards, behind Keyarris Garrett‘s 33 and 539. His five receiving touchdowns, though, are tops on the team.

Montgomery expects Lucas to be healthy enough to participate in spring practice next year.