Ex-booster Shapiro takes shots at NCAA
by Rachel Axon, USA TODAY Sports
Former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro gambled on games using inside information from former players, coaches and athletics department staffers, Sports Illustrated published in a story released Wednesday that is critical of the NCAA’s enforcement division.
The magazine’s story examines the criticism the NCAA has faced since Shapiro first revealed allegations of providing thousands of impermissible benefits to UM athletes over an eight-year span.
“I thought I was dealing with the FBI,” Shapiro told SI from a federal prison in Oakdale, La. “Instead I was dealing with a bunch of clowns. I gave the NCAA the body, the weapon and the DNA evidence on a platter, and they found a way to screw this up.”
The story examines changes to enforcement since President Mark Emmert was hired in 2010 and promoted Julie Roe Lach to run the department. Her changes and Emmert’s involvement in investigations has hampered the department, brought its credibility into question and weakened the NCAA, several former staffers told SI.
They told the magazine of staff members’ desire to leave, a notion further evidenced by several recent departures. Tuesday, Kentucky announced that it had hired Rachel Newman Baker, a 12-year veteran of the NCAA and its managing director of enforcement for development and investigations. She is the fourth enforcement staff member to leave to take a job at the university level in the past three months.
“People are questioning the need and effectiveness of the enforcement staff in general to the point that I wonder if the membership will say we don’t want it,” former investigator Abigail Grantstein told SI.
Grantstein was fired in December after her boyfriend was overheard discussing the case of former UCLA basketball player Shabazz Muhammed, who was alleged to have accepted impermissible benefits.
The rampant rules-breaking in college sports is highlighted by Shapiro’s revelations of gambling on UM games, usually against the Hurricanes. Shapiro told the magazine he gambled on 23 games from 2003-09 and provided bank records to support his claims.
Shapiro is serving a 20-year sentence for running a $930 million Ponzi scheme. His allegations against Miami first came to light in August 2011 when Yahoo! Sports reported that … [For more on Ex-booster at heart of Miami case takes shots at NCAA, click here.]