Monday, August 15, 2011

NCAA Enforcement is still in South Florida

image Dig, baby dig! reports that the NCAA has launched an investigation into an impermissible benefits scandal involving the University of Miami.

A former booster, Nevin Shapiro has confessed to operating a nearly $1 billion Ponzi scheme and plans a tell-all book about his relationship with the program and dozens of players.

Sources have said that the relationships may include as many as 100 players and may go back as far back as 2001.’s Bryan Fischer expanded on the story this morning, and adds this little nugget of information:

The NCAA has been active in South Florida over the past several months, sending investigators to various 7-on-7 camps and making connections with parents and coaches. One source added that the secondary focus of the look was on the recruiting methods of at least three SEC schools and a number of ACC schools in the area. It is unclear whether the two probes are connected but one person told that the NCAA will be questioning several people connected to the Miami players, such as coaches and other "third parties" connected to them.

Fischer is referring to this report from the South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Dave Hyde. In June, Hyde reported that the NCAA was in the area looking into the recruiting practices of several high-profile schools, including Auburn, LSU, Tennessee and Ohio State. Those programs had been enjoying unusual success in pulling recruits from the area, and Hyde reported that “red flags” had been raised about shady recruiting practices and money changing hands.

In a Sports Illustrated story last March, SI’s Andy Staples explored the phenomenon of 7-on-7 football and noted that NCAA Enforcement staff was closely monitoring the development of extracurricular football tournaments that walk, quack and look like AAU basketball. Staples reported from Hallandale, Florida.

It’s difficult to tell if all three of these matters are connected. Of the three, the Miami matter seems to be the one with no connections to the other two. But while they’re in the area, the investigative staff is sure to intensify the scrutiny that was reported in March again in June.

They’ll let you know when they’re finished. And they’re not finished.

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