The NCAA Investigation of Miami Just Got Worse…

Recall the festivities surrounding the NCAA investigation into wrongdoing by University of Miami teams involving convicted felon Nevin Shapiro. To say this whole affair is a sordid tale would be to grace it with a level of righteousness that it does not deserve. The more information that comes to light the surer I am that there are no completely “good guys” in the whole mess.

On the heels of stories that forced the NCAA to repudiate the early stages of the investigation and to fire the lead investigator and on the heels of “testimony” by Nevin Shapiro that he broke every rule and every precept of the NCAA’s “student-athlete, there was a story last weekend in the Miami Herald that makes all of that look like kindergarten recess. That report said:

    Shapiro – convicted and sitting in a jail cell convicted of securities fraud and running a Ponzi scheme – sent a letter to a Florida judge saying that he (Shapiro) committed perjury when he testified against another man who had been charged with “running a $132M check cashing scheme”. [Aside: I have difficulty wrapping my mind around a check cashing scheme that could possibly involve $132M but I guess that just means I do not think big in terms of criminal activities.]

    Shapiro also claims in that letter that his own “high profile lawyers” knew he was going to lie under oath and knowingly allowed him to do so.

    Nevin Shapiro is the lynchpin in the NCAA’s investigation into wrongdoing by the University of Miami.

If you would like to read what the NCAA’s star witness is all about according to the latest information available to the Miami Herald, here is the link you want.

You have to have heard the old adage that politics makes for strange bedfellows. An item posted on the The Sports Economist blog on 21 May surely makes that point. The way that the Minnesota legislature figured that it would pay the State’s portion of the construction costs for the new Vikings’ stadium in Minneapolis was to create new “e-gambling opportunities” in the State and then to tax those new activities such that the revenue would cover the State’s obligation. That sounds like a plan; no new taxes; no spending cuts to pay for a stadium; yes, there will be a new stadium. What could go wrong?

The only glitch seems to be that the actual revenue stream from this new revenue stream is not a tsunami; rather it more resembles a trickle and that leaves the politicians with a problem because they promised the good people of Minnesota that stadium funding would not come out of the State’s general fund. Ooops…

And so, what has happened is that politicians are now going around the state to “drum up interest” in the e-gambling ventures along with folks from the gaming industry and the folks who will benefit from the profits after taxes to the State. These are the same politicians who would rather suffer an aneurism than come out publicly in favor of sports betting in Minnesota, but now that there is a need for more tax revenue without raising existing tax rates on people or businesses, they are going around telling folks it is a good idea to play these “e-gambling games”.

In related news, Diogenes just declared the Minnesota legislature a barren patch when it comes to truly honest men…

Speaking of sports gambling, most of the Internet sportsbooks have the Over/Under for the NY Jets win total in 2013 at 6.5. In no way do I think that the Jets are going to play in the Super Bowl game that will happen in their home stadium next February; at the same time, the Over bet here might make some sense. The Jets have a relatively soft landing for the end of the season after their bye-week in early November. Here are their final 7 games:

    At Buffalo
    At Baltimore
    Vs. Miami
    Vs. Oakland
    At Carolina
    Vs. Cleveland
    At Miami

Folks, that is not “Murderer’s Row”; Baltimore and Carolina look to be playoff contenders in 2013 but the other five opponents do not. There could be 4 and possibly 5 wins in that mixture meaning that the Jets would not have to be world-beaters in September and October to make it to 7 wins for the season.

Over the weekend, the NASCAR race had what has been described as a “costly caution” in the final laps. That late caution caused several fans to comment about NASCAR racing and its rules things like this:

    The last five laps of a race should continue regardless of crashes. We don’t want any more caution flag finishes.

    There shouldn’t be any caution flags in the last five laps. Let them finish the race going around the wreckage.

I imagine that it is frustrating for fans to watch a 600-mile race – as they did last weekend – only to find out in the final minutes that the race is going to be decided in large measure by a yellow caution flag late in the race because of a multi-car crash. Nevertheless, sanity has to prevail here; NASCAR cannot establish a system whereby racecars finish a race dodging wreckage because that would also put first responders who may need to be on the track to do things like put out fires or pull seriously injured drivers from wrecked vehicles in jeopardy. Marie Antoinette is rightfully scorned for saying that starving peasants who had no bread should just eat cake; NASCAR fans who want no caution flags at the end of races and who want cars to dodge the wreckage are saying about injured drivers:

    Just let them bleed.

Finally, Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times expressed his sorrow for the “bad fortune” of Tom Brady after he reportedly won $25K on the Kentucky Derby:

“So that makes it three Super Bowl rings, a supermodel wife, a $57mil contract – and now a serendipitous Derby windfall.

“When is this poor guy going to catch a break?”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

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  • Doug  On May 28, 2013 at 7:58 am

    The NCAA investigation of Miami is one of those cases where, like the war between Iraq and Iran, that you hope for both sides to lose. I am flying to Miami Thursday for a weekend with big U supporters. It will be interesting to hear their take on this mess.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On May 28, 2013 at 8:25 am


      Agreed. Clearly, the University of Miami’s hands are not clean in this mess and equally clearly, the NCAA investigation has been a screw-up that you would have thought you would only see on an episode of “Hogan’s Heroes”.

  • Rich  On May 28, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Perhaps the good people of Minnesota can be persuaded to purchase seat licenses to watch the Vikings not win the Super Bowl. Worked great for Jets fans, except for those that would like to sell free themselves of that costly commitment. By the way, the over/under on the Jets is an assumption that they will be a sub .500 team this year, a prediction that I share. I wonder if Ryan outlasts Sanchez there.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On May 28, 2013 at 9:46 pm


      I believe that personal seat licenses are part of the way that the Vikes’ owners will pay for their share of the cost of building the new edifice…

      I cannot see the Jets winning 9 or 10 games this year. However, if they do not completely implode in Sept and Oct, they have a chance to finish out with 7 or 8 wins – not making the playoffs – but making the OVER the right wager. Of course, if they do implode in Sept/Oct and the team quits knowing that Rex Ryan is toast at the end of the season, the Jets might win only 3-4 games. I do not root for or against the Jets but they will indeed be an interesting team this year…

  • Tenacious P  On May 28, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    I take umbrage that you consider the vaunted Silver and Black part of a “soft landing.” Allow me to unveil for you the 2013 Oakland Raiders motto: Aspire to be average.

    And Tom Brady did not catch a break the last two times he played against an ex-San Diego Charger named Eli Manning.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On May 28, 2013 at 9:49 pm


      My predictions for any upcoming NFL season are hardly accurate enough that you should take them to the bank, but I really do think that the Raiders will contend for the #1 Overall Pick in the 2014 NFL Draft and will have – at worst – the 4th Overall Pick.

      “Aspire to be Average” is better than what I think their 2013 motto ought to be. I think it is more like “Aspire to Mediocrity”.

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