Tag:Miami Investigation
Posted on: February 12, 2012 10:19 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 5:53 am
 

Shapiro threatens Miami, ex-players from prison

Posted by Chip Patterson

Former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro, currently serving a 20-year sentence for a Ponzi scheme, has managed to stay in the headlines regarding the ongoing NCAA investigation into the Miami football and basketball programs. Shapiro has stayed in contact with numerous media organizations, including the Miami Herald, through email since in his incarceration. On Sunday, the Herald posted some of Shapiro's more aggressive claims from behind bars.

“The public is going to hate me worse in the next coming months,” Shapiro, serving a 20-year sentence for a Ponzi scheme, wrote in numerous e-mails over the past few months. “It’s going to be severe and catastrophic. My feelings are getting inflamed and I’m going to pop off pretty soon with regards to them and the NCAA. I’m coming for them both [UM and former players] and I’m going to be successful.

“I’m taking that program down to Chinatown and the former players and links to that program. Why? Because the U.S. government lined up 47 former players to testify against me in open court if I went to trial. That in itself is motivation to shove it up their collective [butts].”

The Hurricanes have not received a notice of allegations from the NCAA, but chose to self-impose a bowl ban after their 6-6 finish in 2011 in response to the ongoing investigation.

One Miami official told the Herald he expects "one more bowl ban, maybe two at most," with additional scholarship penalties.

Shapiro has been out for revenge against Miami and the former players, feeling betrayed when they did not come to his aid during the legal troubles associated with the Ponzi scheme. Columnist Barry Jackson describes Shapiro as "a man determined to destroy the UM football program." The former booster believes that much more will come to the surface -- beyond what was alleged in the Yahoo! Sports investigation -- and Miami will get "the death penalty or damn close to it."

As the alleged details of Shaprio's involvement with the Miami football program have surfaced, one consistent theme has been his desire for attention. One Miami official told the Miami Herald that they expect if Shapiro were under oath, the school could "punch holes in much of what he says."

Despite the ongoing investigation, head coach Al Golden was able to sign 33 players to the 2012 recruiting class. The Hurricanes finished with the No. 7 class in the CBS Sports National Signing Day Top 25. For more on the Hurricanes' recruiting class, check out Bryan Fischer's ACC Signing Day Grades at the Eye On Recruiting.

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Posted on: December 14, 2011 11:09 am
 

Miami S Armstrong skipping NFL Draft, will return

Posted by Chip Patterson

With no postseason in their future and a roster full of NFL-caliber talent, many of the notable early declarations for the 2012 NFL Draft have come from Miami. But after wide receiver Tommy Streeter, defensive lineman Marcus Forston, and running back Lamar Miller all made their intentions known, one highly touted prospect has decided to return for one more year in Coral Gables.

CBSSports.com's Brian London reports that junior safety Ray-Ray Armstrong will return for his senior season, electing not to join his fellow underclassmen in the NFL Draft. CBSSports.com currently has Armstrong ranked as the No. 2 strong safety in the 2012 draft class, just behind Alabama's Mark Barron.

Armstrong was suspended from the first four games of the 2011 season as a result of impermissible benefits received from former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro. He was also forced to repay the nearly $800 in benefits he allegedly received from Shapiro and others during his recruiting. But after five productive games of getting back into the rotation on defense, Armstrong was shelved once again after putting his eligibility in jeopardy with a female friend. This friend happened to be president of PR Group, and tweets about their dinner at Prime 112 had the NCAA interested in determining if violations were committed.

The highly-touted safety was suspended for Miami's 23-19 loss to Florida State, but then cleared after the pair proved no wrongdoing at the dinner. Armstrong finished the season with only seven games of action, registering 34 tackles, one forced fumble and an interception.

Armstrong's decision is not particularly surprising, especially considering his limited chances to promote himself to NFL scouts. The frequent run-in's with eligibility concerns may also throw red flags to NFL organizations, so it would benefit the junior to return with goals of a complete season to showcase his talent. Armstrong has shown great potential in what little time he has spent on the field for the Hurricanes, but could arguably improve his stock significantly with another season at "The U." 

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Posted on: November 25, 2011 6:31 pm
Edited on: November 25, 2011 6:34 pm
 

Miami, Al Golden agree to four-year extension

Posted by Chip Patterson

Miami head coach Al Golden has undergone a tumultuous first season, with the team struggling to find consistency and the program rocked by an ongoing NCAA investigation. Golden has repeatedly denied any rumors that he might consider leaving Miami, and on Friday the school the announced a contract extension for the first-year Hurricane.

The school and Golden agreed to terms on a four-year extension that will run through February 1, 2020. Friday's game against Boston College was the final game of the Hurricanes' season, having already pulled out from bowl consideration due the ongoing NCAA inquiry.

"My family loves it in South Florida, we have embraced the community and we could not be more excited about the future of the Miami Hurricanes football team," said Golden in a prepared statement.  "I can't thank President Shalala and Shawn Eichorst enough for their support and commitment to our student-athletes and staff.  We are ready to hit the recruiting road and begin our preparations for the 2012 season."

An extension for Golden has been rumored since the developments in the NCAA investigation resulted in suspensions for eight players currently on the roster. All of the alleged violations in the case took place before Golden's arrival, and the former Temple coach had no knowledge of the investigation when he accepted the job in December.

Golden's possible departure became a hot topic again once the Penn State job opened up with Joe Paterno's dismissal. In addition to being a tight end for the Nittany Lions, Golden was also linebackers coach on Paterno's staff for the 2000 season. It was not until recently that Golden began to use concrete language when referring to his status with the Hurricanes. A Penn State reporter recently questioned Golden in the ACC weekly coaches' teleconference, and the Miami coach gave his response with more certainty than he had displayed all season.

"I believe I'm going to be the head coach at Miami in 2012, that's correct," Golden said.

The school was wise to release the news before Golden faced the press for post game comments on Friday. Now Miami fans can stop worrying about losing their coach, and focus on the "process" he preaches moving forward.

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Posted on: October 6, 2011 10:21 am
Edited on: October 6, 2011 10:21 am
 

Miami loses DT Marcus Forston for the season

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Miami's defense just can't catch a break on the injury front.

Just days after learning starting linebacker Ramon Buchanan was lost for the season due to a knee injury following the Hurricane's game against Bethune-Cookman, it appears the man starting in front of him is lost for the year as well. Defensive tackle Marcus Forston suffered a non-contact knee injury during practice on Wednesday and will miss the remainder of the season, the school announced Thursday morning.

Forston was expected to be a key part of the Miami defense after returning to school instead of declaring for the NFL Draft. He had five tackles and a sack in three games as a starter this season and will have one year of eligibility left if he opts to return for a senior season in 2012. As a sophomore last year he recorded 37 tackles, 12 of which were for a loss. He missed all but three games in 2009 with an injury and received a medical redshirt.

The 6-foot-3, 295-pound tackle missed the season opener against Maryland after being implicated in the Nevin Shapiro scandal for receiving extra benefits.

Miami hits the road to play Virginia Tech on Saturday.
Posted on: September 7, 2011 12:56 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2011 1:02 pm
 

Miami names Jacory Harris starting QB

Posted by Chip Patterson

Miami head coach Al Golden has named senior Jacory Harris the starting quarterback for the Hurricanes' next game against Ohio State on Sept. 17.

Harris missed the Hurricanes' opener against Maryland while serving a one game suspension for accepted approximately $140 in impermissible benefits from former booster Nevin Shapiro. Sophomore Stephen Morris was named the starter, and completed 19 of 28 passes for 195 with no touchdowns and two interceptions. Following the game, Golden announced that he would re-open the ongoing competition between Morris and Harris for the starting job, one that had lasted since spring practice.

Near the end of fall camp, Golden (along with many UM players) said that the two signal-callers were in a "dead heat." Both quarterbacks received praise for their performance, and their combined scrimmage numbers (individual stats not released by the school) were impressive. But due to the NCAA suspensions, Golden never got a chance to name a starting quarterback from the competition. With Harris in the number one spot on the latest Miami depth chart, it would seem as though the senior would have been the starter against Maryland if he wasn't serving that suspension.

But Harris isn't the only Miami player who will be anxious to get on the field for the first time against Ohio State. Wide receiver Travis Benjamin will be back in his starting spot, and Adwele Ojomo and Marcus Forston should have an immediate impact on a defensive line that looked gassed by the second half against Maryland. All-conference linebacker Sean Spence will be back in the starting lineup, and his impact in the back seven should be felt immediately.

The best thing the Hurricanes have going for them heading into this big-time matchup against the Buckeyes is the extra time to prepare. I imagine that the leadership of these upperclassmen will play a big role in the team's focus on knocking off OSU at home in primetime.
Posted on: September 1, 2011 2:16 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2011 2:20 pm
 

Armstong's father calls out Louisville assistant

Posted by Chip Patterson

While current student-athletes involved in the NCAA's investigation into Miami's football program (both current Hurricanes and former/prospective players) have received their punishments or clearance, there are active coaches and administrators named in the Yahoo investigative report continuing their careers away from Coral Gables.

One of the names appearing frequently in the claims of former booster Nevin Shapiro is current Louisvillerecruiting coordinator Clint Hurtt, who was at Miami during many of the violations associated with current Hurricanes. Safety Ray-Ray Armstrong and tight end Dyron Dye received four-game suspensions for an array of benefits they received as recruits, including "five nights of impermissible lodging from institutional staff." Armstrong's father, Albert, expressed his displeasure to the Miami Herald, and wants to know when Hurtt will face his punishment.

"I mean as far as what I'm hearing now, what Shapiro supposedly gave them was less than $100," Armstrong explained to the paper. "That means they received less than what they needed [to get suspended]. What I heard Ray-Ray got punished for was staying with Clint Hurtt. How that supposed to be a violation when these coaches exposed these kids to this stuff?

"I just don't like that all these kids have to suffer and we haven't heard anything about the coaches yet. My kid got a four-game suspension for what? He didn't do anything wrong if he was with the coach who was recruiting him."

While the detailing of what exactly was received by Armstrong, Dye, and defensive end Olivier Vernon (three players identified by the NCAA as receiving benefits as prospective student-athletes) is arguable, Armstrong's does have a point in asking for Hurtt's punishment. The NCAA report did not identify what staff member provided lodging, but the monetary value of that lodging is likely what led to the figures of $788 and $738 for Dye and Armstrong.

If Hurtt was the staff member providing the lodging, than the current Louisville assistant will likely be hearing from the NCAA as this investigation is ongoing and far from completed. The enforcement staff doesn't exactly work rapidly, and the current Hurricanes at least have a definite answer on their status for the upcoming season. But it makes sense that those players sitting out for four games would be frustrated to see the coach who put them in that situation going about his business as if nothing happened.

Posted on: August 31, 2011 11:40 am
Edited on: August 31, 2011 11:41 am
 

Report: Aldarius Johnson uncooperative with NCAA

Posted by Chip Patterson

In a joint release Miami and the NCAA announced the suspensions of eight different players in connection with impermissible benefits received from former booster Nevin Shapiro and university employees. The school also announced the indefinite suspension of senior wide receiver Aldarius Johnson. Miami spokesperson Chris Freet told the Sun-Sentinel onTuesday that Johnson's suspension was not-related to the NCAA investigation, but instead having to do with something he did recently.

But a source close to the NCAA situation told the Sun-Sentinel was "less than forthright" in his interviews with NCAA investigators, a stark contrast to the rest of the Miami players.

Johnson was singled out by Nevin Shapiro in the Yahoo investigative report as someone who received money "at least 10 times," often returning to ask for more from the former booster.

Somewhere between the report from the school and the one from the Sun-Sentinel's source probably lies the truth. Johnson has admitted himself that his success as a freshman (team-high 31 receptions in 2008) made him too comfortable with his position in the Hurricanes' rotation. But things have been different under new had coach Al Golden, and after an ankle injury this spring Johnson found himself absent from the depth chart heading into the summer.

"For whatever reason, he got off track," wide receivers coach George McDonald told the Palm Beach Post earlier this month. "The biggest thing I'm trying to do is get him back on track."

It seems that Johnson and the new Hurricanes coaching staff still aren't on the same page, in many ways. My guess would be that the former freshman standout has likely played his last game in a MIami uniform.
Posted on: August 30, 2011 5:32 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2011 7:21 pm
 

Eight Miami players suspended by NCAA

Posted by Chip Patterson

Miami head coach Al Golden hoped that he would hear from the NCAA "within 48 hours," and he did.

On Tuesday the NCAA ruled that eight members of the current Hurricanes football team must serve suspensions and repay benefits in order to become eligible again after receiving benefits from former booster Nevin Shapiro.

Senior quarterback Jacory Harris, wide receiver Travis Benjamin, defensive tackle Marcus Forston, defensive end Adewale Ojomo, and linebacker Sean Spence must all serve a one game suspension and repay their benefits. Converted tight end Dyron Dye and safety Ray-Ray Armstrong must serve a four game suspension while defensive end Olivier Vernon must miss six games of competition.

The school confirmed that all of the players with one game suspensions will serve them on Sept. 5 when the team opens the 2011 season against Maryland.

The NCAA deemed that three players (Dye, Armstrong, and Vernon) received "substantial benefits" as prospective student athletes from Shapiro and school employees.  These benefits have been deemed by the NCAA as "serious recruiting violations."  According to the official release the NCAA is categorizing these players differently from the other five, who received impermissible benefits while already enrolled at Miami.

"The NCAA has informed the University of Miami of their decisions regarding the reinstatement of eight student-athletes who were declared ineligible by the University last week,” Miami athletics director Shawn Eichorst said in the official release. “The student-athletes involved have acknowledged receiving improper benefits and will now be responsible for restitution and, in some cases, the student-athletes will also serve game suspensions. They understand that their actions demand consequences."

"We appreciate the diligence and understanding of the NCAA staff and its handling of the student-athlete eligibility issues in an expeditious manner. I would also like to thank Coach [Al] Golden and his staff for their professionalism and leadership over the past few weeks."

Miami also announced that four members of the football team have been cleared by the NCAA to play, but must repay amounts of less than $100 in impermissible benefits. Brandon McGee, JoJo Nicholas, Micanor Regis, and Vaughn Telemaque will all be eligible for Monday's opener against Maryland. Senior defensive end Marcus Robinson has been cleared by the NCAA but will not face any penalties or have to repay any benefits.

One interesting development from the school was the indefinite suspension of senior wide receiver Aldarius Johnson. Johnson had slowly fell behind other wide receivers on the depth chart after suffering an injury in spring practice. He was singled out by Shapiro in the Yahoo! report as someone who received money "at least 10 times" but his suspension is officially for "violation of team rules."

The NCAA found that Oliver Vernon received more than $1,200 in benefits primarily from Shapiro during recruitment. This includes meals, transportation, and "entertainment" at nightclubs, among other allegations. Armstrong was found to have received approximately $788 in extra benefits from Shapiro and personnel, while Dye received approximately $738. Those were listed by the NCAA as impermissible lodging from Miami staff during unofficial visits, transportation, meals, and entertainment at a gentlemen's club.

Meals, transportation, entertainment, night club/gentlemens club cover charges appear to be the common benefits for the five players serving a one game suspension. The NCAA estimates Forston received $400 in benefits, Spence's were valued at $275, Ojomo's total was $240, with Andre Benjamin and Jacory Harris rounding out the group at $150 and $140 respectively.


 
 
 
 
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