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Mizzou’s Haith Ready For NCAA To Finish Probe Into His Miami Days

frank-haith-tight-faceOver the weekend, The Miami Herald reported that the NCAA was close to wrapping up its investigation into the Miami Hurricanes athletic program.  The investigation was tied to a Yahoo! Sports report in August of 2011 in which former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro claimed to have illegally aided at least seven coaches from the school’s football and basketball programs.  Shapiro said he spent millions of dollars on gifts and entertainment for recruits and players.

Among Shapiro’s claims: A member of Frank Haith’s Miami staff paid guard DeQuan Jones $10,000 to sign with the Hurricanes.  When the allegation was made, Haith — who was preparing for his first season in Columbia — denied it.  After a brief suspension, Miami reinstated Jones, suggesting the school had found no evidence of wrongdoing.

Yesterday, Haith was asked if he’d received any word from the NCAA about the allegation made against his Miami program:

 

“I haven’t, but obviously… it’s kind of a relief to know this is coming to an end, that part of it, in terms of their allegations — if there are any — against Frank Haith.  And if there are, then we have a chance to defend ourselves…

I am glad (this is ending because) something like this has been taxing on me and our family and our program.  So it’s good to know it’s coming closer to the end.”

 

While Shapiro provided receipts and other proof of some of the cash he spent on Miami athletics, he is currently serving 20 years in prison as part of a Ponzi scheme that was worth nearly a billion dollars.  His credibility — obviously — is still in question.

Haith isn’t the only ex-Miami coach with SEC ties waiting to hear the NCAA’s allegations.  Joe Pannunzio (director of football operations) and Jeff Stoutland (offensive line coach) are currently on Alabama’s BCS champion staff.  Former Florida player Aubrey Hill resigned as UF’s receivers coach last August saying he did not want to become a distraction for the Gator program.

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UF’s Hill Resigns Amid Shapiro Mess At Miami

In early 2011, first-year Florida coach Will Muschamp hired ex-Gator player Aubrey Hill away from Miami as his receivers coach and recruiting coordinator.  By August of last year, Yahoo! Sports had uncovered an unholy mess of alleged rules violations at Miami tying back to cheater-turned-stoolie Nevin Shapiro.  Hill was implicated in said mess.  Florida quickly put out a statement backing Hill.

Muschamp also offered his support at the time: “I’ve talked to Aubrey after the article came out.  I feel very comfortable with he and I’s conversation.  I support Aubrey 100%.  I’m glad he’s here at Florida and that’s all I’m really going to comment on.”

Fast forward almost exactly one year and Hill has resigned his post at Florida.  According to Muschamp in a press release today:

 

“Aubrey informed me he was resigning for personal reasons that have nothing to do with the University of Florida.  Aubrey didn’t want to be a distraction to our team and our football program and he thought it was best for him to move on.  I appreciate Aubrey’s efforts and wish him the best of luck moving forward.  He will always remain a Gator.”

 

Just not as receivers coach and recruiting coordinator.  New offensive coordinator Brent Pease and grad assistant Bush Hamdan will coach the receivers this season.

As for Hill, he too had a statement:

 

“I have too much love and respect for this program to become a distraction as I deal with some personal issues,” Hill said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to have worked with Coach Muschamp, a tremendous staff and great group of players. The future is very bright here and the University of Florida will always have a special place in my heart. Go Gators.”

 

Classy statement, but did Hill exit on his own or was he given a gentle nudge?  Or was he flat-out ordered to walk the plank?  Whatever the reasons for Hill’s departure and whatever the impact on the teams’ receivers and recruiting efforts, the more distance UF can put between itself and Miami and Shapiro and that debacle the better.

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Debose, Patchan In The Clear At Florida

There’s good news in Gainesville this morning as the University of Florida has announced that the two Gators mentioned in the Yahoo! Sports probe of Miami’s football program will not face eligibility issues.


“We have been in communication with the NCAA and there are no eligibility issues with Andre Debose and Matt Patchan as it relates to recent reports.  Andre, Matt nor the University of Florida will have any additional comments regarding this matter.”


Florida officials had already put out a statement backing receivers coach Aubrey Hill who was also named in ex-Miami booster Nevin Shapiro’s many, many claims.

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Miami Investigation Leads To More Dirt Being Tossed At SEC Schools

I hope you weren’t thinking we could all start talking about football at some point this month.  Obviously that’s just not going to happen.  Sure Expansionpalooza 2011 has diverted everyone’s attention from the gridiron, but it’s also stolen airtime away from our Summer of Scandals.  And let’s face it, the world was talking more about scandals than football when the Texas A&M chatter started.

Well, now we can talk about both.  Expansion and scandals!  ‘Cause nobody wants to talk football, right?

Yahoo! Sports has just wrapped up what it calls an 11-month investigation into University of Miami booster Nevin Shapiro.  Shapiro — in jail because of his involvement in a $930 million Ponzi scheme — claims to have provided thousands of impermissible benefits to at least 72 athletes from 2002 through 2010.  That’s one reason the NCAA is digging into Miami athletics right now.

But all of the athletes involved with Shapiro weren’t Miami Hurricanes.  Try these names on for size:

Bryce Brown — former Tennessee running back
Orson Charles — current Georgia tight end
Andre Debose — current Florida wide receiver
Matt Patchan — current Florida offensive lineman

Also, Florida assistant coach Aubrey Hill and former Auburn and Ole Miss assistant Joe Pannunzio have been implicated in taking part in Shapiro-backed schemes to land recruits while at Miami.  Pannunzio is the director of football operations at Alabama currently.

Alabama offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland has also been accused of illegal recruiting practices while at Miami. 

The lengthy — and I do mean lengthy — report can be found right here.  Take a look.  And then be ready to hear much more about this one in the days and weeks to come.

On a personal note, I’m really, really tired of having to write about and summarize scandals.  Clearly it’s time for the NCAA to just start lopping heads.  If a coach is implicated in a cheating scandal, give him a lifetime ban.  If a player takes a $50 bill, end his career. 

At this point, I see nothing short of death penalty-type punishments curtailing this never-ending nightmare of violations, infractions and scandals.

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