The Miami Hurricanes football program appears to be in serious trouble after a Yahoo! Sports investigation revealing a booster’s role in a wide variety of NCAA violations. Unsurprisingly, several of the allegations involve current NFL players.
Yahoo’s Charles Robinson has uncovered an enormous amount of alleged impropriety on the part of Nevin Shapiro, who was once a wealthy Miami donor with close ties to the football program and is now serving 20 years in prison for securities fraud and money laundering. Among the allegations regarding current NFL players:
Bears return man Devin Hester allegedly got rims for his SUV, $3,000 for an engagement ring, various cash bonuses for long kick returns and NBA playoff tickets.
Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams allegedly got cash gifts, a $250 payout for a sack and a trip to Miami for his mom.
Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma allegedly got cash, drinks and meals, plus $2,250 in bounties for various hits on Florida State quarterback Chris Rix, including one hit that drew a personal foul penalty.
Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork allegedly got a $50,000 lump sum payment during his junior season and was also allegedly given cash bonuses for things like sacks and fumble recoveries.
I have a hard time feeling any outrage about Wilfork taking money. Wilfork’s parents both died (his mom of complications from diabetes, his dad of a stroke) during his Miami career, and if he needed money and took what was offered to him, I’m not going to begrudge him that.
And that gets to the real problem in college football: As Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel writes, the allegedly amateur system of college athletics prevents players from earning money honestly and makes them more likely to turn to crooks like Shapiro when they need something. The entire college football system is corrupt. Miami is just the latest school to get caught up in that corruption.