bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: A huge mess at the University of Miami

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Major college sports, particularly football and basketball, have been a breeding ground for corruption for a long time. As much as I love to watch them, the idea that these are amateur athletes is certainly a questionable one. The money is so huge, and the stakes are so high, it would actually be harder to believe that everything was on the up and up. The scandals have been coming fast and furious in college football recently, with Auburn, Oregon, and Ohio State dealing with some very high profile messes. Fortunately for them, I guess, the big one was waiting in the wings, ready to take the focus off of those schools. The University of Miami, which dealt with a lot of problems back in the late 80s and early 90s, is back in the stew, and it does not look good for the Hurricanes.

Last time, the outsider who seemed to be involved with so many of the program’s problems was Luther Campbell, AKA Luke Skyywalker, from the rap group 2 Live Crew. This time, the culprit is someone named Nevin Shapiro, a convicted felon currently serving a twenty year sentence for securities fraud and money laundering, the result of a Ponzi Scheme he ran between 2002 and 2010. Shapiro used money made from his scheme to shower money and gifts on over 70 Miami players, according to a recent report by Yahoo! Sports. The list of recipients includes a number of players on the current team. The NCAA investigation is underway, and it’s unknown how bad the punishments will be, but I have to assume the school is in for a major butt-kicking.

Former players have been coming out of the woodwork to either condemn or defend the school. A lot of scorn has been heaped upon the head of Shapiro, which is certainly not surprising. As bad as he is, though, he did not force anyone to take anything. The temptation must have been huge, but let’s not pretend that these players did not know what they were doing. Gifts of money, trips, jewelry, and yacht cruises simply are not among the things that any college athlete believes are on the list of approved benefits. The athletes are not the only ones at fault here, of course. The violations seem to have been so large and pervasive throughout the program, there is really no way that I can believe that the coaches and administrators were unaware of them. Even Donna Shalala, the president of the university, is likely to suffer consequences from the complete lack of institutional control that appears to have taken hold over the last decade.

I feel awful for Al Golden, the former Temple coach who was hired to replace Randy Shannon as head coach at Miami this past offseason. Reports indicate that Golden was told nothing about any of this, even though the investigation had been ongoing for the past year. I am a big fan of his, and have hoped that he would be the successor to Joe Paterno at Penn State, if Joe should ever actually decide to retire. With Miami possibly facing the so-called “death penalty,” where the entire program gets shutdown (like SMU back in the 80s), Golden is in an impossible position. I hope he is let out of his contract and can get back on his feet at another school, as he is certainly blameless in all of this.

Unlike Ohio State, Auburn, and Oregon, Miami did not even manage to be very good during the time that these violations were occurring. I feel bad for the current players who were not involved in any of the violations, as they, like Golden, will be severely impacted by the punishment that is to come. Still, there is no way the NCAA can do anything but come down extremely hard here, provided that the allegations are proven to be true.

Bad sports, continued:

2) Rick Rypien, a center for the Winnipeg Jets of the NHL, was found dead on Monday. The death has been ruled a suicide. Rypien never actually played for the Jets, having just signed with them recently after playing for Vancouver for six years.

3) Four high school football players from Linwood, New Jersey, were killed in a car accident on Saturday. The other four players in the SUV were injured, but are expected to survive.

4) It seems that no sport is immune from drinking and driving. Calvin Borel, a jockey who has won the Kentucky Derby in three of the last five years, was arrested for DUI on Saturday night in Indiana.

5) So much for diplomacy. The Georgetown University basketball team got in a brawl with the Bayi Rockets, a Chinese professional team, during a game on Thursday. The Hoyas are in the midst of a tour of China intended to promote good will. Oops.

6) Yet another pitcher was hit in the head with a line drive this week. This time, it was Phillip Humber of the Chicago White Sox. Check out the video. I am impressed with how quickly he got up.

7) Jerry Baxter, crew chief for Patrick Carpentier during the Nationwide race in Montreal on Saturday, did exactly what you would expect him to do after his driver was wrecked by another driver, in this case Steve Wallace. He went after Wallace, who was still in his car, and pulled his hair.

8) It is starting to seem like a bad idea to be a fan of teams from the Bay Area. While San Francisco Giants fan Brian Stow is still trying to recover from the beating he took from fans of the L.A. Dodgers after a game in April, an Oakland Raiders fan was shot in the parking lot of Candlestick park after a preseason game against the 49ers.

Good sports:

1) Four years after being seemingly proud to be a homophobe on a Miami radio station, former NBA player Tim Hardaway has seen the error of his ways. This week, Hardaway attended an event in El Paso, Texas, in support of three politicians who are under attack by an ignorant public who are trying to recall them for voting to restore health benefits for same-sex partners of city employees.  Good for Hardaway, and shame on the bigots in El Paso who are behind the recall efforts.

Bad sports, good sports appears every Monday

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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2 Responses to “Bad sports, good sports: A huge mess at the University of Miami”

  1. Your comment insulting the voters of El Paso is ridiculous. Same sex partnership benefits are not a right nor are they proof of some kind of moral purity. Many people hold religious beliefs, which they are free to do, that consider homosexuality an abomination, which is also their right. They should not have to pay, through their taxes, to support this perverted attempt at social engineering.

    I don’t know exactly when fecal sex became such a holy rite to naive liberals like yourself but to a good number of people it is still sodomy and is still an unnatural and disgusting act.

    Hardaway should have stood his ground, that is how he felt and he was right. It is embarassing to see him have to grovel before these kinds of people in an attempt to win their unholy blessing. No less then your attempt to defend them.

  2. Jax – No one said they were not free to hold their own religious beliefs, just as I am free to believe that they are repugnant bigots. Not sure why I should have to pay, though MY taxes, to provide any kind of support systems for people that are openly bigoted.

    It’s nice that we can all express ourselves like this.

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