Incarcerated Booster Snitches on Former Miami Players–Says Bounties Paid For Injuries
Life lesson #3459920: Boosters don’t like it when players turn their backs on them when they’re in need. How do I know?? Cause that’s when they gets to snitchin’!
Yahoo’s Charles Robinson just busted the door open on an 11 month investigation into a booster named Nevin Shapiro. Shapiro claims he provided everything from jewelry and bounties for injuring opposing players to prostitutes and, in one case, an abortion for 72 former University of Miami players and some coaches and staffers. University of Miami is one of the top collegiate producers of NFL athletes. So the names listed in the report are pretty recognizable.
To name a few: Patriots Vince Wilfork, San Francisco 49ers Frank Gore, Denver Broncos’ Willis McGahee and the late Washington Redskins Sean Taylor who was gunned down far too soon about 4 years ago.
Also among the revelations were damning details of Shapiro’s co-ownership of a sports agency – Axcess Sports & Entertainment – for nearly his entire tenure as a Hurricanes booster. The same agency that signed two first-round picks from Miami, Vince Wilfork andJon Beason, and recruited dozens of others while Shapiro was allegedly providing cash and benefits to players. In interviews with federal prosecutors, Shapiro said many of those same players were also being funneled cash and benefits by his partner at Axcess, then-NFL agent and current UFL commissioner Michael Huyghue. Shapiro said he also made payments on behalf of Axcess, including a $50,000 lump sum to Wilfork, as a recruiting tool for the agency.
In an effort to substantiate the booster’s claims, Yahoo! Sports audited approximately 20,000 pages of financial and business records from his bankruptcy case, more than 5,000 pages of cell phone records, multiple interview summaries tied to his federal Ponzi case, and more than 1,000 photos. Nearly 100 interviews were also conducted with individuals living in six different states. In the process, documents, photos and 21 human sources – including nine former Miami players or recruits, and one former coach – corroborated multiple parts of Shapiro’s rule-breaking.
Shapiro’s said that when times got tough none of the players would help him. He couldn’t even get bail money from them.
I can’t really say I understand boosters completely. I kept reading the article trying to figure out what guys like Shapiro get in return for playing sugar daddy to college athletes. ESPN posted an interesting article on boosters back in 2006, and most seem to want influence over the University programs–in particular athletics. I suppose giving players perks keep them happy and helps the school recruit top players.
But in Shapiro’s case, beyond having some sort of student lounge named after him, he didn’t seem to have a hand in the direction of the school, the bulk of his money came from ponzi schemes. Am I missing something? Let me know.
Also, speaking of Ponzi schemes, my beloved former Eagles Kicker Dave Ackers says he lost 3.7 million dollars in a ponzi scheme.
I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights,” Akers said, according to the Austin American-Statesman. “This is my family’s future. I said that to Kurt a lot of times. I said, ‘Man, I’m trusting in you.'”
According to the American-Statesman, prosecutors contend Barton hired former NFL quarterbacks Koy Detmer and Chris Weinke to pitch real estate and business deals. Detmer has said he lost $2 million in investments with Triton.
Included among the failed investments Akers made with Triton was an insurance company and land for an athletic center, neither of which were purchased.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell clocked Akers lifetime earnings at 5.1 million after taxes. HOW CAN THAT BE! Sometimes I wish athletes would hoard their money and be happy just building interest until they’re old enough and educated enough to manage investments properly. Everyone always wants to pressure people into growing their wealth (usually quickly), in particular via real estate investments. Too many athletes go broke trying to invest their money wisely. Such bitter pill to swallow.
Last note on Robinson’s report: I love a good ol’ fashioned sports investigation. And for your reading pleasure, Yahoo has created separate player pages with detailed information on what Shapiro claims they received.