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August 17, 2011 1:24 PM   Subscribe

Yahoo! sports strikes again. Charles Robinson (@charlesrobinson on twitter) , just revealed a nuclear bombshell of a scandal in the football program at the University of Miami, featuring drinks, cash, gambling, yachts, bounties on players, prostitutes, and an abortion.

Robinson previously broke huge NCAA violations at USC, Oregon, UNC, THE Ohio State University, and more to come. From a sports POV, this is a big story. From a web journalism standpoint, this is a major, major milestone. Note the sidebar in the article-- Robinson and Wetzel have broken out the allegations against every player and coach named with evidentiary support and specifics.
posted by norm (83 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
well, just because you've all kinds of proof and everything doesn't mean anything actually happened.
posted by philip-random at 1:32 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


That stuff doesn't even sound scandalous.
posted by telstar at 1:33 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


> “Here’s the thing: Luther Campbell was the first uncle who took care of players before I got going,” Shapiro said, referring to the entertainer notorious for supplying cash to Miami players in the 1980s and 1990s. “His role was diminished by the NCAA and the school, and someone needed to pick up that mantle. That someone was me. He was ‘Uncle Luke’, and I became ‘Little Luke.’...Chief is his feeling that after spending eight years forging what he thought were legitimate friendships with players, he was abandoned by many of the same Miami athletes he treated so well.

This would be funny if it weren't so sad. Or is it the other way around? Both, probably.

Anyway, the first photo in that article is more or less exactly what I picture when I hear the words "college sports booster," except maybe the guy is older and fatter.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:33 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there a background bio on Robinson ? (his author link on yahoo goes to 404). I, too, am impressed that a reporter for a "web" news company had gathered such a scoop. I mean, this is more than just a drudge report, but actual investigation. I may not read the right on-line news, but I've only seen in depth/investigative reports like this on print papers (or the ones where an on-line only paper team up with a print.)
posted by k5.user at 1:33 PM on August 17, 2011


cash

Shocking that athletes might receive financial compensation for their starring roles in a industry that making a billion dollar profit.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:35 PM on August 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


Luther Campbell has a thoughtful and nuanced take on Nevin Shapiro and his "Little Luke" business.
posted by jeffmshaw at 1:37 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I dunno, an injury bounty is a serious thing, ask Nick Nolte.
posted by clavdivs at 1:37 PM on August 17, 2011


telstar: That stuff doesn't even sound scandalous.

And that's part of the problem. BIG money is being made off of college sports, and many times, the actual athletes get minimal compared to the deal makers. But it's one thing to sell your own memorabilia and have the NCAA throw a fit (because that sort of thing is against their archaic rules), but it's another to lure star players with bounties.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:38 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


featuring drinks, cash, gambling, yachts, bounties on players, prostitutes, and an abortion.

But no drugs? I'm quite surprised that wasn't on the list.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 1:38 PM on August 17, 2011


I went to Miami in the nineties, and this article has been all over my facebook feed. Most of my college friends--especially the locals who still go to games and homecoming--are pretty fucking bummed. My reaction falls somewhere between "couldn't give a fuck" (I'm the only person I know who managed to graduate from UM without ever going to a Hurricanes game) and "look, this is my shocked face." The best thing about football at Miami was that I could actually get a practice room at the music school on game days.
posted by the_bone at 1:39 PM on August 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


The best part of this? Miami's Athletic Director for much of the alleged violations was Paul Dee, the chairman of the NCAA's Committee of Infractions for the USC investigation and sanctions.

Can't wait to see how this gets spun by the NCAA and Dee while USC fans squeal about karma and the injustice of those nasty penalties.
posted by N-stoff at 1:41 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I bet if you gave one of those programs a 15 year death penalty, this shit would stop.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:43 PM on August 17, 2011


How about we just, y'know, pay the slave labor they call "players"?
posted by pla at 1:43 PM on August 17, 2011 [12 favorites]


I just wish the reaction here would be to start thinking about maybe changing the rules of this multi-billion-dollar business to involve friggin' paying the people who risk their safety and future careers to produce the product that makes those billions of dollars.

But no, they'll sanction the Hurricanes program and leave their forfeited wins on a pike as a warning to anyone who thinks it might be a little weird to pay coaches seven-figure salaries while banning for life any athlete who publicly accepts a free ice-cream cone for his or her efforts.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:43 PM on August 17, 2011 [12 favorites]


That said, it's pretty obvious most people (fans, coaches, players, and administrators) don't really want it to stop.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:44 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm sure Donna Shalala is blameless.
posted by bardic at 1:45 PM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Good lesson you don't usually get when fame, fortune, and money are dropped in your lap: never throw the guy with all your dirty laundry under a bus. Unless, you are actually throwing the man under a moving bus.
posted by Slackermagee at 1:46 PM on August 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Pretty good/funny writeup with the salient details at sbnationhere; since people are talking about the death penalty, lemme also link this pretty interesting historical rundown of what the death penalty means in this context.
posted by penduluum at 1:47 PM on August 17, 2011


Nevin Shapiro Bio

People who say I should go to hell, well, I’m here,” Shapiro, now 42, said.

There is no lack of people who say such a thing. Shapiro pled guilty in September 2010 to running a $930 million Ponzi scheme that cost investors $82.7 million. Shapiro said he “never set out to rip people off,” it just turned into fraud when his real estate business collapsed.

His plea agreement says otherwise. He financially crushed investors, including some retirees. He’s no sympathetic figure. He’s been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

This guy just can't throw enough people under the bus.
posted by clearly at 1:49 PM on August 17, 2011


The worst part, and the one that is overlooked by the media, is that all this money Shapiro used was money he stole from investors in his Ponzi scheme.
posted by I am the Walrus at 1:49 PM on August 17, 2011


That said, it's pretty obvious most people (fans, coaches, players, and administrators) don't really want it to stop.

I was going to blame the invisible hand of the sports-player market.
posted by GuyZero at 1:50 PM on August 17, 2011


How about we just, y'know, pay the slave labor they call "players"?

Let's say you played football for Stanford. Wouldn't you consider a $200,000 scholarship pretty good payment, especially for the 98% of players who won't ever make an NFL salary? There is corruption and graft at these big programs, but I don't think the solution is to pay players, especially not by the schools. However, I don't see a problem with agents giving money to players. But the schools should not be in the business of paying players - if the program makes money (and very, very few of them do), then the money should go back to the university to help pay for professor salaries or extra student scholarships or something. And if your program can't make money or it can't keep its shit straight, you don't get to have a program. I really don't think it would be that difficult to fix this "problem" - it's really just a matter of the people who are in charge are the ones making the most from the current system, and so they're the least likely to want to change anything.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:50 PM on August 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


How about we just, y'know, pay the slave labor they call "players"?

Correct me if i'm wrong, but aren't those "players" going to college on sports scholarships? (there's a misnomer if there ever was one) Hence, they ARE getting paid. If they get paid, no scholarships at all should be given. I see no reason to give these people more than they are already given, and the whole sports/school thing should be separated, no good comes of this.
posted by usagizero at 1:50 PM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


To hell with college football. Let the NFL run its own minor league and get the colleges out of the sports business. (Same with basketball.)
posted by epersonae at 1:52 PM on August 17, 2011 [20 favorites]


Would Miami and Stanford even play against each other? I mean, go Cardinals and all, but to compare Miami's team to Stanfords in terms of the players isn't really reasonable.
posted by GuyZero at 1:52 PM on August 17, 2011


I'm not surprised that Yahoo could break a big story like this. It's been hiring former print journalists for the past few years to staff out various content-generating departments.
posted by wuwei at 1:52 PM on August 17, 2011


jeffmshaw: "Luther Campbell has a thoughtful and nuanced take on Nevin Shapiro and his "Little Luke" business"

I read the title and thought you were being snarky, but then I finished the article and realized you weren't. This was a good response from Campbell. I don't know if it's true, but it is a good response.
posted by I am the Walrus at 1:52 PM on August 17, 2011


Legitimate or not, the roster of the 2001 Miami Hurricanes was an unbelievable collection of talented college and future NFL football players.
posted by clearly at 1:54 PM on August 17, 2011


usagizero : Correct me if i'm wrong, but aren't those "players" going to college on sports scholarships?

One flaw in that - NCAA rules don't allow them to take a "real" job. And as for giving these kids a modest stipend for day-to-day expenses, that got laughed out of the coaches conference just this past spring.

I won't argue that a $200k scholarship counts as pretty sweet on its own merits (though I would point out that others get full scholarships without all the strings attached)
posted by pla at 1:54 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I mean, go Cardinals and all, but to compare Miami's team to Stanfords in terms of the players isn't really reasonable.

Stanford has spent the last few years consistently ranked higher than Miami. As a revenue-generator, Miami wins, but in terms of the quality of football the two teams put on the field, Stanford has been better.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:54 PM on August 17, 2011


Would Miami and Stanford even play against each other? I mean, go Cardinals and all, but to compare Miami's team to Stanfords in terms of the players isn't really reasonable.

heh - the last 2 years or so, and probably this year Stanford would crush the 'Canes
posted by JPD at 1:55 PM on August 17, 2011


Ack, sorry, meant to fill-in-that-blank before posting...

"that got Steve Spurrier laughed out of the coaches conference just this past spring."
posted by pla at 1:56 PM on August 17, 2011


GuyZero: "Would Miami and Stanford even play against each other? I mean, go Cardinals and all, but to compare Miami's team to Stanfords in terms of the players isn't really reasonable"

Last year Stanford finished 12-1 in the Pac-10, 2nd place behind Oregon.

Miami finished 7-6 in the ACC, tied with Boston College for 5th.
posted by I am the Walrus at 1:57 PM on August 17, 2011


And thus was my ignorance of college football completely outed.
posted by GuyZero at 1:57 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


As a revenue-generator, Miami wins

I'm not even sure that's true. Stanford plays in a better conference (so better TV deal) and fills its stadium on game days more than 'tha U.

Don't forget its not just football that is in trouble, the basketball team also has some pretty damning stuff. And the coach who is in pictures in the Yahoo story is the new head coach at Missouri.

Not to mention both the football and basketball coaches at Miami are new, and from outside the program, so those guys just got a huge issue to deal with.
posted by JPD at 1:58 PM on August 17, 2011


Would Miami and Stanford even play against each other? I mean, go Cardinals and all, but to compare Miami's team to Stanfords in terms of the players isn't really reasonable.

True. The Cardinal would crush the Canes under their heels these days.
posted by kmz at 1:58 PM on August 17, 2011


BTW, ESPN aired a pretty great doc on the death penalty on SMU in the 80s called Pony Excess. Highly recommended if you can track down a copy.

They also aired a doc on the Hurricanes in their heyday called The U that's supposed to be pretty good, but I haven't seen it.
posted by kmz at 2:01 PM on August 17, 2011


One flaw in that - NCAA rules don't allow them to take a "real" job.

This isn't actually true - during the season the don't have time for jobs, Technically during the summer they can take jobs, but historically the boosters gave them so many no-show jobs that the NCAA created record keeping standards so amazingly complex that most schools compliance departments just don't permitted it.

Also I think the "they get a full scholarship, that's payment enough" is a really poorly thought out argument. First of the the scholarship is just room, board, and books. A lot of D-1 athletes come from families that don't have spending money to spare, but unlike normal students, in exchange for that scholarship these men and woman basically work another full-time job in the form of practices. Even if they wanted to go out and get a job, the just don't have the time during the school year. Making this even worse is that most of these athletes - especially revenue sport athletes get pressured into programs of study that are the easiest, not those that interest them most, or will help them prepare for a non-sports career.

Its easy to see why these boosters bearing gifts are such a problem.

(Pony Excess and The U are both great. But once you've seen The U, this story won't be so shocking)
posted by JPD at 2:05 PM on August 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


And thus was my ignorance of college football completely outed.

It's okay. I just used Stanford as an example because it's a great school. Who wouldn't want to get a free education from an institution like that? But the same can be said of Notre Dame, Michigan, Northwestern, Washington, USC, UCLA, Berkeley, Virginia, North Carolina, on and on. I mean, I get it. A fraction of the guys playing college football will end up getting paid millions of dollars. Does that mean we get to discount the $200,000 grant that those players - and the vast majority of players who don't become pros - get for playing football in college? I think it's really disingenuous to say that college players "don't get paid."
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:06 PM on August 17, 2011


jeffmshaw: Luther Campbell has a thoughtful and nuanced take on Nevin Shapiro and his "Little Luke" business
I am the Walrus: I read the title and thought you were being snarky, but then I finished the article and realized you weren't. This was a good response from Campbell. I don't know if it's true, but it is a good response.
Are you guys kidding? That op-ed was terrible. It offered nothing of substance, and seemed to just be a series of insults. Luther Campbell came across as a former pimp/thug who was pissed he was outdone in the bling department. That was then capped off this end paragraph:
The NCAA shouldn't even waste any gas money on this guy. But the investigators have to do their due diligence. In the meantime, every UM fan should send a letter to Shapiro's prison warden and insist he remain in the general population.
which seems to imply very strongly: That's... that's "thoughtful and nuanced"?! Really?!
posted by hincandenza at 2:12 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


(A)H(W)O - agreed. But not everyone gets a full ride, not all sports generate revenue, and it is shitty that college athletes can't get any spending money. There are an awful lot who are competing but aren't on scholarship, and the regulations hit them pretty hard.
posted by caution live frogs at 2:15 PM on August 17, 2011


Give back the bowl revenue due to the cheating and take away potential bowl and tv revenue for some period into the future. Football at this level is much about money. Take away the incentive.
posted by caddis at 2:16 PM on August 17, 2011


Give back the bowl revenue due to the cheating and take away potential bowl and tv revenue for some period into the future. Football at this level is much about money. Take away the incentive.


Miami has wet dreams this is all they get. There is a better than 50% chance I'd say they have to give back the money and shut the whole thing down.
posted by JPD at 2:17 PM on August 17, 2011


The business of college football is definitely crooked as all get out. Yes it would probably be better if college players got some compensation for their work on top of their football scholarship. Most won't make the pros and many won't graduate with a degree. As such they probably deserve some compensation for the very real risks that they encounter. If you want to avoid a pay for play scenario just put their share of the money into some escrow account that they receive after leaving the university.

Being more above board with the compensation would just lend transparency to the proceedings. The current system just benefits a small number of elite schools and athletes because the risk (NCAA punishment) is less than the potential benefits (National Championships and the money associated with big bowl games not to mention the consequential boost in alumni giving).

Some schools like da U would still attract top tier athletes because of national exposure and the system they run but the benefits would be shared more evenly by the student athletes.
posted by vuron at 2:19 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Correct me if i'm wrong, but aren't those "players" going to college on sports scholarships?

Yeah, the swim teams have great graduation rates, and most of the players on the women's soccer team tend to, you know, show up to classes and possibly learn a few critical thinking skills, figure out how to write a paragraph and pick up enough math to balance a checkbook later in life.

Miami's graduation rate is actually a notably-decent-for-big-time-football 68%; your LSUs and your Arizonas tend to hover around 50%.* Once you break out the African-American players and their graduation rate, you realize that big time football is sucking up promising athletes, particularly young, driven African-American men, who could use an education more than pretty much anyone else in the country, placing them on elite college campuses, and doing everything short of barricading them in their dorms to keep them from actually learning anything.

Most football and basketball players, on the other hand, are sequestered in classes like "Pre-Algebra" and "Introduction to Criminal Justice I, Introduction to Criminal Justice II, and Introduction to Criminal Justice Independent Study" before they drop out, wash out, or tear a ligament so badly they can't walk, let alone tackle anyone or rope in a pass.

Most of the value in any college degree comes in finishing the damn thing, with some soft value in, you know, reading a book once in a while. The scholarships that big-time football schools hand out are, in both of those senses, very very close to worthless to at least half and probably significantly more than half, of the athletes who receive them.

*"But those guys all leave to go pro!" Percentage of college senior football players drafted to the NFL: 1.7%.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 2:32 PM on August 17, 2011 [13 favorites]


hincandenza: "Are you guys kidding? That op-ed was terrible. It offered nothing of substance, and seemed to just be a series of insults."

Campbell said he didn't support the multimillion dollar program, but he supported the players and the community. He disparaged Shapiro's ego centrism and self promotion, and extolled the virtues of community service and giving back.

That's pretty substantial and nuanced for the guy who made the song "Me So Horny"
posted by I am the Walrus at 2:32 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Correct me if i'm wrong, but aren't those "players" going to college on sports scholarships?

Most of them get 4 years full ride: Tuition, books, room & board. For those that go onto the pros, they're also getting training in their sport, and exposure to pro scouts which allowed them to make the jump.

They're being paid anywhere from $20K to $80K a year, depending on the costs of that school, plus the training and exposure perks, plus, if they choose to take advantage of it, they walk away with a four year degree.

You could argue that they're underpaid, but you *cannot* argue that they are not paid. For 17-21 year-old kids, they're paid quite well indeed. Stanford? Next year, Tuition $53,400 for all four quarters. UofMiami? $48,898 for tuition, fees, room and board.
posted by eriko at 2:50 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Most of them get 4 years full ride: Tuition, books, room & board.

They loan the books.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 2:53 PM on August 17, 2011


Aside: I went to a WELL KNOWN school in Georgia for a few years. It's kinda in the south (though not the SEC anymore hint hint) but is mostly reknowned for its academics instead of its athletics. Anyway, I was lucky enough to go to a pre-freshman year, very affordable I might add, summer prep program 'for' minorities. Turns out I was one of MAYBE 3 out of 100+ attendees that was not under a major athletic scholarship. We three were the clueless ones who slipped into what was essentially the summer training camp for basketball, track and field, and (of course) football stars. Anyway, long story short, within weeks of starting the school year I was seeing people I'd met and made friends with over the summer driving shiny new SUVs that they were 'leasing' for single digit dollars a month. On top of that they were in core class sections that weren't specifically labeled as for athletes but if you somehow managed to juggle your schedule and get into one of those few extra slots it was an order of magnitude easier to pass that bull crap English I, II or whatever course everyone must take.

Don't get me wrong, I'm ok with them getting assistance outside of the classroom in the form of tutors, aid money, etc. Those guys and gals work hard and often come from some pretty low SES backgrounds. But either legitimize the paying with monetary goods or squash it. Anything else is a farce.

Anyway, the moral I took away from that, as a college atheletics fan, was that if it happens at that school it IS happening at every other school of approximate size in the country. It's just a matter of who gets caught with their pants down (sometimes literally).

Don't even get me started on the Cam Newton stuff that's going on recently. I have some semi-inside information on that topic that says there's quite a bit more yet to come that can't really be swept under the rug for much longer.
posted by RolandOfEld at 2:55 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sure, Stanford ca. 2011 beats Miami easily. However, Miami has a track record of sending a helluva lot of NFL-caliber dudes into the pros.

There's nothing surprising at all about this to me.

Here's hoping the scam that is NCAA athletics dies soon. Pay the players a wage commensurate with the dollars they generate for their respective programs via tv contracts, ticket sales, and video game revenues.

Hell, go ahead and include tuition and board. That's still just a drop in the bucket compared to the revenue they create by sacrificing their bodies on an annual basis.
posted by bardic at 2:56 PM on August 17, 2011


That figure assumes they're using, and for that matter not being actively discouraged from using, the tuition they're supposedly being paid in. See Snarl Furillo above for reasons why that should not be assumed.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:58 PM on August 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


They loan the books.

Which means they pay, oh, $0 for them.

I vividly remember my shock at the $105 textbook that was required for a course that I signed up for -- and this was in 1986. According to a random inflation calculator that claims to be CPI based, that one book is $205 now. I think the average I paid was about $60 a class. Say four classes, wouldn't want to work them too hard -- that's $240 then, $470 now a semester, or damn near a grand extra in "loans"

Maybe books have gotten better, though.

Hey, do they "loan" them a computer as well?
posted by eriko at 3:00 PM on August 17, 2011


I'm curious, what does happen to the students who don't go on to a professional career? Do they all go on to become janitors, or drug addicts, or what? I'd be interested in reports that describe what percentage of these students go where.
posted by Melismata at 3:07 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not every college athlete is going to a $50k+ a year private school though.

An elite athlete going to UT is getting $9k - $10k for tuition, $10k for housing, and probably some ridiculous dollar value for food (football players pack away some serious food on the training table). Probably somewhere between $25k per year or $125k for five years of work assuming that they red-shirt.

This is for a program that makes over $60 million a year in profit and that's before the Longhorn network money gets added to the sum.

Mack Brown makes over $5 million a year coaching the team. I think players could be compensated a percentage of those revenues.
posted by vuron at 3:11 PM on August 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


They earn a lot of money for your school. They spend hour upon hour at practice, in games or on the road, time they could have used getting a job to pay for their living expenses. Pay them a freaking minimum wage.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:45 PM on August 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


With every new story like this I grow prouder of my alma mater.
posted by stargell at 3:54 PM on August 17, 2011


Correct me if i'm wrong, but aren't those "players" going to college on sports scholarships? (there's a misnomer if there ever was one) Hence, they ARE getting paid.

The problem is that from a free market perspective, the really good players—the Vince Wilforks and Devin Hesters and Willis McGahees who will go on to the NFL—are worth a lot more than they're getting in scholarship compensation. A guy who's getting $50,000 from his school in 2010, then turns around and signs a $5 million a year NFL contract in 2011 didn't suddenly become 100 times more valuable on the football market in the space of six months. His compensation has been artificially surpressed by the absurd pantomime of college regulations. Nevertheless, the market wants to pay these guys, and so the money oozes through the cracks, from boosters and agents and recruiters.

In an ideal world, the NFL would establish and fund a true minor league and draft these guys out of high school, as the pro leagues in baseball and hockey do. It's no coincidence that there's not nearly the scandal in those college sports. Athletes who want to earn money and don't want to attend college don't have to. But given the system as it now stands, in the pro football (and basketball) there's zero incentive to form a minor league. The NFL gets the colleges to develop its players for them, gratis.
posted by stargell at 4:09 PM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Being a Hokie, I approve.

Seriously, though, the money in the top ranks of college football is crazy. Calling any of it "amateur" requires ignoring the reality right in front of your face.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:24 PM on August 17, 2011


I'm a little confused as to why this is being taken as such a cataclysmic revelation. I mean, I know, "hey look, proof!" and all, but come on-- in this day and age, is there anyone left who doesn't assume that this is precisely what goes on in virtually every major college athletic program, let alone Miami football?
posted by dersins at 4:25 PM on August 17, 2011


news at 11.

Why do we even pretend that these are "student athletes"?
posted by tomswift at 4:30 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm curious, what does happen to the students who don't go on to a professional career? Do they all go on to become janitors, or drug addicts, or what?

I can't really answer that, but I will note that an informal survey of majors at Miami found that 23/23 minority football players with declared majors were majoring in "liberal arts". They're not exactly graduating-- if they graduated-- with marketable skills.
posted by norm at 4:38 PM on August 17, 2011


Snarl Furrilo: "Miami's graduation rate is actually a notably-decent-for-big-time-football 68%; your LSUs and your Arizonas tend to hover around 50%.*"

Oh man, Arizona just wishes they could hit 50%. Arizona's football program graduation rate was 41% in 2010 and that's not unusual for the last few years. The average for all Division IA schools is 67%. Miama was 75%. The aforementioned Stanford? 89%
posted by introp at 5:13 PM on August 17, 2011


Stanford is weird which is why I so badly mis-guessed their ability to play football. It's probably the only university in the US where the jocks gets pressured to be more like the nerds.
posted by GuyZero at 5:15 PM on August 17, 2011


Maybe this will get these young men straightened out and they can get the college education that they came to the University of Miami for in the first place.
posted by pianomover at 5:21 PM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


My alma mater achieved a 70-something-% graduation rate for its Division Ia athletes. It did this by creating several utterly useless majors (like Sports Management) and directing student athletes into those majors. Then it provided free tutoring for all those students. Want to take actual, useful classes? Fine, but if they conflict with your 40 hours a week of practice, you're off the team and lose your scholarship.

Athletic scholarships for big programs at big schools are a total joke. If they cared about the athletes, NCAA would require an 8-year scholarship, so athletes could go back to school after they're done playing football and actually learn something.
posted by miyabo at 5:36 PM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Correct me if i'm wrong, but aren't those "players" going to college on sports scholarships?

You're right, but the difference between what "real" students are charged for tuition the incremental cost of putting one more body in those classes is pretty severe, and nothing compared to the revenue these sports programs bring into the schools.

Further, the value of the academic student's degree is undermined every time an athlete is given a pass for classes they fail or just don't attend because they're busy training. I don't see any reason to think that a coach making a seven figure salary while the people playing the game and absorbing all the physical risk get comped some cheapened degrees is right or fair.
posted by mhoye at 5:39 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's real tough to feed anyone with scholarship money.
posted by Sphinx at 5:42 PM on August 17, 2011


Introp, I was actually surprised that Stanford was that high. They also have a fairly good record with African-American players. Notre Dame is another school mentioned up-thread that is doing well on both fronts.

I suspect the overall DI-A percentage is being pulled up by a few selective schools, like Stanford and Notre Dame, and the service academies (where I wonder if being involved in varsity sports might have a positive, rather than a negative, correlation with graduation). The grad rates top 10 is rounded out by schools that are respectable, though not necessarily powerhouses, at least right now.

Anyone who is interested in graduation rates in athletics can get the info from the NCAA here. I like the yearly breakdown from The Bootleg for quick reference.

Norm: From a web journalism standpoint, this is a major, major milestone.

dersins: I'm a little confused as to why this is being taken as such a cataclysmic revelation. I mean, I know, "hey look, proof!" and all, but come on-- in this day and age, is there anyone left who doesn't assume that this is precisely what goes on in virtually every major college athletic program, let alone Miami football?

I suspect these two things are related. I hope someone who follows college football journalism more closely than I do can chime in on the open secret/don't kill the goose that lays the golden egg/old guys who like being around big-time football look the other way/kill this story or you'll be covering girls' golf in Western Bumfuck by Tuesday factor in the whole thing, if those things are factors, and how that plays out in what gets covered. I would be interested to know more about Robinson, as well- was he the FIRST guy Shapiro thought to call, or was he the only person who would take Shapiro's calls?
posted by Snarl Furillo at 5:43 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


AN ABORTION YOU SAY

*monocle drops out*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:48 PM on August 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm the only person I know who managed to graduate from UM without ever going to a Hurricanes game

You've somehow confused this with "a reason my opinion counts".

They're being paid anywhere from $20K to $80K a year, depending on the costs of that school, plus the training and exposure perks

I've no idea what "exposure perks" means, but I think if you divide the number of DI football seniors by 30 x 7 (draft slots each year), you'll realize the value of the training and "exposure" needs to be tempered. Furthermore, the dollar figure you're quoting is the value of an education at a good school, which any number of these players aren't getting. Ask Robert Smith, the former Minnesota Vikings running back who tried to go to Ohio State pre-med what a big-time college program thinks of your educational opportunity.

They are being paid small beer to be gladiators. It's a cut-rate football league and they get paid Arena Football wages for generating NFL revenues.
posted by yerfatma at 5:48 PM on August 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Correct me if i'm wrong, but aren't those "players" going to college on sports scholarships? (there's a misnomer if there ever was one) Hence, they ARE getting paid. If they get paid, no scholarships at all should be given. I see no reason to give these people more than they are already given, and the whole sports/school thing should be separated, no good comes of this.

Apologies, but this statement reveals that you really don't have much of a grasp on the recruiting aspect of college sports. It's unbelievably cutthroat. Simply saying to a single top recruit, "You're getting a full ride at a fantastic university, so play for us and be happy with that," will plunge a team to the bottom of the rankings in an instant.

The players know the universities are making millions off of them, and anybody worth a damn is going to hold out until some flash comes his way under the table. It's just the nature of the game. Hypocrisy, yes. But it will continue until the players start getting openly compensated for their play.
posted by secondhand pho at 6:02 PM on August 17, 2011


Shalala is involved in a ponzi scheme...You`re kidding!
posted by Meatafoecure at 6:29 PM on August 17, 2011


I don't buy the argument that paying student athlete's would help in a case like this (I think it's a good idea for other reasons). The whole point of a booster giving cash/cars/drugs/etc to athletes is to give their program a competitive advantage. Come to the U and you'll get treated like a rock star. If the NCAA started paying players they'd give the same stipend across the board - every D-I football player gets $x per week. All you've done is raised the playing field. Boosters still have every motivation to provide the cash/cars/drugs/etc so as to make sure their football factory is the factory of choice.
posted by TheShadowKnows at 6:59 PM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Don't even get me started on the Cam Newton stuff that's going on recently. I have some semi-inside information on that topic that says there's quite a bit more yet to come that can't really be swept under the rug for much longer.

Yeah, everyone in the South has a friend who has a brother who mows the lawn of the assistant to the manager of the coffee shop that NICK SABAN drives by every morning who just KNOWS there's ALL SORTS OF STUFF THAT IS JUST GONNA COME OUT ANY DAY NOW ABOUT THE MONEY AND CAM NEWTON EATING BABIES and seriously NICK SABAN.

At this point, I really don't think it matters. The SEC fandom and Judge Finebaum have already judged, convicted, and executed Cam Newton. There is a tinge of racism in all this, though. There were similar rumors around Tebow and they were ignored because he was The Chosen One. Moment the Prodigal Son returns from Texas and outplays Tebow, all a sudden he's a Lying Cheating Shiftless You-Know-What.

The level of player payment and inducement in the SEC, especially at the two Bama schools, is obscene, but everyone is "keeping it down home, cuz" I think because there's a mutually-assured destruction aspect to it. At this point there's enough dirt on Florida and Georgia and Bama to put them on the death penalty, and hell, Auburn should probably already be on it. But everyone is nervous that all the truth will out. And then what?
posted by dw at 7:12 PM on August 17, 2011


AN ABORTION YOU SAY

Yes. The booster paid for an abortion after the prostitute he paid got pregnant during the encounter with the player. And he didn't tell the player that he had done so.
posted by norm at 7:35 PM on August 17, 2011


@dw: In paragraph order, my reaction to your response-

#1- Agree and it is aggravating but that doesn't make the valid things any less valid. The information I get from one or two friends has been proved right time and time again. You have to learn to separate the wheat from the chaff whether it's metafilter or the local newspaper or your friend down the street.

#2- Of course it doesn't matter, the good players go pro and no one cares in the long run. They could eat a baby in front of a ladies choir group and still get on to play in the pros if they have the skills, see Michael Vick for confirmation of such. Cry racist if you want, I wouldn't necessarily argue, but I'd still say that SES has a much larger impact on things than any other outside factor. Tebow's report card was cleaner but is that because it was really cleaner or because of the media selectively choosing what to cover/focus on? Like I said, the latter is possible but I think there's better examples out there to choose from if you want to go down that road.

#3 - Correct me if I'm wrong but I feel like you're basically agreeing with me. Except for limiting things to the SEC that is... Let me say that my first hand experience, as previously stated, was in a non-SEC, though just as large, school. That was my whole point in writing that up. Maybe it is one iota worse in the SEC but, really, in any competitive athletic program in the NCAA: it is happening. I think it makes some people feel better to cry "boo SEC, boo SEC" and assume other noses are clean as a whistle but posts like this, it being Miami and all (which is not a SEC team I might add, for those not in the loop) may go a little towards forcing the point home. Oh, Ohio State anyone?

The entirety of the NCAA needs to clean up it's act or pack up and go home. The entire concept of the 'student-athlete' is in dire straights and it would really suck to lose college athletics, but as it stands I'd rather see it go rather than limp on down the road of "let's exploit those athletes and expect them to keep perks and things under their hats so we can cheer and tailgate our asses off".

Here's a really good, if short, NPR article on the subject of the NCAA tightening up on athletic misconduct and roles. I'm not optimistic that anything will be implemented but I agree with pretty much every point that was brought up as talking points in said NCAA 2-day retreat. I'm thrilled to see scandals pop up at this point. Maybe it'll make the big shots think twice about making a move towards what really separates pro athletics from college athletics: education first, athletics along the way.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:00 PM on August 17, 2011


The SEC fandom and Judge Finebaum

Pawwl they're tryin' to frame the tahde Pawwl.

For anyone who wants a taste of big college football insanity listen to the live stream of the Paul Finebaum show. It will also reinforce every bad stereotype of the south, but hey gotta break some eggs sometimes.

And yes - every big time BCS program could get the death penalty. As I said to a friend of mine (I'm a Florida fan by dint of place of early childhood) "well Miami was doing this and still getting out recruited - what do you think the Gators were doing"

Basketball is even dirtier, but the rules of how its dirty are different.
posted by JPD at 5:08 AM on August 18, 2011


> "well Miami was doing this and still getting out recruited - what do you think the Gators were doing"

Excellent question. So I decided to collect the facts from Wikipedia:

2002 record 12-1 (7-0 Big East)

2003 record 11-2 (couldn't figure out which conference they played in or their conference record--there is no wikipedia article for the 2003 season)

2004 record 9-3 (5-3 ACC)
2005 record 9-3 (6-2 ACC)
2006 record 7-6 (3-5 ACC)
2007 record 5-7 (2-6 ACC)
2008 record 7-6 (4-4 ACC)
2009 record 9-4 (5-3 ACC)
2010 record 7-6 (5-3 ACC)

So it looks like they were doing all this trying to cling to the good old days of 2000-2001 and the 35 game winning streak. Since 2004 they have been a minor power but by no means an elite college football team. What Florida and Alabama and Louisiana State and Auburn have been doing is so far apparently covered up pretty tight.
posted by bukvich at 6:40 AM on August 18, 2011


the logic is a little more complicated than that - given with a few exceptions those teams recruit different areas. Most schools make up the bulk of their rosters (but sometimes not their stars) from a few hours driving distance from campus.

Florida, FSU and Miami historically recruit Florida hard and then go to other areas of the country for other special recruits. So yes, everyone cheats, but clearly Florida and to a lesser extent FSU were going directly against Miami for all of the years that this was going on.

I say lesser extent because FSU had some down recruiting years at the tail end of the Bowden years. Also historically there is enough talent in Florida for two superior teams, or one superior team and two ok/good teams, so if that holds, Miami getting in trouble should be a big win for its in state rivals.
posted by JPD at 6:54 AM on August 18, 2011


2003 record 11-2 (couldn't figure out which conference they played in or their conference record--there is no wikipedia article for the 2003 season)

6-1 Big East, based on their 2003 schedule at Yahoo Sports and the Wikipedia Big East timeline.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:12 AM on August 18, 2011


Four current college players implicated in the scandal, but playing at other schools, reportedly cleared to play by the NCAA. Columnist Matt Hinton comments,
Based on the reams of documentation and other corroborating evidence backing up the allegations, the only plausible stance that could absolve all of these cases is one that says either a) Violations committed at/on behalf of one school can't follow a player to another school (which should make future transfer stories an awful lot more interesting), or b) The statute of limitations on recruiting violations has been reduced from four years to two.

Otherwise, the NCAA would have to have devised a brand new strain of bureaucratic logic that somehow absolves these particular players of charges that would get almost anyone else declared ineligible and facing suspension or worse. But we know it would never resort to just making up the rules as it goes along.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:26 PM on August 18, 2011


or b) The statute of limitations on recruiting violations has been reduced from four years to two.

Taking this the opposite direction, the statute of limitations does not apply in the case of a a pattern of willful violations of NCAA rules.
posted by norm at 12:57 PM on August 18, 2011


#1- Agree and it is aggravating but that doesn't make the valid things any less valid.

Thing is, I read these stories, and all of them seem to be more wishful thinking than actual story. Did Cecil Newton get paid? Maybe. But the money is nowhere to be found, the "bagman" seems to be a figment of one guy's imagination, and the most obvious bankroller Bobby Lowder was essentially broke and cut off from Auburn at the time. It's entirely possible that Cam Newton's father got $200K, but the evidence seems really sketchy.

Cry racist if you want, I wouldn't necessarily argue, but I'd still say that SES has a much larger impact on things than any other outside factor. Tebow's report card was cleaner but is that because it was really cleaner or because of the media selectively choosing what to cover/focus on? Like I said, the latter is possible but I think there's better examples out there to choose from if you want to go down that road.

I think there's a lot of unspoken racism throughout SEC football. The way Andrew Zow was jerked around in his early years at Bama says a lot about that. It seems like in the SEC there's still a perception among the boosters that they're buying black boys like they're a commodity, while the white kids, well, they're all fine and upstanding and all that.

Regardless, SEC football is beyond religion now. It's everything great and everything horrible about the South, all the way down to the secrets and lies everyone tells themselves to keep from thinking about what a mess it's all become.

#3 - Correct me if I'm wrong but I feel like you're basically agreeing with me. Except for limiting things to the SEC that is...

Yeah, I think we basically do. I just see the problems as much deeper in the SEC because of the level of denial. Right now there's a lot of smoke around Bama, and there's a ton of stuff around Auburn that's completely unrelated to Cam Newton -- it's possible that UAB and Troy may be the only game in town come 2013. The Tennessee stuff is still coming out. The SEC might need to bring in Texas A&M and the Oklahoma teams just to have 12 teams again.

But it isn't just the SEC; it's the Big 10 and the Big XII and all the craziness at USC. It seems like the NCAA can't decide what it's supposed to do anyone -- it's given up on preventing, that's for sure.

Let me say that my first hand experience, as previously stated, was in a non-SEC, though just as large, school. That was my whole point in writing that up. Maybe it is one iota worse in the SEC but, really, in any competitive athletic program in the NCAA: it is happening. I think it makes some people feel better to cry "boo SEC, boo SEC" and assume other noses are clean as a whistle but posts like this, it being Miami and all (which is not a SEC team I might add, for those not in the loop) may go a little towards forcing the point home. Oh, Ohio State anyone?

My alma mater had its own debacle a few years ago, thanks to having a female kicker getting raped and a football coach who did his best to blame her for wearing too short a skirt. So yes, I know the cheating is wide and deep. And with the sheer amount of money involved in college football, cheating feels almost inevitable. I worry that college football is going to find itself where cycling is pretty soon -- that you can't believe any of it is true because only the cheaters prosper, and people start to lose interest.

The entirety of the NCAA needs to clean up it's act or pack up and go home. The entire concept of the 'student-athlete' is in dire straights and it would really suck to lose college athletics, but as it stands I'd rather see it go rather than limp on down the road of "let's exploit those athletes and expect them to keep perks and things under their hats so we can cheer and tailgate our asses off".

Here's a really good, if short, NPR article on the subject of the NCAA tightening up on athletic misconduct and roles. I'm not optimistic that anything will be implemented but I agree with pretty much every point that was brought up as talking points in said NCAA 2-day retreat. I'm thrilled to see scandals pop up at this point. Maybe it'll make the big shots think twice about making a move towards what really separates pro athletics from college athletics: education first, athletics along the way.

I think there are only three ways this gets better: The TV money evaporates, the NCAA enforcement committee gets some teeth and a backbone again, or the NFL sets up a developmental league separate from the NCAA that hobbles football the way the NBA and MLB have sucked talent out of college basketball and baseball. But I don't hold out hope for any of them.

I'm not sure how much longer college football can last in its current state. And it may take the NCAA finally getting the courage to put multiple major teams on the Death Penalty. SMU was Hiroshima to college football -- it scared the crap out of everyone. Miami is a slam dunk case, but let's see the NCAA drop it on Alabama or Auburn. I doubt they will. Miami is small potatoes compared to those two.
posted by dw at 9:14 PM on August 18, 2011


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