Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How Yahoo's story will affect hoops

Charles Robinson and Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports dropped a nuclear bomb on the University of Miami football program on Tuesday afternoon.

Its thoroughly and exhaustively reported, all stemming from the confessions of Nevan Shapiro, a former Miami booster currently incarcerated for his part in a Ponzi Scheme. (Those seem to be popping up everywhere these days, don't they?) With the exception of the Baylor basketball scandal involving Dave Bliss from 2003 and the SMU scandals that resulted in the football program receiving the death penalty in the late 1980's, this could very well be the biggest scandal in NCAA history.

The majority of Yahoo!'s report has to do with Miami's football program, but the basketball side is involved and could affect more than just the Hurricanes.

(The best part about Yahoo!'s story is that they broke down the violations committed by each person on their own separate page. Here are the four you want to pay attention to for hoops -- DeQuan Jones, Frank Haith, Jake Morton, and Jorge Fernandez.)

It starts with DeQuan Jones, who was a top 25 recruit nationally in 2008. Shapiro alleges that in the early summer of 2008, Jake Morton -- then a Miami assistant and now a member of the Western Kentucky coaching staff -- came to him saying that a member of Jones' family was demanding a $10,000 payment in order to ensure Jones would remained committed to the Hurricanes. Morton got the money from Shapiro and delivered it to the family without the knowledge of the player, according to Shapiro.

Frank Haith, then the head coach of the Hurricanes and now the first-year head coach at Missouri, was aware of the payment and later thanked Shapiro for putting up the money. That wasn't their only interaction, either. Shapiro took out Haith, Morton, and Jorge Fernandez -- then an assistant with Miami and now on the staff at Marshall -- on many occassions, sometimes to the same place as members of the Miami football team.

Fernandez was also involved in another potential violation. One of the nights that Fernandez was out with Shapiro he brought along Moe Hicks, the head coach of famed Rice High School in NYC and the program director for the NYC Gauchos, arguably the best AAU program out of NYC. Durand Scott, who is a rising junior on the Hurricanes, played for Hicks at Rice and was a member of the Gauchos program.

Hicks is now the Director of Basketball Operations at St. John's.

The Miami football program is in quite a bit of trouble, but the tentacles of the NCAA's investigation will also affect hoops in a major way. And not just at Miami. One player -- Jones -- is alleged to have been bought with the coaching staff's knowledge. Another player -- Scott -- played for an AAU and high school coach that was photographed being taken out, with Miami's coaching staff, and put on the tab of a Miami booster.

Miami and Missouri fans should be worried. There's a very good chance that Haith loses his job over this, and Jim Larranaga could not have been dealt a worse hand to try and rebuild Miami. Western Kentucky, Marshall and St. John's fans should track this investigation.

Who knows what else is going to turn up.

1 comment:

Jon said...

Can't imagine Haith making it through this with his job... what a mess.