University of Miami Sports Supposedly Up to Its Old, Corrupt Tricks

Plus: the Yankees will do what it takes to protect their brand

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Today in sports: the Yankees are suing, the University of Miami athletic department is facing incredible accusations from a former booster, and an NFL kicker is $3.7 million less wealthy, thanks to (an alleged) Ponzi schemer. 
  • Former University of Miami booster Nevin Shapiro, currently in prison for his participation in a $930 million Ponzi scheme, has detailed his role in "a sustained, eight-year run of rampant NCAA rule-breaking" that provided "at least 72 athletes" on the school's football and basketball teams with "thousands of impermissible"  benefits. These benefits "included but were not limited to cash, prostitutes, entertainment in his multimillion-dollar homes and yacht, paid trips to high-end restaurants and nightclubs, jewelry, bounties for on-field play (including bounties for injuring opposing players), travel and, on one occasion, an abortion." What's more, Shapiro says this all happened "with the knowledge or direct participation of at least seven coaches from the Miami football and basketball programs." Over the course of Yahoo's 11-month investigation,"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." The NCAA had no comment on the report, but a Miami spokesman says the school has been cooperating with an NCAA's probe into Shapiro's comments about improper benefits, some of which were made to federal investigators. [Yahoo! Sports]
  • Oklahoma State University megadonor T. Boone Pickens had a simple message for Texas A&M last night as the school continues to mull a possible move to the Southern Conference. "Stay home." The billionaire made the comments at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony, telling reporters A&M would be effectively "moving out of Texas when they do that and I don't think that's a smart deal." In the end, Pickens doesn't believe the move from the Big XII will actually happen, because "Aggies are very spirited guys," which is a nice way of saying they get all worked up about doing something but rarely follow through. If they do leave, and a Big XII crack-up ensues (possible, since the conference would have just nine member schools), he thinks Oklahoma State and Oklahoma will be tied together. "We're kind of a stick together crowd in this state," Pickens explains. [The Oklahoman]

  • San Francisco 49ers kicker David Akers told a federal jury in Austin that from he lost $3.7 million to an alleged Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Austin’s Triton Financial from 2007 through 2009. If there's a silver lining, it's that Akers just signed a new three-year/$9 million contract this offseason [Austin Legal]
  • For anyone in doubt that sports, along with being a reminder of our capacity for greatness, can also be greedy and stupid, check out Deadspin's crack work investigating how the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball Properties used their legal muscle to try and ban two t-shirt vendors from trademarking the phrase "Baseball's Evil Empire," which they used to sell their non-official Yankee shirts. [Deadspin]
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