According to the Miami Herald, the NCAA is investigating claims that ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro gave gifts and services, including the use of a yacht, to University of Miami athletes while they were still attending the University.
Newly hired head coach Al Golden confirmed that the program was being investigated, telling reporters, "I'm as surprised as all of you and I am learning and gathering information just as you are."
According to USA Today, Shapiro is cooperating with the NCAA's probe. He is currently serving a 20 year sentence after admitting to defrauding investors between $50 and $100 million.
The University released an official statement on the matter Tuesday morning.
"When Nevin Shapiro made his allegations nearly a year ago, he and his attorneys refused to provide any facts to the University of Miami. The University notified the NCAA Enforcement officials of these allegations. We are fully cooperating with the NCAA and are conducting a joint investigation. The University of Miami takes these matters very seriously."
Although most outlets are reporting that Shapiro donated $150,000 to the Miami Athletic Department, according to a story by the Miami Herald last year, Shapiro claims to have donated $300,000. This is consistent with what is listed on the University's website, where in 2005 Shapiro was recognized as an "Honor Roll" pledge for donating between $250,000-$499,999 to the University. He was also recognized on the website again in 2008 for donating between $10,000 and $49,999 to the University.
The last high-profile punishment for improper benefits handed down by the NCAA occurred last year, when they ruled that former Heisman trophy running back Reggie Bush was guilty of violations. As a result, the NCAA banned USC from post-season play for two years and forced them to forfeit more than 20 scholarships.
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