2015] FROM OFF THE BENCH 1287
In October 2013, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”)
finally meted out its punishment to the University of Miami (“Miami”) after a
two-and-a-half-year investigation of “recruiting inducements and extra
benefits” in the school’s athletic program.1 The penalties consisted of a three-
year probation, a decrease of 12 scholarships for the football and basketball
teams, and consequences for other sports, in addition to the punishments
Miami already self-imposed.2 Despite this severity, the NCAA would likely have
imposed even more, if not for getting in its own way.3
In 2011, Nevin Shapiro, who a federal court later sentenced to 20 years
in prison for his $930 million Ponzi scheme,4 wrote to the NCAA from his jail
cell to report his previous involvement as a Miami booster in offering
improper benefits to Miami student-athletes, coaches, and prospective
student-athletes.5 After uncooperative witnesses held up its investigation, the
NCAA Enforcement Staff resorted to paying Shapiro’s attorney to leverage his
federal bankruptcy depositions and obtain information for the NCAA’s own
purposes.6 Regardless of the potential abuses, investigators purposefully
evaded legal advice when they involved Shapiro’s attorney in the name of a
resourceful solution to their beleaguered investigation.7 This and other
1. NCAA DIV. I COMM. ON INFRACTIONS, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI PUBLIC INFRACTIONS
REPORT 1, 63–74 (2013), available at http://hurricanesports.com/fls/28700/files/MiamiReport
2. KENNETH L. WAINSTEIN ET AL., REPORT ON THE NCAA’S ENGAGEMENT OF A SOURCE’S
COUNSEL AND USE OF THE BANKRUPTCY PROCESS IN ITS UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI INVESTIGATION 63,
67 (2013), available at http://www.kmbc.com/blob/view/-/18593534/data/1/-/8qjf7s/-/
NCAA-report-pdf.pdf; see also Sanctions Levied Agai nst Miami (Fla.), NCAA (Oct. 23, 2013, 4:11
3. Steve Eder, After Long N.C.A.A. Inquiry, Miami Loses 12 Scholarships, N.Y. TIMES (Oct. 22,
penalties.html (quoting an Ohio University professor who suggested that because of the NCAA’s
mistakes, Miami had a “trump card” against more severe penalties).
4. United States v. Shapiro, 505 F. App’x 131, 131–32 (3d Cir. 2012).
5. WAINSTEIN ET AL., supra note 2, at 10. Shapiro recounted to Yahoo! Sports that he spent
millions of dollars on Miami athletes to provide cash; travel expens es; entertainment at
restaurants, mansions, yachts, nightclubs, and strip clubs; bounties for injuries to opposing
players; and even prostitutes and an abortion. Charles Robinson, Renegade Miami Football Booster
Spells Out Illicit Benefits to Players, YAHOO! SPORTS (Aug. 16, 2011, 5:37 PM), http://sports.yahoo.
6. WAINSTEIN ET AL., supra note 2, at 7, 34.
7. Id. at 15, 32–37, 50.