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Thoughts on Miami

I was five minutes into editing some Miami Vice images, trying to come up with a funny splash image for a "Talking Bull" post when it struck me, This is not funny. This is infuriating! So no funny images, no jokes about Al Golden, nothing like that.

I loathe Miami, perhaps it's a childhood spent hating the Dolphins, maybe its just because the Hurricanes edged out Notre Dame for the title in the very year when the Irish beat them (I hate BC for that season as well). For whatever the reason my general contempt for Miami has been entirely focused on the Hurricanes for quite some time, but even I can take no joy in whats going on in Florida.

No matter how much I may dislike the Canes I like the idea of college athletics. The chance for a kid to ride his God given athletic gift to a free education, how amazing is that. That some kids who may have needed that hand can fulfill the dream of graduating from one of the best institutions in the nation, gratis, it goes beyond the sports. The whole thing is amazing and its why NCAA sports beat the pants off of the pros. Miami, this decade, has done it's damnedest to pervert that.

Nevin Shapiro, a University of Miami booster,  told Yahoo! Sports he provided countless impermissible benefits to at least 72 athletes during the past decade. 

Shapiro described a sustained, eight-year run of rampant NCAA rule-breaking, some of it with the knowledge or direct participation of at least seven coaches from the Miami football and basketball programs. At a cost that Shapiro estimates in the millions of dollars, he said his benefits to athletes 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. -- Yahoo

This dwarfs any ethical lapse by a college program during my 35 years on this earth. It makes Pryors Tats look like a jaywalking ticket and USC's mid decade decadence look like a parking ticket.

Before you get too concerned that we are jumping the gun here consider that Yahoo did its homework

Yahoo! Sports audited approximately 20,000 pages of financial and business records from his bankruptcy case, more than 5,000 pages of cell phone records, multiple interview summaries tied to his federal Ponzi case, and more than 1,000 photos. Nearly 100 interviews were also conducted with individuals living in six different states.

Shapiro is rightly in Jail, It might be for unrelated issues but he is where he deserves to reside. Yet he should not, be alone. A host of despicable individuals acted as leeches, sucking the blood, and if they could the very marrow, from the souls of young men. They started this when the players were just kids in high school and continued well past their playing days at Miami.

At the height of his involvement he was palming money to adolescent kids, effectively buying them as if they were cattle to be herded. A thousand dollars here, sporting tickets there, he removed any chance that these kids would base their decision on their future. He and his ilk retarded the emotional and ethical maturity of countless children.

Once they arrived on campus it was TV's, more tickets, more money, parties on luxury yachts. Kids trading away their dignity for trappings that they would have been fine without, that they mave have been worse off with. He paid for sex with strippers and he paid for the ensuing abortions.

The final station on the slaughterhouse floor was driving these players to professional agencies where he could further exploit them. Consider that by the time he went to jail he, and the others involved, had been taking advantage of some kids for almost half of their lives.

Shapiro  was a partner in Axcess Sports & Entertainment while he qualified as a booster. This is the same company that signed two first-round picks from Miami, Vince Wilfork and Jon Beason, among dozens of other players. The whole time Shapiro was, by his own admission, providing cash and benefits to players.

It gets worse, far worse, but I am not inclined to put it all here. Many other writers who are both more eloquent and far closer to the program will run through the charges and ample evidence in the days to come. I just feel like someone stuck a daggar in my back and needed to vent.

I don't even like Miami, how much worse for the students, fans, employees, and majority of the athletes at the U who were clean. Sadly no number of clean players can redeem a program so far gone. If this did indeed all happen while the University administration knew, or should have known, then the NCAA needs to take the most severe action that it is permitted to.

But if the death penalty is in the bylaws, it must be on the table here. Practically speaking, if this isn't a death penalty case, then the death penalty no longer exists. -- Doctor Saturday

No vacated games, or lost titles, or scholarship reduction. Whatever the NCAA does needs to make the punishment of SMU look like a quick trip to the timeout chair. I'm sorry, I'm really sorry for all the people in that Athletic department who were clean. You deserved better than to play second fiddle to a football program that may have been sowing the seeds of your eventual destruction.