Monday, August 22, 2011

?Canes who took Nevin Shapiro?s money may help pay for his bankruptcy

Making the morning rounds.

? And here come the lawyers. Dozens of former Miami players accused of accepting cash and other gifts from 'Cane booster and convicted Ponzi-schemer Nevin Shapiro may be legally obligated to pay the money back, according to an attorney representing the bankruptcy trustee overseeing Shapiro's now-defunct investment company. The company, Capitol Investments USA, is still facing more than $100 million in claims from investors bilked in the alleged Ponzi scheme that put Shapiro behind bars for 20 years.

"Certainly, we have reviewed the various reports regarding certain athletes receiving cash, gifts, and other benefits from Mr. Shapiro. We believe many of those fall under the bankruptcy code," said Miami-based attorney Gary Freedman, who declined to say whether any specific players could be subject to lawsuits. "We have an obligation to investigate and seek their recovery in adversary cases in bankruptcy court, where we feel it is warranted." [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

In the meantime, quarterback Jacory Harris (right), one of the 12 current 'Cane players implicated by Shapiro, showed up to this morning's practice wearing street clothes as "a player coach," but is expected to be back in pads this afternoon. [@ChrisFreet]

? Elsewhere in NCAA scandal... The NCAA has informed Central Florida that it's in the process of investigating multiple recruiting violations involving at least three high-profile athletes who have signed with UCF this year ? including the jewel of the incoming recruiting class in football, four-star quarterback DaMarcus Smith of Louisville, Ky. According to a New York Times report in April, Smith and a pair of unlikely basketball recruits from Atlanta and Indianapolis, respectively, all wound up in Orlando via the same middle man: Kenneth Caldwell, a 42-year-old Chicago resident with "a substantial criminal record" and "apparent ties to a prominent sports agency."

Caldwell, who has a son currently enrolled at UCF, reportedly talked up the school to the players and arranged for them to meet UCF coaches. DaMarcus Smith's high school coach told the Times in the spring that he had been "halfway waiting" for NCAA investigators to visit him since Smith was "harassed" into signing with the Knights by his mother in February. (For his part, Caldwell has consistently denied recruiting for UCF or anyone else.)

Note as the case moves forward that Central Florida football is already on NCAA probation for allegedly exchanging at least 300 impermissible phone calls and text messages with recruits between June 2007 and January 2009. [Orlando Sentinel, New York Times]

? Get well soon, part one. Boston College running back Montel Harris, the ACC's preseason Offensive Player of the Year with 4,408 all-purpose yards to his name over the last three seasons, is out for at least 3-to-4 weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his knee, likely sidelining him for at least the season opener against Northwestern. The knee is the same one Harris originally injured last November, when the prognosis for his recovery was also 3-to-4 weeks.

"I was very concerned about Montel in January. And I was very concerned about him in spring ball," said coach Frank Spaziani. "I was feeling a little bit better when he was feeling better and I was telling you guys he looked like his old self. Now I'm very concerned again. And I feel bad for him, because he's concerned, obviously." [Boston Herald]

? Get well soon, part two. Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, a second-team All-Big 12 pick in 2010 and a likely first-rounder in next year's NFL Draft, is out indefinitely with a pulled leg muscle, putting his status in doubt for the Cornhuskers' season opener against dreaded Tennessee-Chattanooga. "I don't have a crystal ball. He could. Who knows?" said coach Bo Pelini. "It's a pulled muscle. Everybody responds a little bit differently. He's doing a lot better than we thought he would be right now." [Associated Press]

? Tough break. Georgia safety Jakar Hamilton, a part-time starter in 2010, is out for the season with a stress fracture in his right ankle. Hamilton, a fairly hyped transfer from Georgia Military College last year, will be able to redshirt with a season of eligibility remaining in 2012. [Atlanta Journal Constitution]

? Not that Geno Smith. Alabama struck on the recruiting trail Wednesday with a verbal commitment from Atlanta cornerback Geno Smith, Rivals' No. 4 cornerback and No. 47 player overall in the 2012 class. The commitment is the Crimson Tide's 17th for 2012, and the third from a player ranked in Rivals' top 100. []

Quickly? A former Miami player accuses Nevin Shapiro of attempting to extort money. ? All of the U's problems started because it was in over its head financially. ? The Fiesta Bowl may be moving up by a few days. ? Tennessee has spent more than $300,000 in NCAA legal fees. ? Gary Patterson doesn't sound worried about his starting quarterback's sore shoulder. ? Chris Rainey has a beard and says mildly crazy things. ? Arkansas is actually selling shirts that say "We Didn't Come To Paint." ? And SEC athletic directors still ain't saying jack about Texas A&M.

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Matt Hinton is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.


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