If you thought that the saga concerning the University of Miami and the NCAA couldn’t get any stranger, you were sorely mistaken.
In a story reported by the Associated Press, former NCAA investigator Ameen Najjar penned a letter two years ago on the behalf of former Miami booster, and focal point of the investigation, Nevin Shapiro. The mind-blowing part is that Najjar even made a suggestion of Shapiro working for the NCAA in the future. Shapiro, as we know, was sentenced to prison on securities fraud and money laundering charges. But, apparently, not before a member of the NCAA investigative team recommended him for employment.
In the letter, Najjar cited Shapiro’s depth and knowledge concerning boosters associated with the athletic programs. Well, yeah, this is pretty much stating the obvious. It’s abundantly clear that he knows how the ‘booster program’ works. Just ask the number of former Miami players who enjoyed some free time on his yacht.
This tidbit of information we learned tonight, unfortunately, opens up more questions about this whole drama. The relationship between Shapiro and the NCAA has already been called into question, and now those questions dig that much deeper. While it’s a possibility that Najjar was just a corrupt man looking to help out one of his own, the doubt still remains.
Najjar also hinted at instances in which Shapiro helped the NCAA with investigations of other institutions. The programs were not specified in the letter, but this is still a piece of information that should be taken very seriously, considering the circumstances.
Where this saga ends, I’m not even certain at this point. However, with every bit of twisted information that’s released anymore, the integrity of the National Collegiate Athletic Association suffers yet another crushing blow. That is, what ever integrity they possessed to begin with.