There is one thing University of Miami President Donna Shalala and convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro can agree on: neither holds a particularly favorable opinion of the NCAA's enforcement division.
Sports Illustrated published a thorough examination of the NCAA's enforcement activities, with a particularly deep look at its investigation of Shapiro's allegations that he provided $170,000 worth of impermissible benefits to Miami football players between 2002 and 2010.
Interviewed from a federal prison in Louisiana, where he is serving a 20-year sentence for running a $930 million Ponzi scheme, Shapiro shared plenty of thoughts with SI.
"I thought I was dealing with the FBI," Shapiro told SI. "Instead I was dealing with a bunch of clowns. I gave the NCAA the body, the weapon and the DNA evidence on a platter, and they found a way to screw this up."
Shapiro said the black eye the NCAA revealed in its handling of the UM case prevented it from investigating other claims of his, most notably that he used inside information to place winning bets on 23 UM football games from 2005 to 2009. Shapiro said the information came from UM players, coaches and staff, and some knew exactly what he was doing with that information.
According to SI, Shapiro wrote in April to Jonathan Duncan, the NCAA's head of enforcement, "For the NCAA to come even remotely close to botching this investigation is disgraceful and I will not allow my credibility to be destroyed by your group's incompetence."
Duncan replaced Julie Roe Lach, who was fired after it was revealed NCAA investigator Ameen Najjar used testimony from Shapiro's personal bankruptcy case as evidence in the UM case, paying Shapiro's lawyer to obtain information in depositions of former UM players who would not answer the NCAA's questions.
But at least she and Shapiro share some antipathy towards the NCAA. In February, she said of the NCAA, "the lengthy and already flawed investigation has demonstrated a disappointing pattern of unprofessional and unethical behavior."
The NCAA is unlikely to do anything about Shapiro's newest claims. He went to SI with them in hopes of convincing the federal government to investigate them, convinced that they will find other crimes that implicate UM. Shapiro thinks he can get his own prison sentence reduced if the feds step in.
It is a Hail Mary pass of a plan, but that is his only real hope, as his own credibility has continually come into question.
Retired NCAA investigator Rich Johanningmeier, who conducted 50 hours of interviews with Shapiro for the NCAA, told SI, "To us it's not relevant if he has an ax to grind. The point is, What are your facts and are they correct? Nevin falls into that category."
"Is he basically telling a true story? Yes. Is there some embellishment? Yes too."
Shapiro still has no sympathy for the program on which he once bestowed thousands of dollars. He claims he can "make a point and run [Shalala's] football players into ineligibility" with a few phone calls from prison, adding, "I could prove my point if I had to."