WEDNESDAY BUZZ COLUMN
One reason the UM investigation has stretched 18 months is the NCAA continues to try to corroborate Nevin Shapiro’s allegations against 114 players, at least six coaches and others. Now, several people are disputing additional claims that Shapiro has made to the NCAA. The claims are not new but had not previously come to light. Among them:
### Shapiro, serving a 20-year sentence for running a Ponzi scheme, told the NCAA that then-UM coach Frank Haith asked Shapiro, who had contacts in the Miami Beach police department, to intervene when Jack McClinton was charged with DUI in Miami Beach before his senior season. Shapiro maintains he intervened on Haith’s behalf.
But McClinton’s attorney on the case, Dan Lurvey, said he had no interaction with Shapiro and never met him. He said the DUI charge was dropped “and I’m certain Nevin Shapiro was not involved” in achieving that.
### Shapiro alleged unspecified improprieties involving UM’s recruitment of basketball star John Wall, who played one year at Kentucky before turning pro. Shapiro claimed he met with UM coaches and Wall’s mentor and former AAU coach, Brian Clifton, at Shapiro’s home.
Clifton told us then-UM assistant coach Jake Morton introduced him to Shapiro during a visit to Miami – before Wall took his official visit to UM - and that Clifton and Morton went to Shapiro’s home. But Clifton said Shapiro “was not involved in John’s recruitment nor did he ever meet John.”
Clifton said UM was in the running for Wall, the nation’s top recruit in 2009, partly because of Clifton’s relationship with Morton – “Jake is a close friend” – and because “it’s not tough to sell South Beach to an 18-year-old. [But] John wanted to play for [Kentucky coach] John Calipari.”
Asked if UM committed any violations in recruiting Wall, Clifton said, “As far as I’m concerned, absolutely not.”
Asked if the NCAA has contacted him about UM’s recruitment of Wall, Clifton said, “I don’t know. Not sure. If they asked us a question, it wasn’t a major investigation.”
Clifton said, “We were supposed to be on the take and looking for money. John’s recruiting process was about as clean as anyone has ever been recruited. We didn’t talk to Miami or Kentucky about getting anything for John.”
Clifton said Morton “introduced me to Nevin because he happened to be around. It was a chance encounter on South Beach. Nevin name-dropped. He was portrayed as a mover and shaker, a guy with a lot of money with some influential friends.”
Clifton said he went inside Shapiro’s home with Morton – “we gained access to the house, saw the view from the balcony,” – but doesn’t remember if Shapiro was there.
“Nevin doesn’t feel like people came to his aid, and he’s trying to hurt guys who didn’t help him,” Clifton said.
Haith, now at Missouri, declined to comment on Shapiro’s claims about the McClinton case or Wall.
### Shapiro, who is not doing media interviews, alleged to the NCAA that two other UM boosters committed violations involving players. Shapiro alleged minor violations by Miami Beach attorney Matthew Krieger, who said he has done nothing wrong and that the NCAA has not contacted him.
The NCAA has poked around on this, but a close associate of Shapiro claimed no knowledge of wrongdoings by Krieger. The identity of the other booster is unknown.
"I would never buy anything for athletes,” Krieger said. “I was very aware of the rules. On a small number of occasions, I would be with Nevin. We ran in similar circles of friends.”
UM declined to comment on these allegations because the investigation is ongoing.
Make no mistake: The NCAA is very cognizant of Shapiro’s motives to damage UM and won’t punish UM for allegations that it has not corroborated. Some obviously have been, but some clearly have not been. And the investigation drags on, still many months from UM receiving its punishment.
### UM’s Al Golden said tackle Seantrel Henderson is not there yet but “knocking on the door” to beating out Malcolm Bunche or Ereck Flowers for a starting job… With UM having only one sack in two games (from Anthony Chickillo) and Chickillo facing frequent double-teams, Golden on Tuesday implored Eddie Johnson, Kelvin Cain and Gabe Terry to provide more pass-rush.
### UM people believe Saturday’s Kansas State game never should have been played and won’t schedule those types of games again (non-conference road games against Top 25-caliber, NON-marquee teams that aren’t played in UM recruiting areas). Miami will gladly play a Florida and Nebraska and Notre Dame - which are on future schedules - because they are marquee games that would be nationally televised in an attractive time slot, as Notre Dame-UM is this season (7:30 p.m. Oct. 6, NBC). But UM doesn't want two particularly difficult non-conference games in the same season going forward.
### Yahoo! reported the Heat is signing 6-6 guard Garrett Temple to a non-guaranteed contract. He will be an underdog in competition with Terrel Harris for, likely, one roster spot. Undrafted out of LSU in 2009, Temple averaged 3.8 points and shot 37.9 percent in 51 NBA games for four teams over two seasons. He spent last season in Italy...
Also Tuesday, the Heat auditioned 7-foot center Hassan Whiteside, who was drafted 33rd by Sacramento in 2011 after leading the NCAA in blocked shots as a senior at Marshall. He appeared in 19 games for the Kings the past two seasons, averaging 1.6 points and 2.2 rebounds in just 6.1 minutes per game.
### No surprise: Of the 17 passes thrown against a Dolphins defensive back Sunday, 11 had bad results for Miami (reception or defensive pass interference), with Richard Marshall victimized five out of seven times. And Miami’s shaky defensive back depth wasn’t even exposed because the Texans used very few three-receiver sets, which meant Miami didn’t use fourth corner R.J. Stanford or fourth safety Troy Nolan on defense and gave only five defensive snaps to Nolan Carroll and eight to Jimmy Wilson, who were beaten for 24- and 30-yard gains by Andre Johnson on the only balls thrown at them….
The Dolphins are thrilled how Koa Misi (11 tackles Sunday) has responded to his new linebacker position, which he says allows him to freelance more and use his sideline-to-sideline speed. "He didn't do everything perfect, but Koa Misi came to play and it showed in everything he did," defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said. "He played with great tenacity, flew around the field."
### The Marlins will renew efforts this winter to trade Heath Bell, aware they probably will need to eat some of the $18 million he is still owed through 2014. They’re fed up with his performance and what they perceive as excuse-making.