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Saturday 6 p.m. Heat update;SI preparing UM/NCAA expose; Shapiro makes another allegation

Please see the last post for a Saturday Heat update from the NBA FInals


With the University of Miami just days away from its hearing in front of NCAA’s infractions committee, two sources confirmed to The Miami Herald that Sports Illustrated is in the final stages of writing an expose about the NCAA and its investigation into the school’s athletics program, including not-previously-published allegations from former UM booster Nevin Shapiro.

Shapiro told SI that he used inside information obtained from UM coaches to gamble on Hurricanes football games, according to the sources.

Shapiro alleged that coaches shared with him information --- such as whether a particular injured player would be available to play --- in at least two games, including in 2005 and a 2007 game against North Carolina, which UM lost, 33-27.

According to a third source, the NCAA previously investigated Shapiro’s gambling claims but found no concrete evidence and did not make any allegations regarding gambling in UM’s Notice Of Allegations.

That frustrated Shapiro, who believed the NCAA did not adequately investigate his claims involving the matter.

In general, any school and involved coaches might be at risk of NCAA punishment if it was determined that they gave inside information to a booster with the knowledge it would be used for gambling purposes.

Shapiro was friendly with several former UM assistants, but it’s unclear which, if any, of the coaches will be named by Sports Illustrated.

It’s also unclear how the release of the story would affect the case, if at all. The NCAA might choose to ignore the SI report. Re-opening the investigation would seem unlikely, because the NCAA already has explored the gambling allegation and found nothing.

Shapiro had a serious gambling problem – he has said he lost $9 million gambling on sports. He paid substantial fees to a high-profile South Florida sports handicapper, Adam Meyer, for his advice on game picks.

In 2011, Meyer agreed to return $900,000 in payments from Shapiro to a bankruptcy court trustee seeking to repay Shapiro’s investment victims, according to public records.

A UM contingent led by president Donna Shalala will appear before the infractions committee on Thursday through Saturday in Indianapolis. During the hearing, UM will defend itself and answer questions from the eight committee members hearing the case.

Five former UM coaches – Clint Hurtt and Aubrey Hill (football) and Frank Haith, Jorge Fernandez and Jake Morton (basketball) – also will be in attendance with their attorneys to respond to the NCAA’s charges against them.

UM, which already has self-imposed two football bowl bans, expects to learn later this summer or fall whether it will receive additional sanctions. After a hearing, the NCAA typically takes anytime between six weeks and four months before issuing sanctions.

Shapiro, serving a 20-year sentence for running a $930 million Ponzi scheme, told The Miami Herald last month that he would soon unleash a “Category 5 tsunami” against UM and implied he would make new allegations.

UM has been highly skeptical that he would cause the program any additional harm, based on the belief that he told the NCAA everything he had to tell in 2011 and 2012.

Before going to the NCAA with numerous allegations against UM in March 2011, Shapiro said he was angry that numerous UM people – including coaches and players – turned their back on him after he was arrested.

“I can assure you that this will not be the last of this story from my end,” Shapiro told The Herald recently, declining to discuss the allegations he shared with Sports Illustrated.

Sports Illustrated's timing on this story, which is expected to be released very soon, will be questioned because of the hearings next week. After all, this was the same magazine that once called for UM to drop football.

Two prominent SI reporters have been working on the story, and it will be interesting to see how much the magazine prints of what UM has dubbed Shapiro's "jailhouse tales."

SI also is expected to write about how the NCAA mishandled the case.

Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

(My thanks to Herald colleague Jay Weaver for his contributions to this story.)