Holes to fill for Auburn
You’ll find a difficult time finding someone who doesn’t yell “War Eagle!” in public who thinks the Auburn Tigers will repeat as national champions. Or Southeastern Conference champions. Or even SEC West Division champions. SEC media members picked Auburn to finish fifth in their six-team division. The Tigers return only six starters. Among those lost were last season’s biggest playmakers: Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Cam Newton and defensive tackle Nick Fairley. “I don’t know that you can replace a Cam Newton or Nick Fairley in terms of production right away,” coach Gene Chizik said. “I would say anybody would be hard-pressed to do that.”
Hurricanes Scandal Casts Cloud Over College Football
With the college football season due to begin in about a week, all eyes now rest on the University of Miami.
Some players on the Hurricanes football squad are under investigation for allegedly receiving lavish gifts from Nevin Shapiro, a Florida man sentenced this summer to 20 years in prison for overseeing an unrelated, $930 million Ponzi scheme linked to his purported wholesale grocery-distribution business. (Here’s a Dow Jones report on the Ponzi scheme.)
For months, NCAA officials have been investigating claims that Shapiro provided players with cars, money, and even prostitutes between 2002 and 2010, according to this AP report on the scandal. A grab bag of articles about the matter can be found here on Yahoo Sports, which broke the news of the investigation.
One interesting wrinkle to the case is that a bankruptcy trustee, who is attempting to pay back victims of the Shapiro Ponzi scheme, could seek claw backs against any players who received gifts from Shapiro, the Miami Herald reports.
Miami attorney Gary Freedman, who represents the trustee Joel Tabas, told the Herald he believes “many of these [gifts] fall within the definition of fraudulent transfers” and that his firm has “an obligation to investigate and seek their recovery” from the Miami players.
“Certainly, we do not desire to bring additional attention to these athletes through this process and would urge them to contact our office,” he said.
Monday, University of Miami president Donna Shalala released this video statement on the matter. “The past eight days have been difficult,” she said.
“The allegations leveled against current and former Miami coaches and student athletes are serious, and we are treating them with urgency,” Shalala said. “The NCAA has instructed us not to comment on specific details of the investigation.”