Boom. That explosion you just heard coming from South Beach and nearby environs had nothing to do with Texas A&M, Mike Slive or Mark Emmert. No, it was Yahoo Sports’ Tuesday release of a penetrating and ultimately damning piece exposing a long-term, sustained pattern of NCAA lawlessness, “some of it with the knowledge or direct participation of at least seven coaches from the Miami football and basketball programs.” While the majority of the allegations and claims made by currently imprisoned Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro involves the football program, former Hurricane head coach Frank Haith, former assistants Jorge Fernandez and Jake Martin, and current senior basketball player, DeQuan Jones, were all named as having benefited or been involved in some capacity (click the links on their names to see the specific allegations and evidence against them). Notwithstanding the mess that new Miami coach Jim Larranaga has now stepped into down in Coral Gables, all three of Missouri (Haith), Western Kentucky (Morton), and Marshall (Fernandez) must all be wondering what kind of damage control they’re going to need to employ in order to keep the NCAA from roosting on their doorsteps. Haith has already denied any allegations relating to Shapiro, for whatever that’s worth. Certainly the NCAA is already on its way to south Florida, and depending on what else they uncover, Hurricane basketball could be in serious trouble (although not nearly to the extent of the football team).
From the last-thing-on-anyone’s-mind department at the U, there was also a Tuesday announcement that DePaul freshman guard Shane Larkin, the son of former Cincinnati Reds baseball star Barry Larkin, is transferring to Miami to be closer to home (Orlando) because of an unnamed medical condition. Since he already took part in summer coursework and preseason practices at DePaul before the Blue Demon team went to France this month, he’ll either have to sit out the 2011-12 season in Coral Gables or apply for and receive a medical waiver from the NCAA to play this year. Larkin is already taking some heat from those who believe his “condition” is a mere smokescreen so he can get out of Chicago without penalty, but given what’s going on at Miami right now, he may want to reconsider. Undoubtedly new head coach Jim Larranaga, whose program cannot help but feel some of the heat and fallout from this scandal, would be happy to have him on the court this coming season.
We alluded yesterday to the fact that the vast majority of the top players in the Class of 2012 remain uncommitted. Jeff Goodman points out that this is an anomaly in an environment where kids have usually been locked and loaded to a specific school for quite a bit of time at this point. Whatever the reason for this year’s weirdness (15 of last year’s top 25 were committed at the same point), Goodman is correct in noting that the coming months of September and October will be an all-out war among schools trying to impress the top prospects with on-campus visits in the hopes of getting a verbal and, subsequently, a John Hancock during the November 11-17 signing period.
Horrible story from down south this week involving a Sun Belt and Southland Conference referee who apparently committed suicide after learning that his wife had been murdered at their home in Houston. Troy Raymond, a long-time NBA and college basketball official with a good reputation for his on-court skill set, was found in a hotel room in New Orleans on Friday only a few hours after his wife’s strangled body was discovered a few hours west. There appears to be much more to this story, though, as CBSSports.com reported that his wife had recently asked him for a divorce and that at least one conference had recently informed him that he would not be brought back to officiate next season. You hate to speculate as to what might have happened because two lives are already gone and assuredly countless others impacted, but let’s cross our fingers and hope against hope that it wasn’t the unthinkable.
Last week we thought that Swiperboy, a/k/a Tennessee forward Renaldo Woolridge, had decided to hang up his microphone for good, but according to his blog in a post called “You really thought I was done?”, he now claims he was misinterpreted. The new story is that his upcoming mixtape, Zazzzle, will in fact be his last; but, he has no plans to give up rapping and he expects his first studio album “Crossover” to drop in stores next spring. Say what you like about Swiperboy, but he’s already got down the dramatic essence of becoming a hip-hop superstar — always leave them wanting more. He also seems to enjoy rapping about his environment, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, although what America (and RTC) really wants to hear is a “Hit ’em Up” missive on his former coach, Bruce Pearl. For now, we’ll have to settle on his new single, “Teach Me How to Dooley,” a song dedicated to Derek Dooley, UT’s head football coach [ed note: is that pool located at Pearl’s house currently for sale?].