Thursday, February 20, 2014

University of Miami: Nevin Shapiro Athletic Scandal (2003-2011)

University of Miami logo

Young Athletes are taken advantage of everyday because of their abilities on the playing field. Where most people want to see them succeed, some take advantage of these young college athletes in order to benefit from there success. This is where a person like Nevin Shapiro shines, during his time at “University of Miami booster Shapiro was involves in a $930 million Ponzi scheme”(Robinson) that involved at least “72 division one college athletes between 2002 and 2010”(Robinson). Shapiro ran an eight year run of breaking NCAA rules involving the participation and knowledge of six coaches not only from Miami football team but there basketball program as well. The men were “Clint Hurtt, Jeff Stoutland and Aubrey Hill on the football staff, and Frank Haith, Jake Morton and Jorge Fernandez on the basketball staff.” (Robinson) Shapiro won over players with not only cash benefits, but prostitution, homes, yachts, paid trips, clothing and jewelry, bounties for on the field play, and on one occasion and abortion. At the same time Shapiro worked with Axcess Sport and Entertainment, an agency that signed two well know NFL athletes Vince Wilfork, and Jon Beason. He used money as a recruiting tool for this agency and even gave Wilfork $50,000 on the behalf of Axcess. During this investigation 20,000 pages of financial business records were audited, including 5,000 pages of cell phone records, and almost 100 interviews. This brought on evidence that Shapiro “misappropriated nearly $83 million in investor funds with a fraudulent grocery distribution business. And it was Shapiro’s cooperation in his Ponzi case which encompassed both fraud and money laundering, which opened the door to his conduct at Miami” (Robinson). Throughout his Ponzi scheme Shapiro “broke NCAA rules while simultaneously making tens of thousands of dollars in annual contributions to Miami's athletic program. All while incurring massive bills aligning himself socially with a stable of Miami players” (Robinson). While doing so he aligned himself with top athletes like Andre Johnson, Devin Hester, Kellen Winslow, Jon Beason, and Wilfork. Shapiro brought these players and many more under his wing once throwing parties at expensive hotel that included prostitutes and sometimes these parties were “invite only” and he would register under the fake name Teddy Dupay. After a while he purchases a yacht for $1.6 million dollars where the same activities would take place. In the end Shapiro was sentenced to time in prison, but still thinks that he would not be the only one who suffers for these actions and the University was just looking for a payoff from his crime Shapiro states: 
"That's the whole problem right there," Shapiro said of the picture. "Let's not kid ourselves. The whole time I was out there rocking and rolling, they were just waiting for the big check to come. And you know what? If I wasn't sitting in jail right now, they probably would have gotten it, too.” (Robinson)
Nevin Shapiro representing University
of Miami at a football game

According to the Individualism or Friedman’s economic theory states “The only goal of business is to profit, so the only obligation that the business person has is to maximize profit for the owner or the stockholders.” (Salazar) Shapiro did not follow this ethical theory he went against the business which in this case was the University of Miami. He was not trying to help the stake holder’s just benefit himself in the long run. He knew that by helping these big time college athletes and showing then what he considered a good time would allow him to win them over. So when it came time for them to make a name for themselves and profit off of their accomplishments he would benefit as well. But, he was just taking advantage of young kids who probably at the time had very little money and could not afford the luxuries in which he was providing for them. By taking money from the University in which was providing these athletes an education he was negatively affecting them, and it was not as though he was teaching these young men or mentoring them he was introducing them to a life style that was unhealthy, and could have affected their academic and athletic future and there right to pursue their dreams and goals.

According to Utilitarianism based on Desjardins book “Introduction to Business Ethics” “utilitarianism tells us that we can determine the ethical significance of any action by looking to the consequences of that act. Utilitarianism is typically identified with the policy of “maximizing the overall good” or, in a slightly different version, or producing “the greatest good for the greatest number.” These is the complete opposite of what Shapiro was doing he was not trying to help anyone but himself buying yachts million dollar homes he had one $2.7 million home in Miami Beach while another $6.1 million home on the west side of the Miami beach. Yes, he was buying the players prostitutes, throwing them parties and buying those clothes and cars. But, in the end again this was all for he hoping that once they made it professionally he would reap the benefits of their accomplishments. Also, by taking money away from the University by spending money on things like that you are not helping the greatest number of people you are looking out for yourself and your best interest.

Kantianism follows four basic principle: “Act rationally, don’t act inconsistently in your own actions or consider yourself exempt from rules, allow and help people to make rational decisions, respect people, their autonomy, and individual needs and differences, be motivated by Good Will, seeking to do what is right because it is right.” (Salazar) Starting from the first principle Shapiro does not follow Kantianism, he thought he could get away with the illegal acts like money laundering and fraud and was exempt from any punishment. This could have been why he carried out this scandal for so long until it finally caught up to him. When it came to the players he gave money to and “helped” he did not guide them into making rational decision she threw them parties and brought them prostitutes which is the furthest thing from rational especially for a young college student. Finally, you should do what is right because it is right and not for your own good. But, rather than doing that Shapiro wanted to benefit himself and at the time he may have thought what he was doing was good and fun for the players but the lifestyle he introduces them to not only can destroy your body due to partying but break you down mentally especially for an athlete who is trying to perform at such a high level each and every day. 

Virtue Theory
NCAA logo
Virtue Theory is based on four characteristics courage, honesty, temperance and justice and if a business or person actions fall into these categories then your actions is considered ethical based on this theory. One again Shapiro does not fall into any of these categories. He is not courageous in his action and is not sticking up for any cause or group of people, like said before if anything he is derailing these division one athletes from accomplishing their goals. When it comes to temperance or restraint he shown none especially when he carried in such a scandal of fraud and money laundering for so many years. Now honest and justice are out of the question he lied over and over again where all of this money was coming from what he was doing with it and justice there is none Shapiro “has alleged would potentially breach multiple parts of at least four major NCAA bylaws – and possibly many more. Shapiro described acts that could include violations of multiple parts of bylaw 11, involving impermissible compensation to coaches; multiple parts of bylaw 12, involving amateurism of athletes; multiple parts of bylaw 13, involving improper recruiting activity; and multiple parts of bylaw 16, involving extra benefits to athletes.” (Robinson).

So once again Shapiro’s action is considered unethical and in the end he had it coming to him until the end. Shapiro deserves all the punishment he is getting in the eyes of ethics and this just shows how wring your actions can be when looking at them from so many ethical perspective. So think twice before you do something cause in the end it may not be as ethical as you think.

DesJardins, J. R. (2014). An Introduction to Business Ethics (5th ed.). London: McGraw-Hill Education - Europe.

Robinson, C. (2011, August 16). Renegade Miami football booster spells out illicit benefits to players. Yahoo Sports. Retrieved February 20, 2014, from

Salazar, Heather. Western New England University. Spring Semester 2014 Class Notes.

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