The University of Miami Benefits Scandal
Sports fans have long stopped being surprised by stories of illicit benefits doled out to college players, but a Yahoo! Sports investigation into the University of Miami's football program revealed a new level of violations. A booster for the program, in jail for running a $930 million Ponzi scheme, detailed to a reporter how he provided Miami players with "cash, prostitutes, entertainment in his multimillion-dollar homes and yacht, paid trips to high-end restaurants and nightclubs, jewelry, bounties for on-field play (including bounties for injuring opposing players), travel and, on one occasion, an abortion."
News of the Miami violations came on the heels of the forced resignation of the coach at another of the nation's highest-profile college football teams. Ohio State University coach Jim Tressel stepped down after the NCAA accused him of lying to cover up evidence of his players selling team memorabilia in exchange for tattoos, cash, and other benefits. The two cases convinced many college sports observers that the entire system of amateur college athletics is irreparably damaged, including civil rights scholar Taylor Branch (see slide 6).