The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Devin Hester Implicated in U. of Miami Scandal

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Aug 18, 2011 3:40PM

The University of Miami's football program is the latest to feel heat because some of its players received gifts and money, in violation of NCAA regulations. High profile Hurricane booster Nevin Shapiro, currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for masterminding a $930 million Ponzi scheme, claimed in a Yahoo! Sports interview to have paid 72 Miami players, including Bears wide receiver/kick returner Devin Hester between 2002 and 2010.

Hester allegedly received a bounty of gifts worthy of a "Price is Right" Showcase Showcase. Yahoo! Sports reported Hester received multiple cash gifts and performance bounties; money for an engagement ring; rims for his SUV; tickets to a Miami Heat playoff game; drinks and VIP access at nightclubs; multiple meals at Miami-area restaurants; stays at Shapiro's $2.7 million Miami Beach home; entertainment on Shapiro's $1.6 million yacht; a suit, shoes and other clothing.

Said Shapiro:

Devin Hester was a really introverted kid. Very quiet. [I] saw him sitting outside Larry Coker's office, where he was unsure if he was ever going to play a down of football at the University of Miami. [I] started off taking him for lunches, meeting him for dinner, coming to my house often. He stayed at my house a few times, but was in my house often. I bought him rims for his [Lincoln] Navigator, I believe it was. It was a truck.

Has anybody looked into how a football player who didn't think he'd ever see the field had a Lincoln Navigator while in college?

Meanwhile, when asked about the allegations Hester denied knowing the man with whom he was shown in multiple photos accompanying the Yahoo Story, and had no comment about the scandal.

The reality of the matter is that these allegations are violations of NCAA rules and not state or federal law, so they are really of no concern to the NFL or Chicago Bears. Nothing is going to happen to Hester as a result. It's the current players who'll face the consequences as Miami's football program is likely to face major NCAA sanctions for actions by those no longer with the program.