There are many reasons to follow and mock the Miami Hurricanes scandal, ranging from the large dollar amounts to the spectacle of a 40 year old man sad that his college “friends” would forget about him after he stopped giving them money. But in addition to the national part of the story, there are many local angles as well. We have talked a great deal about Clint Hurtt, the Louisville Recruiting Coordinator who is at the center of the scandal, but UK fans should not forget about the former Miami Athletic Director’s role as well. Paul Dee was in charge of the Miami program for 15 years, from 1993-2008 and as such, had the job of overseeing the out of control Hurricane ship. He hired Butch Davis, followed him up with Larry Coker and then finished the sundae with Randy Shannon. In addition, he headed many fundraising efforts and became very close with one Nevin Shapiro, the booster who is alleged to have given over $2,000,000 in illegal inducements to Miami athletes.
Shapiro’s relationship with the players has been well-documented in the thorough Yahoo Sports report But Shapiro was also very close to Dee himself, taking a number of donations from the booster and at one point, having Shapiro lead the Hurricanes on the field before the game. He either knew of Shapiro’s relationship with the players or was willfully negligent in discovering why this 40 year old man seemed to be “boys” with all of his football players, while donating huge sums of money to the school.
The Yahoo story shows that Dee is clearly an incompetent, or potentially dirty, Athletics Director. However it is also clear that Dee is a hypocrite in every sense of the word. From 2008-2010, Dee was in charge of the NCAA Committee on Infractions. He oversaw two high profile cases in USC football and Memphis basketball. During those two hearings, Dee decided to use his power to move the NCAA into a different realm of enforcement than it had previously ever enter into. Whereas before, some form of knowledge was usually required to give a school sanctions, Dee began the notion of “strict liability” in NCAA enforcement. He essentially claimed that anything that happens on a school’s campus or in connection with its programs, should be known by the administrators and if it is not…well that is tough.
In both the USC and Memphis cases, knowledge of the infringing actions was never shown, and in the Memphis case never alleged. Still Dee took the position that the programs and coaches such as Calipari should be punished on a strict liability basis. He famously said, “high profile players demand high profile compliance.” While making those comments, Dee set himself out to be a new renegade enforcer of college athletics, sick of excuses and forcing compliance to all rules. And yet now we find out that Dee oversaw what potentially may be the most egregious rule-breaking over the past two decades in college athletics. Whereas USC had one main player (Reggie Bush) who took money from outside boosters/agents and Memphis had one player (Derrick Rose) whose ACT score was in question, Miami has 72 CONFIRMED players who took illegal benefits. And all of those benefits were taken from a booster so connected to the program that he was allowed to run out on the field with the team at a home game.
Hypocrisy is a word thrown around all the time in the world and it is often not appropriate for the situation. But in this case, hypocrisy doesn’t even seem a strong enough term. Paul Dee oversaw a committee that took down John Calipari and the Memphis basketball program by creating a new “no knowledge needed” standard never before enforced. Now Calipari is somewhere likely seething as this same man who took away his program’s accomplishments with a self-righteous standard that he was clearly not capable of following, is now proven to have been the head of the greatest rogue program of them all. All Miami games should, and one would presume will, be vacated and the program must receive the maximum punishment. But more importantly, Paul Dee has been shown to be the worst type of leader, a hypocritical weasel of a man who believes his calling is to chastise others while he willfully neglects the own rot under his nose.