Kansas State said Wednesday it has been assured the NCAA has no concerns about the eligibility of two Wildcats football players identified by a jailed University of Miami booster as recipients of improper gifts.
Nevin Shapiro, a 42-year-old Miami resident sentenced in June to 20 years in federal prison for running a $930 million Ponzi scheme, told Yahoo! Sports he provided cars, cash, prostitutes and other impermissible benefits to 72 athletes.
Shapiro’s list included Bryce and Arthur Brown, brothers from Wichita now in their first year of eligibility at Kansas State.
Shapiro said he paid for lunch and hotel rooms for the brothers, their parents and spiritual adviser when they visited Miami in March 2008.
Arthur Brown was already enrolled at Miami by then and played two years at linebacker before transferring to Kansas State. Bryce was a sophomore running back at Wichita East HS, considered one of the nation’s top prospects; he committed to Miami, but played a year at Tennessee before also transferring to Kansas State.
Kansas State issued a brief statement Wednesday night saying it had been in communication with the NCAA.
”Regarding Arthur Brown and Bryce Brown, the NCAA staff has informed the institution that it has no concerns about their eligibility to compete at K-State,” the university said, adding it would not comment further.
The Browns’ spiritual adviser, Brian Butler, told The Wichita Eagle that he and the Browns didn’t know Shapiro was a Miami booster. Instead, they thought Shapiro was just a fan who helped players from out of state.
”In our case, he did invite us to lunch and we did go to lunch, and he did reserve some rooms for us, for myself and Mr. Brown senior,” Butler told the newspaper. ”Those things, I can say that he did.”
Butler added that Shapiro, ”Wasn’t giving us money and trying to pay us or bring Bryce or Arthur there. Arthur was already at the school.”
Phone and text messages left Wednesday with Butler by The Associated Press were not returned.
Both brothers had to sit out last season because of NCAA transfer rules. Shapiro pleaded guilty in June to securities fraud and money laundering. In addition to a 20-year prison term, he was ordered to pay more than $82 million in restitution. He told Yahoo! Sports he gave money and gifts to players, paid for nightclub outings, sex parties and in one case an abortion for a woman impregnated by a player.