UM announces tougher restrictions on boosters

UM announces tougher restrictions on boosters

Published Jan. 16, 2012 1:43 p.m. ET

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) -- Miami boosters may no longer provide occasional meals for the university's athletes or host them at their homes, even though those acts are typically allowed by the NCAA.

The school's compliance office announced the changes in a newsletter distributed Monday, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.

In August, former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro told Yahoo Sports that he provided extra benefits to 72 Hurricanes football players and recruits from 2002 through 2010. He said some of those benefits included meals and entertainment at his homes.

Going forward, Miami is telling its boosters that cannot happen.

"Boosters should not provide any type of food, drink, transportation, or other extra benefits to current student-athletes," the newsletter reads.

Under NCAA rule, athletes "may receive an occasional meal from a representative of athletics interests on infrequent and special occasions." The NCAA also cites certain conditions under which those meals may take place, and does permit those events to take place in a booster's home.

Shapiro, a convicted Ponzi scheme architect who federal officials say masterminded a scam that bilked investors of $930 million, is serving a 20-year prison sentence. He is not mentioned in the newsletter and Miami's athletic department remains under NCAA investigation for its compliance practices, an inquiry largely related to Shapiro's allegations.

Miami self-imposed a bowl ban for the 2011 season in response to the ongoing investigation. At 6-6, Miami would have been eligible to compete in a postseason game. Sanctions are expected once the NCAA probe ends, though there is no timetable for that to occur.

Miami's compliance office said it prepares newsletters similar to the one distributed Monday for the school's Hurricane Club members twice a year, and sends others to staff members up to 10 times a year. Other topics covered in the latest newsletter include a reminder that boosters may not have communications such as phone calls, text messages, emails and letters with prospective athletes, and an example of how booster involvement in recruiting led to Mississippi State being sanctioned by the NCAA in 2004.