As athletic director at Miami from the mid-nineties until stepping down in 2008, Paul Dee oversaw one of the lowest moments in the Hurricanes’ history when sanctions — including a one-year bowl ban and the stripping of 31 scholarships — were handed down in December of 1995 on the football program for the infamous Pell Grant scandal.
During the latter portion of his time at The U, Dee served, oddly enough, a nine-year term on the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions, and was the chair of the COI for the USC-Reggie Bush case that ended with the Trojans’ receiving significant sanctions. As it turns out, a recent turn of events could see both of Dee’s two employment worlds colliding once again.
In an interview with the Palm Beach Post Tuesday, Dee said that he expects to hear from one of his former employers, the NCAA, regarding allegations that have surfaced against his other former employer, Miami. Convicted felon Nevin Shapiro has alleged that he gave impermissible benefits to current and former Hurricane football players, allegations that, if proven true, would constitute major NCAA violations.
Shapiro was a Hurricanes booster beginning in 2001, so, as a significant donor, Dee was aware of the Ponzi schemer’s involvement in the program. That said, Dee said neither he nor anyone else connected to the athletic department had any knowledge of what Shapiro has alleged.
“We didn’t have any suspicion that he was doing anything like this,” Dee told the Post. “He didn’t do anything to cause concern. …
“We treated him very fairly as we do all donors. He would come by, ask to go out to practice and we would send one of our staffers to accompany him. In terms of kids getting close to him or him getting close to the kids, I have no knowledge of that and my staff had no knowledge of that.”
It’s more than a little ironic that Dee is playing the “we didn’t know” card; that’s essentially the same tack taken by USC in front of the committee chaired by Dee, and yet still resulted in the Trojans getting slammed with sanctions.
Dee did acknowledge that, in light of the allegations, the department could have, maybe should have, done more to control the environment around the players.
“I know with absolute certainty that we controlled the things we could control,” Dee said. “It’s disappointing to me that there are allegations, but we know there are going to be kids who do something we ask them not to do. We did as much as we could, but when something bad happens, you feel like you should have done more.”