I guess Tennessee can cross Kirby Hocutt off its list of candidates for the athletic director job.
Hocutt is currently the Texas Tech athletic director but is better known after this week for his fund-raising efforts as the University of Miami AD. One of his fund providers was booster/felon Nevin Shapiro, who just knocked "The U" topsy-turvy with more alleged NCAA violations than you could uncover in a busy year for the entire SEC.
But that's not why I'm putting UT in the same column with Miami. Nor is it because of Bryce Brown, who has generated more headlines per yards gained rushing than any other UT player since Brian Darden. Brown committed to Miami, signed with UT, transferred to Kansas State, and somewhere along the way supposedly found himself on Shapiro's tab, which is longer than I-95.
While reading Yahoo! Sports' account of Shapiro's financial devotion to Hurricane sports, I concluded that UT's problem with the NCAA was nothing more than bad timing.
If the proper authorities had sniffed out Shapiro's Ponzi scheme about four years earlier, he would have gone to prison sooner and gone vindictive on his once-beloved Hurricanes sooner as well. Consumed by the Hurricane watch, the NCAA would have never had time to take a magnifying glass to the recruit's picture at former UT basketball coach Bruce Pearl's house.
In fact, the NCAA wouldn't even have had the manpower to follow up on the rumor that Reggie Bush's parents might have been living beyond their means while he was leading Southern California to a couple of national championships.
My advice to would-be cheaters: Now is the time. If you've got a booster with deep pockets and an obsession for consorting with college athletes, give him a big thumbs-up and get out of the way.
The NCAA has been on Miami's crooked trail for five months already, and the investigative report by Yahoo! Sports has fostered enough allegations to keep it busy for another five years. There's no time for anybody else.
For example, note the stories about athletes at other schools who supposedly crossed paths with Shapiro in the recruiting process. Never mind the allegations. Everybody is apparently good to go.
Florida released a statement saying players Matt Patchan and Andre Debose, who were linked to Shapiro in the Yahoo! Sports story, had no eligibility issues, according to the NCAA. Georgia released a similar statement in regard to Orson Charles, who also came up in Shapiro's confession to the NCAA. Since when has the NCAA been so quick to determine the eligibility of student-athletes?
Answer: Since Shapiro gave it all those Miami leads to follow.
Shapiro could be out on good behavior by the time the NCAA finishes with Miami. Tennessee might even have an AD by then.