Shapiro scandal teaches lessons

It’s Halloween, so it’s an ideal time to reflect on one of the scariest times in the recent history of our school: the menacing storm of the Nevin Shapiro scandal.
It warms my heart to consider that our Hurricanes are allowed to play in a bowl game this year, but what should we take away from the saga?
Of course, we should all remember the gross incompetence of the NCAA and thank our lucky stars for having coaches Al Golden and Jim Larranaga, as well as the strong leadership of President Donna E. Shalala and the administration that vindicated us.
But beyond that, there’s the question of potential Shapiros in all of our lives. After all, an extra $173,000 in illegal benefits and payments for an athletic department is only the literal role Shapiro played in this process.
Shapiro was a booster, basically a fundraiser for the athletic department. As a result, the ways he could’ve and should’ve spent his stolen money were tightly policed. But boosting is something many of us rely on, and there are rarely as stiff or Byzantine rules governing our help as those of the NCAA.
Kickstarters, campaign funds, crowdsourcing or even relying on venture capital are essential facets of modern entrepreneurship. The bigger issue of networking, and relying on networks for help and resources, is something that no person, or athletic department, can forgo.
When we reach out for help through networks, we tie ourselves and our reputations to them. Here lies the scariest lesson that Shapiro can teach us: We need to maintain our diligence to ensure that we keep connection only with those with the highest reputation and commitment to principle. This lesson is already taken to heart by groups with public images.
Political campaigns, for example, often vet their “bundlers” (the political equivalents of boosters) and risk serious charges when they don’t. Consider February when President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign returned $200,000 from Chicago brothers linked to Mexican violence and corruption.
In the end, none of the NCAA drama was easy to watch, and the outcome was even less certain at times. We should all remember that it was just a sports story though, and the quality of our networks, our sources of money and the company we keep are even more delicate the more we rely on them.

Patrick Quinlan is a sophomore majoring in international studies and political science.

October 30, 2013


Patrick Quinlan

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