Howard Schnellenberger is among those who are stunned and saddened by the extent of the potential violations reportedly committed over the past decade at the University of Miami – a school he led to its first national title in 1983.
“It's just beyond my wildest dreams that anything like that could happen,” Schnellenberger said.
Speaking after Thursday's practice for the first time since announcing his retirement a week ago, Schnellenbeger appeared disappointed that one person could do so much damage to a program.
On Tuesday Yahoo! Sports published a lengthy article detailing the actions of former Hurricanes booster Nevin Shapiro, who says he provided current and former Miami players with money, lavish parties, prostitutes and, in one instance, an abortion.
Shapiro is currently serving a 20-year prison term for his role in a Ponzi scheme.
The extent of the violations, which reportedly involved coaches on the football and basketball staffs as well, have many speculating that the NCAA could hand the Hurricanes the so-called death penalty, forcing them to close the program for a year or longer.
That's not something Schnellenberger would like to see.
“Of course not,” he said. “I want them to pay their punishment and get back about their business.”
Schnellenberger hasn't been forced to deal with individuals like Shapiro in the Owls' 12-year history. Despite the potential pitfalls, Schnellenberger said he still believes that boosters are necessary not only for an athletic program, but also the institutions as a whole.
He recalled that the national championship at Miami helped the school surpass a newly launched capital campaign significantly faster than had been hoped.
Scnellenberger also pointed to the generosity T. Boone Pickens has shown Oklahoma State.
“That much money made such a major difference not only in sports but in the university itself,” said Schnellenberger, referring to Pickens' support of the Cowboys. “The good that it has done far surpasses what the down sides are. You have to believe that or it's hard to make sense out of anything. I'm absolutely certain of that.”