Shapiro Image Credit: WFOR
After two years of accusations and allegations, the University of Miami finally lands in front of the NCAA Committee Of Infractions (COI) for what can best be described as a “trial.”
The irony is that after these two years, so little is known about the accuracy of the accusations. The media feeding frenzy drowned out any hope of a rational and reasoned approach to the case. Reporters in their zeal to land the next big story blew through several stop signs that should have caused them to pause and ultimately what we are left with is most of the case resting on the credibility of a convicted Ponzi schemer.
On Wednesday, June 12, 2013, Sports Illustrated published a far reaching examination of the NCAA investigation, which included some new gambling allegations, and which paints a picture of the state of the Miami case. But everyone has biases, myself included. So, where I looked for and found holes in Shapiro’s story, because I wanted there to be holes, the SI piece glossed over seemingly obvious holes that should have been further examined. It is these biases, both for and against the school, that have created an atmosphere where everyone has a strong opinion, but no one has a strong grasp of the facts.
Let’s start with an important note about this case: Because the University of Miami is a private school, the full Notice of Allegations (NOA) was never released. When a public school is charged by the NCAA, the NOA becomes a public document. Not so here.
So what do we know about the NOA?
Whatever the University decided they wanted to leak. So, they leaked the flimsiest pieces of evidence (for example, the NCAA using “self-corroboration” when Shapiro repeated a claim twice), but did not leak the evidence that was substantiated. This gives us an incomplete picture. On the other hand, while these leaks have been strategic, what we have not had is a full accounting of Miami’s defense and how they would counter accusations. What we instead have is Nevin Shapiro’s version of events, and his version only. The former players and Miami officials are not going to sit down and refute the allegations point by point.
Three Part Story
- An accuser with a vendetta against the school, is a criminal, and a liar.
- An institution hell-bent on enforcing antiquated rules without having the ability to compel testimony.
- A school playing a dangerous game of public relations chicken, balancing gaining public support while also being aware that the same organization they have turned on will ultimately decide their fate.
This created an environment where the ultimate responsibility of painting an accurate picture fell to the media, and this is where they continue to fall woefully short, failing to contextualize information accurately, and frankly, lacking the sort of common sense filter that should have called into question several of Shapiro’s accusations.
There is a conflation of innocuous events and actual violations that further clouded the picture.
SI is a perfect example, at one point claiming:
“College Sports is lousy with sugar-daddy boosters like Nevin Shapiro, though none have been as embedded as he was. He attended the football banquet. He led the Hurricanes out of the tunnel. He prowled the sideline. He accepted a green-and-orange bowling ball from, and signed by, Shalala. After he paid for the Nevin Shapiro Student-Athlete Lounge and its couches, TVs, pool table and video games, the school put a bust out of him outside the head football coach’s office as if he were a legend in his own time.”
Huh? When you lay out things like that, it looks very sketchy. But in fact, what of that is abnormal? Boosters attending the football awards banquet? Happens everywhere. In fact, in the past (not currently) I have donated a very small sum of money to the University and have been given access to banquet tickets.
That was not some sort of velvet rope event. Anyone can attend, just buy tickets. He received a signed bowling ball from the president? That was after he was at a bowling event with her and handed her a donation. How is that abnormal? They put a bust of him up after he donated a student lounge? Happens all over campus. You donate a building, you get your face on it.
The only issue that would appear abnormal is leading the team out of the tunnel. Except that if you remember back to when this happened, it was actually a fundraising auction. The Canes auctioned off the right to run out of the tunnel with the team at a home game, and Shapiro won the auction. It was not a result of his “other” access. All of those things are actually fairly commonplace, but are presented in such a way as to make them look nefarious, muddying the waters when clarity is necessary.
Wrong Reporter for SI
I want to preface this by saying that Alexander Wolff’s work on the SI article was actually some of the more objective work done on this subject. He actually used the word “plausible” to describe Shapiro’s Shapiro’s gambling tales rather than just accepting them as fact. The reason this is hugely important is because they are not fact. You can prove without a shadow of a doubt that Nevin Shapiro gambled extensively (this is a fact).
The part that is not fact and completely dependent on Shapiro’s word is coaches and players fed him inside information with knowledge, and he was then going to use that information to gamble. One of the main points of conflict I had with the Yahoo! piece is it lumped the accusations with strong evidence along with accusations there was little evidence for, and passed them all off as supported by documentation (for a full accounting of the two-year old work I did at the time click here). At the very least, Wolff did note there was only Shapiro’s word tying the coaches to the gambling.
But where the piece falls short is where Wolff’s filter went asunder, and where more skepticism might have lead to a completely different tone. And this is where reporter bias comes into play. Wolff serves as the filter between the subject and the reader, and it is hard to shake the feeling that the person who has famously twice called for the University to shutter its football program would be less skeptical in his follow-up and due diligence. There also should have been significant skepticism of all parties involved. But there wasn’t.
There are two versions of the story floating around. One, is available via SI.com, while the other is available in print. This will mostly focus on the print version, which goes into considerably more detail. In the print version, Pete Thamel also contributed, so I will just refer to the authors collectively as SI going forward. It is important to note that I am not saying that Shapiro’s allegations are false, I am simply pointing out the proper context and skepticism are not being used in this case, and that it is shaping the media coverage, as well as public perception.
Red Flags Abound
The first red flag is when SI claims that Yahoo! “corroborated many of his most damning allegations in an August 2011 report.”
This is just not true, and the problem with this case from the get-go is this statement has been repeatedly accepted as true. Some of them were proven true, and some of them were unprovable and ridiculous to include (hookers don’t give receipts), while some of them had “financial documents” showing money spent at restaurants, bars and clubs, and then had Shapiro claiming there was a player present at the time.
The actual proof only shows money spent, but NOT on whom. To accept all of that as having been corroborated is a logical leap that no one should be making. Furthermore, the NCAA, in concert with the university, did suspend several players in 2011. If you look at the original accusations versus what they were actually suspended for, there is a large gulf between the two (a full accounting is available in the chart in the article here).
It’s akin to saying that someone was accused of drunk driving, but were found not to be intoxicated. Yet they were still given a ticket for speeding and paid the fine for speeding. Yes, they committed a moving violation, yes they were punished for it, but they did not do anything near the magnitude of what was originally alleged, and the original accusation of drunk driving was not corroborated.
How Would Miami “Skate?”
The general theme of the article can be summed in a statement written towards the end: “Today the NCAA is so impotent that Miami may well skate with few further penalties.” There is so much wrong with this, it boggles the mind. The implication that Miami could skate is ridiculous. Miami has not played in a bowl game since 2010, and it’s not because they didn’t earn it, but because they punished themselves.
Enduring even two bowl bans is done in only the most egregious of cases. Going up to three years? Not done in the modern era (when scholarship limitations really came into play with the 85 limit) outside of Penn State. Keep in mind that USC also received two bowl bans, when the alleged dollar amount of benefits given to athletes was much higher than the $170,000 the NOA accuses Miami players of receiving.
Already, Miami has been severely penalized. They were last in the postseason so long ago, that the atrocity of a song “Like a G6″ was actually popular. Miami can’t skate. There are juniors on this team that have never played in a bowl game. Tell them they got off easy.
The fundamental problem with that statement is it assumes the case was airtight, when it was actually full of holes. The main hole being that Shapiro is a liar with a vendetta, (as SI points out, he actually contacted NCAA President Mark Emmert to make sure Miami would get “the worst punishment ever handed down in the history of the NCAA”). We recently found out Shapiro actually lied under oath and committed perjury. But surely he wouldn’t lie about anything here. This is the only time in his entire life he has told the truth. Okay, sure.
What SI Did Well
Ironically, SI does an excellent job of describing the environment, and plays the investigators as victims in the NCAA machine, being pushed with unfair mandates and metrics, asked to do an impossible task. They painted a picture of NCAA investigators pushed to the limits, finally cracking under the pressure, resorting to defrauding a bankruptcy proceeding and using Shapiro’s attorney to depose witnesses for the NCAA’s purpose.
But the problem is SI can’t see the forest for the trees. While they were digging through all of this, and learning of the hostile work environment, of investigators being told that they can’t say “I can’t prove it”, they never asked the pertinent question: WHY WAS ANY OF THIS RELEVANT IN THE MIAMI CASE?
If Yahoo! and Shapiro corroborated most or all of the allegations, why didn’t the NCAA investigators, in this hostile environment where they were forced to find evidence, just use THAT evidence?
The answer is because that evidence doesn’t always exist. It absolutely does in some cases. As SI pointed out:
“In the Miami case, Shapiro’s parents, girlfriend and some former business associates cooperated because he asked them to. Current Hurricanes spoke because the NCAA and the school had the power to rule them ineligible if they didn’t.”
Okay, this is all true, and that is how the NCAA was able to prove some of the allegations. But again, who cares if NO ONE would talk to them, they already have the proof from Yahoo!, except they don’t. There is no smoking gun here. And that’s what made the task so difficult. We actually don’t know what happened exactly. We know some violations happened, some major, but we don’t know the size and scale. We have a liar who pulled a bunch of pins out of grenades and left them on the NCAA’s doorstep, and the NCAA was then faced with the task of figuring out which ones needed the pins put back in and which ones should be allowed to explode.
Also, SI uses an e-mail exchange between Ameen Najjar and Shapiro to “prove” the NCAA was trying to undermine the case, with Najjar alleging they wanted to handle it “president to president.” Except we now have more information, and know that while Najjar might have felt that at the time, it isn’t true.
If President Emmert and President Shalala wanted to erase this, Emmert had the perfect opportunity to sentence Miami to “time served” in January when the NCAA investigation was called into question. He not only persisted with the NOA, but accused Miami of Lack of Institutional Control. To criticize Emmert on the grounds that he was involved in some attempted cover-up is just completely contrary to known facts.
Johanningmeir and Dye
This brings us to the case of Rich Johanningmeier, who handled part of the investigation, but has since retired and is currently accused of manipulating the interview process and coercing testimony. SI does point out that Dyron Dye, a current Miami player, actually filed a police report accusing Johanningmeier, but rebuts this by stating that Johanningmeier claims he did everything by the standard process. Except this case is so different because Dye put himself in peril. He already served a suspension. He was in the clear. He simply had to shut up and play out his senior year. Now, the NCAA is investigating him again.
Because Dye came forward, he faces the real possibility of never playing again. In this entire sordid affair, every single person, from Donna Shalala to Nevin Shapiro to confessing players to reporters, has done whatever was in their own self-interest. Everyone but Dyron Dye. It makes him very credible when choosing who to believe. I would think one would believe the person whose version of events actually harms himself.
Johanningmeier also absurdly claims that no one contradicted Shapiro, when we know that at the very least DeQuan Jones was cleared after he not only contradicted Shapiro, but sued to get reinstated. Not surprisingly, nothing of Jones is in the NOA (allegedly, again, we don’t have access to the entire document), especially given that Shapiro alleges Jones took a payoff in the Summer of 2008 to sign with the Canes, but actually signed in November of 2007. Perhaps SI should have grilled Johanningmeier on that inconsistency and asked how he can claim someone is basically truthful and not contradicted when he is making an accusation that is not only very publicly contradicted, but also chronologically impossible…
And then there’s the gambling. Shapiro claimed he bet on Miami 23 times between 2003 and 2009, making money on each of the 23 bets. Now, the wording is a bit ambiguous, but either way, any sort of skeptical person would immediately pause and call BS on the entire thing.
SI did have financial records showing he did make money betting on 23 games. Except, as SI points out, he actually was a terrible gambler and a degenerate gambler. SI claims it “helped lead to his bankruptcy.” Yet, in the next sentence he was apparently winning so much that his bookie gave him floor seats to Heat games to get him to not give gambling tips to other gamblers (of course, in 2011, Shapiro claimed that some of the money he defrauded went to purchasing Heat tickets, which wouldn’t really make sense if he was given free tickets. Was he telling the truth then or now? Did he need several seats to house his ego?). Even with inside information, it is essentially impossible to get 23 out of 23 games correct.
For example, in general you should have about 50 percent chance of winning a bet. If you can do better than that, it is a market inefficiency that can be exploited, and if you consistently win more than half the time, you have a nice career as a professional gambler. But let’s say you have inside information that gives you an advantage. Now there is no information short of one team forfeiting the game that will give you a 100% chance of winning the bet. Let’s say that information is a monumental help, and we can overestimate its impact and say it gives you a 70 percent chance of winning. If that was the case, the chance of going 23 for 23 is 0.0274 percent. So we have a professed liar, that claims he did something that would only happen 0.0274 percent of the time, and we are just going to accept that at face value?
But wait, as I said, the language is a bit ambiguous. Perhaps what Shapiro showed them was 23 examples of bets he placed on Hurricanes games and won, but it isn’t a complete accounting of all his bets on Hurricanes games. This is actually a lot more plausible. First, Shapiro is a degenerate gambler, so the idea that he only bet on 23 of the 80-something games the Canes played in that timeframe is not believable. Second, it would clear up that whole 0.0274 percent chance of happening thing.
And this again is where a little due diligence, and perhaps an obsessive following of Canes football, would have set off a lot of alarms, because the professed inside information is actually very dubious in how Shapiro alleges he applied it. Let’s go game by game:
- Miami vs Florida, 2003: Every Canes fan remembers this game with the epic comeback performance from Brock Berlin. He ended up 27-of-41 for 340 yards. Shapiro bet that Miami would not cover a 14-point spread, and was paid off when the ‘Canes won by 5. The problem? His alleged inside information was that Berlin “wasn’t ready for the job.” That might have been true, except he had a fantastic game. And, more importantly, there is reason to be skeptical because Berlin not being ready was a narrative that developed, but MUCH later in the season. He had a very strong first-half of the year, but then struggled down the stretch eventually getting benched against Syracuse. His reason for betting on Florida never manifested itself in that game, but did become a storyline later in the year. Keep that in mind, because it will be a theme.
- Miami vs Georgia Tech, 2005: This was the game where the Canes blew a shot at a national championship. But if SI had done any due diligence, they would have known they were sold a bill of goods. Why? First, Shapiro’s alleged inside information was that Miami’s slow defensive front would struggle with a scrambling QB like Reggie Ball. Remember him? Now, SI does point out that he had a terrible game, but ran 16 yards for the winning touchdown. The problem with that is two-fold. First, if he had a terrible game and the inside information turned out to be untrue, how is that proof that Shapiro used it in a bet? Even with his 16 yard touchdown run, he finished with 12 carries for 28 yards, and only completed 11-of-30 passes. But here is where it goes from dubious to stupid. Did anyone bother to check if Miami even had a slow defensive front? Because they did NOT. That defensive front-seven was filled with SPEED rushers like Javon Nanton and several NFL players like Calais Campbell, Rocky McIntosh, Jon Beason and Leon Williams. Miami had one of the best defenses in the country that year, finishing the year ranked 4th in total defense, 17th in sacks, and 4th in tackles-for-loss. How does a team that is 4th nationally in tackles-for-loss have a slow defensive front? Against Georgia Tech, the Canes had 7 sacks. I can’t imagine how good that defense would have been if they weren’t running in quicksand all year. But where this goes from dumb to dumber is if you are actually engrossed in Miami Hurricanes fandom. What Shapiro is repeating is a Hurricane MYTH. When Randy Shannon was defensive coordinator, he routinely produced Top 10 defenses, but his detractors would INCORRECTLY state the defenses struggled with mobile quarterbacks. Shapiro simply repeated that provably false claim here, and passed it off as “inside information.” Laughable.
- Miami vs. Virginia Tech, 2005: This was a famous upset as the Canes went into Blacksburg and won 27-7. This is actually in the online edition, so I will just quote directly via SI:
“Before a game at favored Virginia Tech in November 2005, Shapiro told me five players and a coach had gotten in his ear. From them he knew that the game was likely going to be low scoring, and he collected after betting the under in Miami’s 27-7 victory.”
It was low scoring because opposing quarterback Marcus Vick melted down. Virginia Tech was 17th nationally, averaging almost 34 points, but only managed seven, which is why Shapiro hit the under. But again, here is where it goes from dubious to flatly stupid. Vick had only 90 yards passing, completing 8 of 22 passes. And he had 17 carries for 7 yards. He turned it over six times. It was one of the worst games ever played. But here’s the kicker. Vick was one of the best dual threat quarterbacks in the country in 2005. He was basically a significantly better Reggie Ball. So according to Shapiro, he had inside information that the Canes and Hokies would hit the under, meaning that Miami’s defense would play well against Vick, but that two weeks later, his inside information was that the same exact Miami defense, after having dominating Vick to an insane level, would struggle against a worse mobile quarterback because they are slow. Did anyone fact check this sociopath’s story for consistency?
- Miami vs. NC State, 2007: And then there is the infamous Kirby Freeman game in 2007, where he completed ONE pass as Miami lost in overtime. The problem here is the inside information was irrelevant. He claims he knew before it was publicly announced that starter Kyle Wright would miss the game, so he bet on NC State before the line moved from Miami -13 to Miami -11. They ended up losing by three. He would have been paid off anyway, and anyone closely watching this team would know that Freeman wasn’t going to get the job done in that game to the point where the Canes would need to win by double-digits. No inside information necessary, if you knew Freeman was an inadequate QB, which all Canes fans knew.
Taking the evidence as a whole, and the reasoning behind the “inside information”, my opinion (opinion, not fact, I really don’t know what happened here) is that Shapiro saw the NCAA case crumbling. He wants more than anything for Miami to pay for abandoning him. So, he goes back through his old bets, finds ones where he won, and he can prove (and does) that he placed bets and won money. There is a paper trail a mile long with money moving around to verify this. But that does nothing. Everyone knows he was a degenerate gambler.
It has nothing to do with the school. So how does he pin it on the school? He goes back and explains his reasoning for the bets as being inside information. Except his filling in of the details are so sloppy that they are easily proved as absurd. He uses information we found out later. He repeats incorrect stereotypes that are ridiculous. He taints the entire process.
Even if he did get inside information that allowed him to bet on games advantageously, it is essentially impossible to prove. He would have to prove how he first got the information, that he used it, and that the coaches knew he was going to use it for gambling (a coach telling a booster, “hey keep this to yourself, but the QB is out this week” is not a violation. It only becomes a violation if the coach then knew that the booster was going to bet on the game). In his zeal to do just that, he once again exaggerated and stretched the truth, but the proper skepticism was not placed on his accusations.
The entire, sordid Shapiro affair is summed up in two statements from SI, one in the print version and one in the online version.
The SI print version tries to point out Miami hypocrisy with the following:
“But the irony in the school’s strategy to demonize Shapiro remains: If he was a conniver, he was the Hurricanes’ very own conniver – someone the school was only too happy to hold close, and someone with whom athletes, coaches, and staff freely consorted. Now Miami wants the world to believe that this same man is too disreputable to credibly implicate its athletic program.”
It is so poetically put, and yet so farcical. When Miami was in bed with Shapiro, he was seen as a legitimately successful businessman. So much so that, as SI pointed out, Barry Alvarez invested $1 million in his scheme. Over $900 million in total was invested in Shapiro. He was a con artist that hoodwinked everyone. We now know he was completely full of crap, that he was in fact a sociopath. And it was with that NEW information that Miami demonized Shapiro. And even the use of the word “demonize” is misleading because it implies that the University is trying to portray something that isn’t true.
Shapiro is a convict that destroyed people’s lives through lying. He has recently admitted to lying on the witness stand in another case. At the time of his sentencing in 2011, US Attorney Paul J. Fisherman said, “Nevin Shapiro used other people’s money to live a fantasy life built on false promises to unsuspecting victims.”
One of the entities that was actually an unsuspecting victim was the University of Miami, which fronted Shapiro box seats that he never paid for, and had to pay back money he donated. The University did not know he was illegitimate when they got into bed with him. Now the NCAA, with full knowledge of that, has gotten into bed with him as well.
Comparing the University’s stance on Shapiro before and after that information was known is an absurd false equivalency that sounds good but lacks substance. It would be analogous to calling someone a hypocrite for lauding Lance Armstrong 20 years ago, describing him as “endearing”, and then calling him a “massive fraud” now (HINT: Google “Alexander Wolff Lance Armstrong”). We found out he was a cheat in the interim, just like we found out Shapiro was a scumbag in the interim.
Finally, there is Johanningmeier, who perfectly and accidentally explained exactly why we have very little information about how much of this is true. In the online version, he says of Shapiro: “‘Is he basically telling a true story? Yes. Is there some embellishment? Yes too.”
Basically telling the truth isn’t good enough. When you make specific accusations, they need to be accurate. The scale of the crime matters greatly here, because giving someone $100 is a minor violation, while giving someone $1 million is a major one. It isn’t surprising the NOA including only $170,000 worth of allegations, nothing close to what Shapiro alleged (and that is including some dubious and unproven claims about Vince Wilfork taking a car, which accounts for much of the monetary valuation). And also, Shapiro is world class at telling people things that are believable, but are in fact falsehoods. So good that he got people to collectively give him over $900 million just by doing that. Yet Johanningmeier, Wolff, and Robinson (from Yahoo!) are able to discern when this man is being truthful when nobody else can? At least acknowledge you are talking to a BS artist and it’s damn near impossible to tell his truths from his lies.
Second, maybe it is because I am originally from Texas, and we are a simpler, plain-spoken folk. But when someone says, “he basically tells the truth but he embellishes,” we would say, “he doesn’t tell the truth, he is a liar.” If you are exaggerating, you aren’t telling the truth. If he embellished, it is not a far trip from there to just making stuff up. And it makes separating fact from fiction in this case almost impossible.
What happened in Miami’s athletic department in the early to mid 2000s? If you want to be honest, we know they did some things wrong, and committed some violations. But we don’t know exactly what and how major those violations are because the lead witness is a pathological liar, and his testimony is the only thing that “proves” violations in many instances. Unfortunately, that nuanced approach is not nearly as headline grabbing as just lobbing his allegations over the fence and watching them explode.
Trial, In Name Only
Fortunately for Miami, they don’t go in front of the press, they go in front of the Committee On Infractions (COI). Unfortunately, for Miami, literally anything can happen from here.
Thanks to some reporting from the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, we know that Miami will ask to have the case tossed, but doesn’t expect that to happen. That the hearing on the football team will be Friday and the basketball team on Saturday, that the school believes they have a reasonable shot at mitigating damage because the photos of players with Shapiro don’t actually prove violations, and that they have already severely self-punished. Jackson also points out that it usually takes at least six weeks to get a ruling, so this should at least carry into fall practice. Also, Miami is unlikely to appeal minor scholarship reductions but would fight something more egregious like an additional bowl ban.
What we don’t know is how the COI will react, and what the additional penalties will be. And there is a reason for this. There is no standard. The NCAA has defined “major” and “minor” violations, and things like “Lack of Institutional Control”, but they don’t have a clear outline of what being found guilty of said offenses means. This is something that Jay Bilas of ESPN has eloquently railed against for years, to no avail. If you are going to have a system of rules in place, to have any sort of credibility, you need a system of defined punishments corresponding to violations of those rules.
There is nothing of the sort here. The COI could find Miami guilty of everything in the NOA, and sentence them to time served because (as I pointed out) Miami has already severely punished themselves. Or, they could throw out most of the case, and still tack on another bowl ban. It would be laughable but also not the first time they bowed to public pressure. They used a third party report to hammer Penn State with media wind at their back. Penn State had to accept the penalties for public relations purposes.
Now, as we learned about some of the deficiencies in that report, it appears there was a rush to judgment on the Penn State case in terms of what administrators did and did not know. There is also ambiguity as to what NCAA rules they actually violated. None of that mattered in the midst of the feeding frenzy. No one, least of all the school, wanted to look like they were in any way supporting Sandusky, so they just took their medicine.
And that is why Shalala went on the offensive in January.
She managed to flip the script, to bring public pressure on the NCAA and shift focus from the violations to NCAA misconduct. Any verdict strongly condemning the University with further severe penalties will seem tainted in the court of public opinion, a place where Miami has been fighting a losing battle for years. Even the SI article spent considerable time railing against the NCAA process, which ironically helps Miami. And that is ultimately the question Miami wants the COI to answer in its favor. Can a process this broken and this tainted, with this much back-office politics truly produce a fair accounting of the violations? And if the answer to that is no, then aren’t the severe self-imposed penalties enough?
After two years, after all of the stories have been written and the Shapiro accusations have been vetted (or not as the case often was), after I personally have spent way too much time writing on the subject, Miami’s fate lies in the hands of the COI. And with that committee, there might finally be closure, and we will realize our pathetic attempt to drive this runaway bus, and to guess at what might happen, to determine truth in a web of deceit was all in vain, because, as Josh Howard so eloquently once put it: “You can’t control what the ball gonna do, that’s crazy man!”
Vishnu Parasuraman (@vrp2003) is a consultant in the Washington, D.C., Metro Area and an editor of the Sebastian’s Pub blog. His work can also been seen on Grantland. He is a graduate of the University of Miami with an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University.