Michael Huyghue denies involvement in Hurricanes scandal
Michael Huyghue, the commissioner of the United Football League and a former member of the Jacksonville Jaguars front office, denies any involvement in the rampant allegations of NCAA violations at the University of Miami by former rogue booster Nevin “Lil’ Luke” Shapiro.
Shapiro alleges in lengthy detail to Yahoo! Sports alleged dealings AxcessSports Entertainment, a company Huyghue ran when he was an agent.
Huyghue told the Jacksonville Times-Union that Shapiro was simply an investor in his company, having sunk $1.5 million into the project.
“(Shapiro) invested in the company unsolicited in 2001, he had no other role,” Huyghue told the newspaper. “You can call any of the other people at Axcess. We had quarterly meetings. I think he came to one meeting in seven years. I’m not sure what the motivation is (in implicating Huyghue). I certainly didn’t pay players (to sign with AxcessSports).
“It’s ridiculous. There’s no substance to it.”
Shapiro is serving a 20-year sentence in federal prison for running a $930 million Ponzi scheme. He’s claimed to have had dealings with more than 70 players, coaches and staff members at Miami, providing cash benefits and much more.
Huyghue suggests that if he was as tied in with Shapiro as Shapiro claims, he would have represented far more former Hurricanes than he did.
“The lunacy of it is supposedly (Shapiro) was funneling all this money through the company,” Huyghue said. “We only had three (Miami) players in seven years. One of them, Jon Beason, originally signed with another agent. I never recruited him. He and his mother came to me after he thought the negotiations with Carolina (Panthers, team that drafted him) went badly. Jamaal Green was only a fourth-round pick. The other player, Wilfork, now I recruited him, but I didn’t pay him a dime. We developed a good relationship. I was the best man at his wedding.”
“At the time, he was about 30-years-old and wasn’t doing anything illegal. I was as shocked as anyone when the arrest (for the Ponzi scheme) came down. I had no idea.”
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune