Hocutt, the person said, allowed Shapiro on the sideline before football games at times during the 2008 season, plus invited him to select gatherings reserved for the athletic department’s biggest donors.
“That’s what Kirby did,” the person said. “His No. 1 job was to raise money and this Nevin Shapiro guy was one of the few people Kirby could get to write checks.”
In a statement, Hocutt said Shapiro was treated like other members of the Hurricane Club.
“While I was athletics director, the benefits and experiences Mr. Shapiro received were consistent with those provided to others at his membership level,” Hocutt said. “I never personally approved any special access for Mr. Shapiro to university athletics events or programs.”
Larry Coker, who coached the Hurricanes in 2001-06, said he had not been contacted by the NCAA or Miami about the investigation. Any coach or athletic direction involved in the case who now works at another school could be subject to NCAA punishment if found guilty of a violation.
The AP interviewed more than a dozen former Hurricanes, and their reactions ranged from denials of involvement to declining comment. New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle declined to discuss the allegations but said Shapiro is mad about being in prison and directing his emotions at the Hurricanes.
“There is a lot of drama going on, and it’s all caused by one guy, one angry guy,” Rolle said. “Obviously he is on a rampage to cause havoc.”
Miami was once among the best and most intimidating teams in college football, but Shapiro was around the program during a period of only modest success for the Hurricanes, who won their most recent national championship in 2001.
“I’m not upset about the U allegations,” tweeted Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez, who pitched at Miami. “I’m mad we didn’t win anything while we were cheating.”
AP Sports Writers Michael Marot, Tim Reynolds, Eric Olson, Teresa M. Walker, Tom Canavan, Betsy Blaney and Paul Weber contributed to this report.