Miami Investigation

Allegations: Jake Morton

More in this article:
Nevin Shapiro said this photo was taken in the booster’s VIP section of Miami Beach’s Dolce Ultra Lounge in October 2008. From left to right are men’s basketball assistant Jorge Fernandez, men’s basketball assistant Jake Morton, Shapiro (in center wearing blue), and an unidentified University of Miami football player along the right margin. Yahoo! Sports also has obtained other photos from this night showing football players Robert Marve and Randy Phillips in this same section.
line

Nevin Shapiro on Morton: Play audio

Miami booster Nevin Shapiro alleges he engaged in an NCAA violation with men’s assistant basketball coach Jake Morton in 2008. Among Shapiro’s claims:

• The booster alleges that in the early summer of 2008, he was made aware by Morton that a member of then-recruit DeQuan Jones’ family required $10,000 to ensure the player’s commitment to Miami. Shapiro said he agreed to put up the money, and Morton met the booster at his Miami Beach mansion to pick up the cash.

• Shapiro said the incident was witnessed by current Miami football staffer Sean Allen. According to Shapiro, it was Allen who went to Shapiro’s safe and removed the $10,000 in cash, which was then given to Morton by Shapiro. Shapiro said he and Morton then played one game of pool, and the coach left. Shapiro also said he believes Jones had no knowledge of the cash transaction.

• Shapiro alleges the $10,000 was later returned by Morton in June 2010, after the booster had been incarcerated and left angry messages for Morton and Haith about refusing to take his calls. Shapiro said that during those messages, he remarked about having paid $10,000 to secure Jones’ commitment for the basketball team.

• The booster alleges that shortly after he left those messages, Morton reached out to his bodyguard and expressed a desire to return the $10,000. Shapiro said the money was returned by Morton, who met one of the booster’s bodyguards near the home of his mother and turned over the cash in June of 2010.

• In other incidents, Shapiro said Morton saw the booster have impermissible contact with football recruit Jeffrey Godfrey in his luxury suite in 2009. Shapiro said Morton also witnessed Shapiro with football players in his VIP section at Dolce Ultra Lounge in 2008.

• Shapiro said Morton also violated an NCAA rule by bringing then AAU-coach Moe Hicks to his home and being on hand when the booster paid for Hicks to be entertained at Dolce Ultra Lounge in October 2008.

Corroborating accounts

Nevin Shapiro said this photo of men’s basketball assistant Jake Morton was taken in the booster’s VIP section of Miami Beach’s Dolce Ultra Lounge in October 2008.

• One source corroborated Shapiro’s description of Morton returning $10,000 to his bodyguard at a gas station near the home of the booster’s mother.

• Yahoo! Sports has acquired a photo of Shapiro with Morton and football staffer Sean Allen in his luxury box in 2009. Godfrey, who was a senior in high school and being recruited by the football program, can be seen in the background of the photo, just feet away from Morton.

• Yahoo! Sports also acquired multiple photos of Shapiro’s VIP section at Dolce Ultra Lounge in 2008. In the pictures, Shapiro is seen at one point with football players Robert Marve and Randy Phillips. In other photos from the same night, the booster is seen with Morton standing in the same VIP area.

• The photos from Dolce Ultra Lounge also show Morton on hand with Moe Hicks as the AAU coach was being entertained in Shapiro’s VIP section.

In Shapiro’s words

• “Jake Morton was parallel to coach Haith as far as our relationship, although he was more of the go-to guy because coach Haith always kept one step from the chain. When I was thrown into involuntary bankruptcy by my creditors, Jake actually loaned me $7,000. I paid him back that money. So I considered him a friend. He went to Solid Gold [strip club] with me two or three times. We ate a number of occasions. I’ve had dinner with him and coach Haith at Prime 112, Prime Italian on a couple of occasions. Joe’s Stone Crab for lunch [and] introduced them both to the chiefs of police and the assistant chiefs in Miami Beach in case they ever had a problem.”

• “I gave [the basketball coaches] $10,000 for a player named DeQuan Jones. DeQuan Jones committed to Miami from Georgia. A school in Georgia. I’m not sure where. I never had a dealing directly with the kid. The money was given to Jake Morton at my house. … By the way, the $10,000 they did return to me after I was incarcerated when I became pissed off [at] the fact that they were ignoring my calls. … [Morton] followed one of my security guards up to my mother’s house [and] gave the money to my mother directly.”

Nevin Shapiro (left) poses with Miami Hurricanes staffer Sean Allen (middle) and Hurricanes assistant basketball coach Jake Morton (right) in his luxury suite during the 2009 season. Along the left margin of the photo (in white shirt) is then-Hurricanes football recruiting target Jeffrey Godfrey, who was a senior in high school at the time of this picture. Shapiro said he knew NCAA rules prohibited Godfrey from being in his suite at the time this photo was taken.
Nevin Shapiro said this photo was taken of him, Miami basketball coach Frank Haith (middle) and basketball assistant Jake Morton (right) at Philipe Chow in the fall of 2008.
Photos special to Yahoo! Sports

Documents

Nevin Shapiro’s cell phone providers condensed his calling records from 2002 to 2008 and deleted the booster’s text messaging records prior to 2009. Despite a significant portion of his records being expunged, Yahoo! Sports was able to identify 246 calls or texts between Shapiro and Jake Morton from March 2009 to the booster’s incarceration in April 2010. This is a page showing communication between the booster and a phone number linked to Morton. PDF file

Response

Did not respond to phone messages seeking comment.

Charles Robinson is the senior investigative reporter for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter. Send Charles a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Tuesday, Aug 16, 2011

Video Spotlight