Nightly News | August 21, 2011
>>> it has been an offseason of high profile scandals for the ncaa with several major college football programs under investigation. the latest scandal is proving to be the highest profile of all. the mighty miami hurricanes dealing with a category five controversy involving cash, payments and prostitutes that threatens to bring down the team. our own mark potter has the latest on the storm rocking the "u."
>> reporter: preseason football practice at the university of miami . now clouded by allegations that scores of players received millions of dollars worth of illicit gifts and favors from a school supporter. yahoo! sports reports that nevin shapiro , now serving a 20-year federal prison term for a nearly billion dollar ponzi scheme , claims he lavished u of m players with cash, prostitutes, entertainment in his multimillion dollar homes and yacht, paid trips to high-end restaurants and nightclubs, jewelry and other items from 2002 to 2010 .
>> it's a huge deal. it's something that's damaging to the university's image nationally. it's something that puts in peril the immediate and long-term future of the football program.
>> reporter: university officials including president donna shalala and al golden say they are taking the claim seriously.
>> nobody wants to get to the truth quicker than i do. the way you do that is you cooperate.
>> reporter: the university of miami which has won five national football championships now joins eight other u.s. schools recently investigated or sanctioned by the ncaa . the national collegiate athletics association has been investigating miami 's team for the last five months. its president says if the assertions are true, the alleged conduct at the university of miami is an illustration of the need for serious and fundamental changes in many critical aspects of college sports . but miami filmmaker billy corbin who's movie "the u" features the um football team blames school officials who took donations from shapiro .
>> one of the university's primary responsibilities is to protect its students. particularly to protect its students from the likes of a nevin shapiro . and the university failed to protect its students.
>> reporter: the ncaa says its decision on whether or how severely to punish the school will likely come early next year. mark potter , nbc news, miami .