When it rains, it pours. Still fresh off of losing Ryan White and Jason Hatcher due to reasons that include conference affiliation concerns, it now appears the dominoes are beginning to fall in the Nevin Shapiro scandal, and U of L recruiting coordinator Clint Hurtt may be the next domino to fall. One coach named in Charles Robinson’s Nevin Shapiro report, University of Florida recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill announced his resignation today. According to Florida Head Coach Will Muschamp, Hill resigned for “personal reasons that have nothing to do with the University of Florida.” Translation: he was feeling the heat from the Shapiro investigation and did not want it to rub off on Florida. Hill, while well connected with Shapiro, was not nearly as close with him as was Clint Hurtt, an unsettling fact for Louisville fans.
This has been an elephant in the room for some time, now. After the Robinson story was released and Hurtt was mentioned, Louisville fans feared his involvement with Shapiro would eventually come to bite us, but hoped for the best. That may have been wishful thinking. Hurtt was VERY involved with Shapiro, who mentioned that Hurtt was “a really good friend of mine.” According to Robinson’s report, Shapiro gave Hurtt an interest-free loan of $5,000 (half of which was in cash), paid for Hurtt to bring recruits to dinner at an expensive Miami Beach restaurant, and on one occasion, allowed Hurtt to bring recruits to his mansion so the booster could help in “recruiting” them. Shapiro’s pitch apparently involved showing them a built-in closet that featured game worn college and NFL jerseys of Miami greats, as well as taking them on a drive in his $200,000 Mercedes. That is what is reported, but given how sleazy Shapiro is, God only knows what else he could have done to “recruit” these players.
One very important thing to note is that what Hurtt did with Shapiro has absolutely NOTHING to do with the University of Louisville. Not a thing. Louisville is not under the microscope here, Hurtt is, and there is nothing to suggest he has been using the same antics here. Had he been doing anything SLIGHTLY resembling what he did at Miami, I seriously doubt Strong would keep him anywhere near the program. However, what he did at Miami was bound to catch up to him eventually at Louisville, and Bruce Feldman is very good at what he does, so do not just dismiss his opinion as nonsense. Hurtt was ESPN’s national recruiting coordinator of the year in 2010 and has been instrumental in bringing top-tier recruits to Louisville, including QB Teddy Bridgewater. His loss would definitely hurt (no pun intended), and if Hill has resigned at Florida, then Hurtt is definitely skating on extremely thin ice at Louisville.
This could also be a lose-lose type situation for Louisville. If the rulings come down hard on Miami and new information comes out about Hurtt, he could be forced to resign just like Aubrey Hill did. Then Louisville loses one of its brightest young football minds and a top-flight recruiter. On the flip side, if it comes down to a choice by Charlie Strong and Tom Jurich and they keep him (since this is his first misstep), it could provide negative publicity for the school. On top of all that, it could lead to an even more slippery slope when it comes to recruiting. Hurtt was the point-man on several big-time players that are currently committed to Louisville. There’s already rumors floating that Florida has lost at least one commitment in the wake of Hill’s resignation, so expect similar fall-out if Hurtt is forced to leave. Here’s the bottom line: this isn’t good. Like, at all. But it’s also a bit too early to jump to any conclusions. This could end up a scenario where perhaps the program and Hurtt reach a compromise of some sort and maybe he just takes a suspension. That at least gives him a viable punishment while still being able to keep his job. Like I said earlier, this is his first offense and sports in general are chalked full of people that make mistakes and are allowed atone for their wrong-doing. We’ll keep an eye on the story as it develops but one thing is for certain: this thing is far from over and Louisville and Clint Hurtt will find out their fate soon enough.