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Lynne Sladky, File, Associated Press
FILE - This Nov. 28, 2010, file photo shows Miami athletic director Kirby Hocutt discussing the firing of the schools head football coach during a news conference in Coral Gables, Fla. The NCAA said Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011 it has been investigating the relationship between convicted Ponzi scheme artist Nevin Shapiro and the University of Miami for five months, and the allegations _ if true _ show the need for "serious and fundamental change" in college sports. A person familiar with the situation said much of Shapiro's access to Hurricane programs in recent years was approved by former athletic director Kirby Hocutt, who has since left the school for Texas Tech. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing joint investigation between the university and the NCAA.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Of all the countless questions surrounding the Miami football program and the claims made by convicted Ponzi scheme architect Nevin Shapiro, one is more prevalent than any other.

How did this happen?

Simple question, lacking a simple answer.

Some who have been around the program for years remember Shapiro trying unsuccessfully to roam around Miami football practices. A former athletic department employee says he would mysteriously show up where players half his age were hanging out. Others simply say they didn't know what Shapiro looked like until seeing his image on television this week.

Here's what is known: He gave money, lots of it, and Miami's football program may be paying for many years to come.