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Florida's Best College Scandals

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The School: All of Them (That Have a Major College Football) The Scandal: Everything (Related to College Football)

Wow, Florida. So good at college football, and equally as good at cheating at college football. Granted, Florida schools are so good at the former that sometimes it's easy to not care about the latter (Listen quietly. Do you hear it? It's the cliché college football fan justifying his program's follies by whining: "Everybody cheats." What a Panglossian view of the world!). The state's glorious college football history includes plenty of spectacular nadirs. Let's run through them like the 7th Floor Crew:

University of Florida The University of Florida got the ball rolling under head coach Charley Bell, who fell on his own sword in 1984, after the school was accused of spying (not the Cuban kind; just on opponents' practices) and paying players. OK today this sounds like not the worst violation ever (Go Gators!), and players might be getting paid legally one day. But sanctions did devastate the program until the 1990s when an Ol' Ball Coach named Steve Spurrier took over for Florida.

Florida State University Spurrier used his Southern-fried wit to stick his team's biggest rival with its most endearing nickname: Free Shoes University. Aww, it's a pretty cute joke. Reminding us of the tamer moments of Spurrier's rival with FSU's Bobby Bowden (whom Spurrier also accused of telling his players to make dirty hits). But Free Shoes University impressively worked with both of FSU's major controversies in the 90s. In 1993, an agent bankrolled nine Seminoles during a shopping spree at Foot Locker. In 1999, two of Florida State's biggest stars, Peter Warrick and Laveranues Coles, got an excellent discount on clothing and shoes at Dillard's (Although Dillard's? Ew). The wide receivers received $412.38 worth of swag for a totally arbitrary $21 dollars and 40 cents.

South Florida Jim Leavitt was the first coach in the history of South Florida. He was also the first coach in the history of South Florida to grab one of his players by the throat, slap him across the face and then lie about it to university officials. He was fired in 2010, after 13-years at South Florida.

Central Florida When UCF football coach George O'Leary lied on his resume, it cost him a dream job at Notre Dame. Since then, the Luck of the Former Irish coach has been rather impressive. His team has committed multiple NCAA violations and the Golden Knights once held an offseason-conditioning workout where a player died. The school was found liable in Ereck Plancher's death, but O'Leary survived the fallout.

University of Miami The University of Miami -- oh boy -- with The U it's hard to keep up with all the scandals (don't forget the awesomely vulgar "7th floor crew" rap or the brawl with FIU and its crippled football player). In 1995, a Miami official falsified Pell Grants to scam the government out of money, leading to the famous Sports Illustrated cover that stated: "Why the University of Miami should drop football." Then, Luther Campbell and several others were accused of a pay-for-play scheme where players were rewarded in cash for big plays. After the incident, the 2 Live Crew rapper disappeared, and nobody knows of his whereabouts today. In 2011, Nevin Shapiro dropped a bombshell from his prison cell, where he was serving time for a massive Ponzi Scheme. Shapiro revealed that he provided players cash, wild parties for stars and prostitutes. He even funded an abortion for a player's girlfriend. The case continues to dog Miami, even though the NCAA has bungled the investigation. Shapiro's name seemed like it would become synonymous with the worst of college football's "win above all else" culture, but an old pedophile named Sandusky would raise the bar in unimaginable ways two years later.

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Matt Levin

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