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Colleges

NCAA probe won't chase Chickillo from UM: 'Absolutely not'

TBO.com
Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2013 at 07:37 PM
CORAL GABLES -

An NCAA investigation at the University of Miami won't stop Tampa's Anthony Chickillo from following in his family's footsteps.

"Absolutely not. I've waited my whole life to come here," said Chickillo, the Alonso High product whose father and grandfather played for the Hurricanes.

Chickillo, a 6-foot-4, 248-pound defensive lineman and one of nation's top recruits this year, said he has no intention of transferring. Coach Al Golden expects the freshman to be a key contributor.

"I'm happy I have Coach Golden as my coach and happy with the team," Chickillo said Thursday.

Say this for the `Canes: Despite of the allegations of several players receiving extra benefits from a booster, they're trying to keep things business as usual.

Sean Spence led the team in a pre-practice chant Thursday. Jacory Harris took his spot at the front of a stretching line, a place typically reserved for starters.

Spence, Harris and all other Miami players implicated by claims that booster Nevin Shapiro provided dozens of Hurricanes with cash, cars, gifts and sex for the better part of a decade returned to the practice field Thursday.

Whether they play in the season-opener at Maryland on Sept. 5 remains unclear, as the university works through the process of determining their eligibility. As a result, the depth chart for Week 1 is still anyone's guess.

"We'll make sure we practice enough guys because we really don't know what the future brings," Golden said. "Hopefully we'll find out pretty quickly here in the near future if there are any penalties or suspensions, and we'll adjust accordingly."

Golden said the depth chart may take until Tuesday to complete. He also said in accordance with Atlantic Coast Conference policy, the Hurricanes will divulge their plans to the Terrapins before releasing anything publicly.

"Any projections or anything like that, all it is is speculation," Golden said.

Spence and Harris are among two of the biggest names wrapped up in the scandal — Spence is considered by many to be Miami's best defensive player and one of the top linebackers in the ACC. Harris has played 36 games at quarterback for the Hurricanes in his first three seasons, and he's far-and-away the ACC leader among active players in passing touchdowns, yards and wins.

University officials have not commented on the specifics of the process. Miami President Donna Shalala said this week that 15 student-athletes — she did not specify names or teams — were being investigated by university compliance personnel.

Shapiro, a convicted Ponzi-scheme architect, told Yahoo Sports that he provided benefits to 72 athletes, 65 of whom played football for Miami. Of those, 12 are current football players, and one is a member of the men's basketball team.

"We're going about our business," Golden said. "Obviously, some of the players that are alleged to have done something are guys that have played a lot of football for us, so obviously there's going to be some adjustments if there are suspensions. Other than that, we're just moving forward and the kids have been great."

The other football players named by Shapiro to Yahoo Sports are Vaughn Telemaque, Ray Ray Armstrong, Travis Benjamin, Aldarius Johnson, Marcus Forston, Olivier Vernon, Marcus Robinson, Adewale Ojomo, Dyron Dye and JoJo Nicholas. Like Harris and Spence, many of those players are presumed starters this season.

Shapiro is serving a 20-year prison sentence for bilking investors out of $930 million.


Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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