Reporters Keith Morelli and Katherine Smith, editor Dennis Joyce and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Marve, Charles cleared to play; Plant coach not under investigation
TAMPA - A day after being implicated in a report investigating the University of Miami athletic program, former Plant High standouts Robert Marve and Orson Charles were cleared to continue playing for their respective schools. In addition, Plant football coach Robert Weiner is not under investigation by the Hillsborough County School District. Hillsborough County School District spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said, "From what we have read online, even if it were to be proven true, what is alleged that (Weiner) did does not violate FHSAA rules or school district policy." Asked if he was surprised by the Yahoo report, Weiner said, "Any time that your name is in anything and it's associated with anything that is negative, I don't know if you're surprised. You never want to see that, but like any story, not all is known. But really, other than that, I don't have a lot to say about that."Former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro, now serving 20 years in federal prison for operating a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme, claims he treated players with sex parties, nightclub outings, cash and other gifts. Shapiro, who attended the University of South Florida in 1986-90 and majored in criminology but did not graduate, told Yahoo Sports he provided improper benefits to 72 athletes at Miami from 2002 to 2010. According to the report, Charles was among the players improperly brought to Shapiro's house while still in high school so the booster could persuade him to attend Miami. The report also said Weiner was with Charles during the meeting. Charles wound up signing with Georgia. Georgia released a statement Wednesday that said Charles is eligible to play this season. "The University of Georgia is aware of the article mentioning Orson Charles and has been in communication with the NCAA," the statement said. "There are no issues with UGA or eligibility issues with Orson Charles. UGA will have no further comment regarding this matter." Marve, the Canes' former quarterback who transferred to Purdue in 2009, also found out from the NCAA that there are no issues with Purdue or his status. "I have loved watching (Charles and Marve) play for a long time and I'm going to love watching them play some more,'' Weiner said. Marve tore an ACL in the fourth game of last season. He's struggled with swelling in his right knee (non-injured) during training camp, has been limited in practice. Also included in the Yahoo Sports report were former Armwood and current University of Florida player Matt Patchan, former Hillsborough High standout Andrew Williams and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end and Miami alumnus Kellen Winslow Jr. Patchan, along with members of his family, went to Shapiro's $6 million Miami Beach mansion, according to the Yahoo Sports report. Miami coaches were present and a meal was provided during a recruiting pitch. Patchan was not made available by Gators officials. According to the report, Shapiro provided multiple extra benefits to Williams during the 2002 season. Included were cash gifts and Miami Heat basketball tickets, a big-screen television, meals and nightclub trips. The report included photographs of Williams and Shapiro together at Shapiro's home and at a Japanese restaurant. Williams denied receiving the tickets and told Yahoo Sports he thought he had approval to be at Shapiro's home and with him at a restaurant. According to the report, Shapiro took Winslow on his yacht and paid for drinks and VIP access at nightclubs. Shapiro also told Yahoo Sports he paid to fix damage after Winslow crashed one of Shapiro's watercraft. The Yahoo report included several photos of Winslow with Shapiro. Winslow could not be reached for comment. The Miami scandal could have major repercussions on current recruiting. Middleton junior wide receiver Richard Benjamin, one of the most sought-after players in Hillsborough County, said the report will play a role in his college decision. "They were actually my number one (choice), but now they are probably lower,'' he said. "It all depends upon what happens (as far as sanctions)." Hillsborough defensive lineman Earl Moore, who verbally committed to Miami during an unofficial visit on Sunday, said he will also monitor the possible sanctions against the school before deciding if he will stick with Miami. Current Hurricanes defensive lineman Anthony Chickillo, a former Alonso player who has been taking snaps with the first-team defense, did not return text messages. Reporters Keith Morelli and Katherine Smith, editor Dennis Joyce and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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