First day of Miami hearing in books; Howard’s Rock vandalized

INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA opened a key hearing in the massive infractions case against the University of Miami on Thursday, with school officials, former coaches and the ACC commissioner on hand to defend the Hurricanes against allegations that could bring severe sanctions in the improper benefits case involving former booster Nevin Shapiro.

University President Donna Shalala and Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford were at the hearing at a downtown hotel, joining athletic director Blake James, football coach Al Golden, former assistant coach Clint Hurtt and former basketball coach Frank Haith. Hurtt is now the defensive line coach at Louisville, and Haith is the men’s basketball coach at Missouri.

The session ended after 9 1/2 hours, not including an hour lunch break. Shalala and Committee on Infractions chair Britton Banowsky both declined comment at the end of the day. The hearing will resume Friday morning and possibly run into Saturday.

Shalala gave a smile and made “The U” hand gesture when she left the room for lunch.

Shapiro’s tales are wild and sordid. Among other things, he says he gave dozens of coaches, players and recruits things like cash, memorabilia, strip-club outings, yacht rides and even paid for prostitutes.

The NCAA said the benefits went to 72 then-players, three recruits and 12 “friends and family members.”

Southeastern adds QB

HAMMOND — Southeastern Louisiana football coach Ron Roberts announced the signing of junior college quarterback Justin Posthuma on Thursday.

Posthuma, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound athlete from Pasadena, Calif, will two years of eligibility remaining.

Posthuma spent the past two seasons at Pasadena City College after beginning his career in 2010 at UCLA.

Last season at PCC, Posthuma completed 60-of-126 passes for 799 yards and three touchdowns. His best game during the season came against Citrus College where he went 19-for-35 for 279 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Howard’s Rock vandalized

CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson University officials say that the famed Howard’s Rock at Memorial Stadium has been vandalized.

Football players touch the rock before they run down the hill during the team’s entrance into “Death Valley” stadium.

A university statement says the rock was vandalized sometime June 2 or 3. Police are investigating.

The statement says a small part of the rock was broken off of its pedestal after vandals broke the casing that protects it.

Athletic Director Dan Radakovich said the incident is being taken very seriously because the rock is an important part of the school’s history.

Mizzou players hurt in wreck

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Two Missouri freshman football players are recovering from injuries they suffered in a traffic accident in Columbia.

Campus police said linebacker Eric Beisel and cornerback Anthony Sherrils were passengers in a Mazda that struck another car Tuesday morning. Authorities said it happened as the Mazda’s driver attempted to turn onto a side street near Memorial Stadium.

Beisel, Sherrils and the driver were thrown into the Mazda’s windshield. University police Capt. Scott Richardson said none of the injured occupants was wearing a seat belt.

They were taken to University Hospital with minor injuries. The Mazda’s driver was cited for failing to yield to oncoming traffic.

The other driver remained hospitalized Wednesday afternoon in fair condition.

A team spokesman says the players won’t face any punishment for the accident.