In this May photo, Luther Campbell speaks during a forum with other Miami-Dade mayoral candidates. (AP)
Legendary hypeman and longtime graphic hip-hop lyricist Luther Campbell is judiciously seeking to distance himself from his latest alleged act of salaciousness.
Convicted swindler and $930 million Ponzi scheme mastermind Nevin Shapiro charges that he took the reigns directly from Campbell in doling out impermissible perks ranging from cash, cars, jewelry and wild sex parties to at least 72 University of Miami athletes over an eight-year period that could result in the once vaulted UM football program being hit with sanctions as severe as the death penalty.
Shapiro says he even bankrolled a revolving cash fund where bounties as high as $5,000 were routinely placed on the heads of rival star players, among them golden-boy quarterback Tim Tebow of rival Florida.
“Here’s the thing, Luther Campbell was the first uncle who took care of players before I got going,” Shapiro, now serving a 20-year federal prison sentence, told Yahoo! Sports over the course of an 11-month investigation and more than 100 hours of jailhouse interviews. “His role was diminished by the NCAA and the school, and someone needed to pick up the mantle. That someone was me. He was ‘Uncle Luke,’ and I became ‘Little Luke.’”
Campbell, who never met a line or performance he shied away from or seemed to deem too risqué during his thrill-seeking, chart-topping heydays of the ’90s, appears none too flattered by all Shapiro’s idolatry.
Now a candidate for mayor in nearby Dade-County, Campbell, 50, shot back in a Miami-Times column: “First of all, I have never been a UM booster. I have never given a dime to the school. I have and always will support the players and the program out of civic pride, but I never violated any NCAA rules when I was the team’s biggest fan. If Nevin really wanted people to see him as ‘Little Luke,’ then he would have dedicated part of his life to helping kids in Miami’s inner city neighborhoods get college educations.”