Right Field

The ‘U’ Scandal Reaches Nancy Pelosi

Gird your loins! Business Insider:

Miami Booster Claims UFL Commissioner Provided Benefits To Student-Athletes

That would be UFL Commisioner Michael Huyghue, who is tied to Nancy Pelosi through her husband Paul’s ownership of the Sacramento Mountain Lions.

An excerpt from the Business Insider piece:

When the United Football League (UFL) was just beginning at the tail end of 2007, Michael Huyghue was asked to become the new league’s Commissioner.  Huyghue’s résumé spoke for itself.  He was Senior Vice President of Football Operations for the Jacksonville Jaguars prior to becoming the President and CEO of a successful Jacksonville, Florida based sports agency titled, Axcess Sports & Entertainment.   Upon receiving the offer from the UFL, Huyghue voluntarily relinquished his NFL Contract Advisor certification and focused all of his efforts on building the UFL product.

At one point in time, Huyghue represented NFL stars that included Jon Beason, Vince WilforkKyle Brady and Adam “Pacman” Jones.  It was well known that Huyghue and Axcess Sports & Entertainment recruited players from the University of Miami with the end goal of representing them in the NFL Draft and beyond.  What was not overtly alleged until earlier today, is that Michael Huyghue and Nevin Shapiro, on behalf of Axcess Sports & Entertainment, paid University of Miami student-athletes during the recruiting process.

Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports performed a masterful investigation regarding the benefits given to University of Miami student-athletes by former University of Miami booster Nevin Shapiro.  Michael Huyghue’s name appears a total of 14 times throughout Robinson’s article concerning that investigation.  The following is quoted from Robinson’s article.  It contains all 14 instances of Huyghue’s name.

Also among the revelations were damning details of [Nevin] Shapiro’s co-ownership of a sports agency – Axcess Sports & Entertainment – for nearly his entire tenure as a Hurricanes booster.   The same agency that signed two first-round picks from Miami, Vince Wilfork and Jon Beason, and recruited dozens of others while Shapiro was allegedly providing cash and benefits to players. In interviews with federal prosecutors, Shapiro said many of those same players were also being funneled cash and benefits by his partner at Axcess, then-NFL agent and current UFL commissioner Michael Huyghue.

Shapiro bought plane tickets for two of [Willis] McGahee’s female acquaintances to attend the 2002 Heisman Trophy ceremony and flew D.J. Williams’ mother from California to Miami to spend time with her son and meet with Shapiro’s partner at Axcess Sports, Michael Huyghue.

According to Shapiro, the system for recruiting players to sign with Axcess Sports was actually compartmentalized between himself and Huyghue. The booster would use his close relationship with players to make an introduction to Huyghue, and then he would retreat from agency talk from that point forward and leave it to Huyghue to grow his own relationship and sign the player.

And here’s how Street & Smith’s described the Huyghue/Pelosi/Pelosi partnership back in 2009:

Paul Pelosi, who has made money in real estate and stocks though his firm Financial Leasing Services Inc., was unavailable for comment. His wife is not an investor, Huyghue said, but her standing has been felt to some degree: Huyghue received a VIP ticket to the inauguration, and he said that 20 minutes after the ceremony, President Barack Obama walked up to Huyghue to congratulate him on the UFL.

Huyghue declined to comment on other members of Paul Pelosi’s ownership group.

The UFL is under financial pressure right now and there’s some uncertainty if there will be a 2011 season at all. But, hey. Since President Obama is a fan, maybe they’re up for some stimulus money.

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