Under coach Bill Belichick, Patriots training camp has traditionally been free from the kind of distractions that can derail a preseason. On Wednesday, though, defensive lineman Vince Wilfork found himself at the center of the latest recruiting scandal to rattle the world of college sports.
In a report released Tuesday by Yahoo! Sports, Wilfork, the Patriots nose tackle, is alleged to have accepted a $50,000 payment during his college days at the University of Miami from a former booster for the school.
According to the report, Wilfork received the payment from Nevin Shapiro during his junior season at Miami. Shapiro, who is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for his part in a $930 million Ponzi scheme, offered the money in an effort to get Wilfork to sign with his agency, Axcess Sports.
Wilfork eventually signed with Axcess, and was selected as the 21st pick in the 2004 NFL draft. According to Yahoo!: "Later, the booster said he provided a pair of $50,000 Cadillac Escalades to Wilfork and his fiancée shortly after the defensive tackle declared for the draft."
Wilfork, who is the only member of the Patriots listed in the report, has declined to comment on the investigation. And while it's unlikely that the eight-year veteran would face any repercussion from the NFL, the NCAA could erase his college playing statistics from its record books.
- Doug Tribou, producer, WBUR's Only A Game
This segment aired on August 17, 2011.