MIAMI - It seems as though nobody can escape the clouds over the athletic department at the University of Miami, lately.
One figure that seemed least likely to be involved in the University of Miami scandal was team mascot Sebastian the Ibis. However, as reports today show, not even Sebastian is innocent.
Former University of Miami booster Nevin Shapiro was seen granting an unlimited amount of shrimp, turtle and crab to the near-extinct bird of the peninsula. 700 pounds of various crustacean food was given to Sebastian over a time from 2002-2007, per an investigation ending yesterday by Yahoo Sports. On top of this, Sebastian was granted an 'All You Can Eat' pass to local Red Lobsters from 2004-2009.
"We are deeply saddened by these allegations," stated U of M athletic director Shawn Eichorst. "To think that a heralded mascot like Sebastian would fall prey to this man...it leaves one speechless."
It can't be too stunning for others to hear. Shapiro was recently cited for involvement with 72 current and former Hurricanes coaches and players. The scandal is rocking the university and the world of college athletics.
"When you read the details it gets downright discouraging," stated Dan LeBatard of the Miami Herald. "You have animal, who is representing not just himself...but animals and mascots from throughout America...and he does this...did you see the pictures?!"
The photos show Sebastian the Ibis in a partially drunken stupor. Some show him in closed rooms with female companions; smoke and liquor engulf the scene. But the most damaging shot is one showin convicted felon Nevin Shapiro laughing in the background...while Sebastian's head is buried in a pile of cocaine and crab.
After being cornered in the University of Miami athletic department, Sebastian the Ibis finally spoke.
"Listen, I was younger back then. When an ibis comes in from another part of the country, doesn't have a lot of friends...face it...I'm not like other birds. I'm like a half-bird, half-fish. I don't belong anywhere. I'm not one of those rich Coral Gables birds, or some poor redneck from the panhandle...just a middle-class bird trying to make a living without being confused that he's a heron. By the way, I'm not a (bleep)n heron. I'm an ibis. Sorry. Just wanted to get that out of the way. Anyways, I guy shows up and he wants to make sure that my diet is paid for. Big deal! Here's a guy willing to help kids in need. I don't have the money to run around and go to the grocery store every week...hell, you think I've got a job during the offseason? I'm a (bleep)n ibis! I just sit around! So, Shapiro, or, 'Shappy' as we called him...Shappy gave some cash to some kids in need. I took some benefits. Now I could eat year round without flying to f'n Tampa Bay or something. He's a good man. And that photo with the coke? Listen, like I said...I was younger. It was eight years ago. I just got over a bad relationship. We were at a club with Flavor Flav, and the stuff was just flowin. Hey, things happen. What gets me is that people think all of this is so bad. You should've been here in the Jimmy Johnson years. Dear God."
University officials are still reviewing a possible suspension or a complete shutdown for Sebastian.
"We feel it might be in our best interest to go in another direction," stated Eichorst. "This is a man reflecting the university's image and he's obviously not doing a good job."
Those comments enraged the ibis.
"Suspension?! Randal Hill stole a car and got one game. ONE GAME?! What are they gonna do? Get rid of me? You can't have a mascot of a Hurricane. What are you gonna get? A giant wave? I'm sure that'd go over well with the people who lose their homes...to HURRICANES. Anyways, I'm out. I've gotta go get some food...don't worry, nobody's helping me...jerks."
The University has not come to a decision in regards to the future of Sebastian the Ibis as of time of print.