One of the elements of the story is Shapiro's claim that he offered a bounty for Hurricanes players if they knocked the opposing quarterback out of a game, according to three sources. Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder, who played against the Hurricanes every year as a Florida State Seminole, said he didn't notice any bounty-like treatment during those in-state rivalry games.
"I don't think so. I think when you get in the rivalry games like we had with Miami and even Florida, there are some dirty plays here and there. But, no, I never suspected anyone was being paid money to injure somebody," said Ponder, who said he heard about the Yahoo! report.
In fact, Ponder's performance against Miami in 2010 was one of his better games of the season. He completed 13 of 21 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns during a 45-17 rout of the Hurricanes. In 2009, Ponder had an even more productive game against Miami, hitting on 24 of 41 passes for one touchdown and rushing for 28 yards and another touchdown in a loss.
Shapiro told Yahoo! that he offered payouts for the "hit of the game" and "big plays" and put bounties on specific players, naming Florida's Tim Tebow and Florida State's Chris Rix, who played a few years before Ponder's arrival at Tallahassee.
Ponder cautioned that the story is still in the allegations stage and he would wait until the NCAA is complete with its investigation.
"He's coming out and saying things and it's not really a fact yet," Ponder said of Shapiro. "We'll find out. Who knows? It's a tough situation with him … it's in the past and obviously it's not going on now. It's tough. It's going to be tough for the program. We'll see what happens."
Ponder committed to Florida State in 2005 and didn't have an offer from Miami. He had offers or interest from Arizona, Baylor, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, North Carolina and TCU, according to Scout.com's recruiting database.
Asked if he thought the Miami program could get the death penalty, Ponder said, "It could be bad. It could be ugly. It's hard to speculate what's going to happen. You never know with the NCAA, what they're going to do."
Undrafted rookie safety Ryan Hill is the only former Miami Hurricane on the Vikings' roster. He knew of the Yahoo! report when asked about it after Wednesday's practice.
"It's an unfortunate situation. Obviously I'm letting the university handle it. I really have no comment on it right now," Hill said.
Hill said he was never given anything by Shapiro.
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Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.