Pee Wee and Nevin: the beginning
The lives of Allen and Shapiro collided on the football field nearly a decade ago when the Canes were at the top of their game.
Allen, who stands 5-9 and weighs 150 pounds, was nicknamed Pee Wee by UM players the moment he stepped onto the practice field as one of the students who worked as an assistant equipment manager for the 2001 national championship season. Apparently, I didnt look like much of a football player, Allen quipped poolside at his condo.
Among Allens duties: He would set up pads and sleds before practice and participate in drills with the linebackers by pretending to be a running back and taking hits from stars Jonathan Vilma, DJ Williams and Howard Clark.
In his deposition, Allen said that he remembers encountering Shapiro several times around UM because the latter would stop by the equipment room and purchase football jerseys from the football equipment manager, Revilla.
But it wasnt until the Fiesta Bowl in January 2003, when the University of Miami lost the national championship to Ohio State in double overtime, that Shapiro really began zeroing in on Allen.
He gave me a business card one day in the hallway, Allen said. He was like, This kid knows all the guys and Im going to teach him how to get closer.
Allen said that their friendship eventually blossomed when Shapiro gave him a 32-inch TV as a gift while Allen was sharing a $1,600-a-month, two-bedroom apartment with Canes defensive end Javon Nanton. Soon after, Allen said, Shapiro began talking to him about a potential job with Axcess Sports & Entertainment. Allen eventually switched majors from sports management to business management.
I bought into it big time hook, line and sinker, Allen said.
Today, the New Jersey native who had considered the UM football team as family feels miserable, has trouble landing jobs and admits hes battled heavy drinking. He reminisces about one of his prized possessions: a national championship ring from the 2001 undefeated season. He still has the TV Shapiro gave him in his condo overlooking Biscayne Bay.
Meanwhile, Shapiro is consumed with contempt for UM, a school he never attended. That school is going down and there is nothing to stop that inertia, Shapiro recently wrote in an email sent from a federal prison in Louisiana to a Miami Herald reporter.
He once dubbed himself Little Luke, in the image of rapper Luther Campbell, who had strutted his stuff on the UM sidelines during the bad-ass 1980s and 90s.
This past week, Allen drew the wrath of Campbell, who once visited Shapiro at his UM suite at Sun Life Stadium to discuss starting their own sports agency in 2009 after the demise of Axcess. Campbell was upset with Allen for recently speaking to reporters at CBSSports.com and at The Associated Press.
Allen had met Campbell about a decade ago through the Liberty City Optimist football club in Miami when he served as a mentor in the Big Brothers program. Campbell eventually coached several of those same youngsters at Miami Central and Miami Northwestern high schools.
It seems Allen cant get enough media attention, Campbell wrote in his weekly New Times column. Hes only hurting people who trusted him.