The Miami Hurricanes’ turnover chain — or more specifically, the Cutler Bay jeweler who designed it — is now making waves in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Anthony John Machado, known as the “King of Bling” and owner of AJ’s Jewelry in Cutler Bay, reportedly “was banned from interacting with North Carolina athletes at the start of the NCAA’s investigation into the UNC football program in 2010,’’ the News & Observer of Raleigh wrote on Friday.
The article stated that “UNC on Oct. 25, 2010, sent a letter of disassociation to Machado addressed to his store, AJ’s Jewelry in Cutler Bay, Fla.. In the letter, Dick Baddour, who was the UNC athletic director at the time, wrote that Machado’s ‘involvement with one of our student-athletes has led to the NCAA declaring one of [UNC’s] student-athletes permanently ineligible.’’’
UNC “returned the jewelry that Machado had provided to at least one UNC athlete,’’ the article stated.
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UNC reportedly never made clear whose eligibility was affected.
Machado’s “disassociation’’ with UNC athletes was to last through October 2015, the report said.
Machado, reached by phone Saturday morning, declined to comment on the report.
UM’s turnover chain, a gaudy motivational prop that weighs 5 1/2 pounds and has become a national fascination as well as the emblem of the No. 2 Hurricanes, was purchased by a member of the UM staff, according to University of Miami athletic director Blake James. It is awarded momentarily to any UM player who makes an interception or recovers a fumble. The player must return it to a UM assistant as soon as the defense goes back on the field. No player is allowed to take the chain after it’s returned.
The Canes, who have forced four turnovers in each of the past four games, are fourth nationally in turnovers gained, with 24.
UM AD James, through a school spokesman after a request for a comment was made Friday, sent this text to the Miami Herald: “A member of our staff purchased the Turnover Chain from a local jeweler. We are aware that the jeweler, Anthony Machado, was previously involved in a matter at another institution more than seven years ago. However, we have no reason to believe that there is — or has been — any inappropriate conduct regarding Mr. Machado and the University of Miami.’’