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Georgia player linked to former Miami booster


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ATHENS, Ga. (AP)—Georgia tight end Orson Charles has been linked to a former Miami booster who told Yahoo! Sports he provided impermissible benefits to dozens of Hurricane football players and other athletes.

The report says Charles was among the players improperly brought to Nevin Shapiro while still in high school so the booster could try to persuade him to attend Miami. Charles wound up signing with the Bulldogs.

Former Miami tight ends coach and special teams coordinator Joe Pannunzio set up the meeting between Charles and Shapiro, according to the report. Pannunzio is now director of football operations at Alabama.

Yahoo! Sports reported Shapiro’s allegations Tuesday. He is serving a 20-year prison sentence for masterminding a $930 million Ponzi scheme.

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He's been cleared.

Georgia TE Orson Charles cleared by NCAA on Miami matter

12:09 pm August 17, 2011, by Chip Towers

ATHENS – Neither Georgia nor tight end Orson Charles will face any NCAA repercussions with regard to Charles’ inclusion in the Yahoo! Sports report on a rogue Miami booster he is alleged to have met during recruiting.

So says UGA in a brief statement it released about the situation late Wednesday morning.

“The University of Georgia is aware of the article mentioning Orson Charles and has been in communication with the NCAA. There are no issues with UGA or eligibility issues with Orson Charles. UGA will have no further contact regarding this matter.”

Georgia contacted the NCAA shortly after the Yahoo! Sports report was published online late Tuesday. Charles, a junior from Tampa, was listed among recruits alleged to have had had impermissible contact with notorious booster Nevin Shapiro in 2008. The report said Charles, then a rising senior at Plant High, was taken to Shapiro’s home by a Miami assistant coach to be given a “recruiting pitch.” Charles signed with Georgia in February of 2009.

Shapiro, who confessed to providing benefits and services to dozens of Miami players and recruits, is incarcerated in Atlanta following his conviction on fraud charges connected to a $930 million Ponzi scheme.

Charles, a preseason All-SEC selection, is expected to be one of the Bulldogs’ main offensive weapons this season. He had 49 career receptions for 796 yards and five touchdowns.

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