The Miami Hurricanes have been waiting a long time to find out their fate from a drawn out NCAA investigation into improper benefits and the dreaded “lack of institutional control.” It’s taken so long in fact, that the Big 12 actually had 12 teams in it and Charlie Weis was gainfully employed by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, as Bruce Feldman pointed out on Twitter shortly after the punishment was finally announced. Overall, while the U was found to have lacked in control of their institution, the punishment is largely a slap on the wrist, especially for the football program, currently 6-0 and No. 7 in the BCS rankings, thanks to Miami’s self-imposed sanctions the last two years.
The entire athletic program at the University of Miami has been placed on probation for the next three years and the football team will lose nine scholarships over the next three seasons. Additionally, any Hurricanes staff member who sends an impermissible text to a prospect will be fined $100 per message and coaches involved will be suspended from recruiting activities for seven days. It’s an extremely light penalty considering how long the investigation has been drawn out and the fact that the NCAA is claiming a lack of institutional control took place.
But the NCAA chose to acknowledge and accpet the “extensive and significant” self-imposed penalties, including sitting out the last two bowl seasons and last year’s ACC title game, as punishment enough and won’t impose a bowl ban for the U in 2013. That is looking more and more like a very wise decision on the part of Miami, who took the self-imposed penalty without knowing what kind of judgement the NCAA would levy against them. Because they chose to miss out on mid-tier bowl games after 6-6 and 7-5 records the last two seasons, the program is now on track for a major bowl game and possibly even a BCS berth.
It has been a dark cloud hanging over the Miami program for a very long time but the NCAA investigation is finally closed. The Canes can move forward now and focus on finishing their strong start with a berth in the ACC title game, a BCS bowl and possibly even the BCS National Championship if they can win out. The U is back … at least as far as being bowl-eligible goes.