What Happened to Miami Hurricanes' 'Death Penalty' Talk?

By Scott Feder

Four days after the Miami Hurricanes became bowl eligible, the NCAA finally released their punishment based on their two-and-a-half year investigation.

The result: a loss of nine football scholarships and three basketball scholarships with no bowl sanctions. Coach Al Golden has to be ecstatic to hear this news given the university had self-imposed bowl bans the last two seasons as well as forfeiting an appearance in the ACC Championship game last year in an attempt to admit wrongdoing and lighten the potential penalties stemming from this investigation.

What about the “Death Penalty” talk and all of the overreaction  from the original news that sparked the investigation to begin with?

The truth is, the penalty could have been worse, but because of the way the university handled it combined with how the NCAA handled it, this was this only fair way to resolve the case. In addition to Miami’s self-imposed punishment, they also suspended  players that were alleged to have been involved in the infractions. Current Miami Dolphins player Olivier Vernon received a six-game suspension, the most of any player.

The reason Miami accepted this penalty is because the university admits that during the time in question, there was certainly a “lack of institutional control” within the athletic programs — football and basketball specifically. What also saved the Hurricanes was the fact that the NCAA also displayed a “lack of institutional control” within its own institution and investigative body.

To begin with, the NCAA had to commission an external investigation committee because of allegations that the current investigators paid the attorney of convicted felon Nevin Shapiro to obtain evidence in the case illegally. That outside investigative committee found that the original commission had operated against specific legal counseling by putting Shapiro’s attorney on their payroll. The result of this action led to the firing of three investigators.

Following the dismissal of the investigators, one of the new replacements maintained the same working relationship with the attorney. Another purchased a disposable cell phone and delivered it to Shapiro along with money that the investigator charged to his employer, the NCAA. This same investigator has since had to defend himself from multiple defamation lawsuits, as well as an accusation of intimidation of a witness.

To polish it off, the NCAA wrote to the state of Florida in an attempt to help soften the verdict against Shapiro in his personal case so that they could still have access to him.

The NCAA aligned itself with a convicted felon and then broke the law to try and bring down the University of Miami. The investigation on the Hurricanes shows kids being kids with child-like adults throwing money at them because it makes them feel better about themselves.

There is no doubt that Miami should have had more institutional control. There is also no doubt that the NCAA will do whatever it wants to try and protect its best interests — as we saw in the Johnny Manziel case. If the NCAA had not been caught breaking the law, then the outcome of this investigation would be different. That’s why there is no “Death Penalty.”

You May Also Like