CORAL GABLES, Fla. – When the NCAA’s long-awaited decision arrived Tuesday morning, Miami athletic director Blake James realized it was what he expected all along.
Fair, James said. But significant.
And final. The Miami-NCAA saga is over.
More than 2 1/2 years after former booster and convicted felon Nevin Shapiro contacted the NCAA from prison and began detailing his role in rampant rule-breaking by those involved with Miami’s football and men’s basketball programs, the Hurricanes got their final penalties. The most notable sanctions are the nine lost football scholarships over three years and one lost basketball scholarship in each of the next three seasons.
A three-year probation and some recruiting restrictions are also part of the penance.
But for the first time since 2010, Miami’s football team – currently undefeated and ranked No. 7 nationally – will be heading to a bowl game.
I want to sincerely thank our student-athletes and their families who, not only stood with the University of Miami during this unprecedented challenge, but subsequently volunteered for the mission, Miami football coach Al Golden said in a statement released by school officials. They shouldered the burden, exhibited class and exemplified perseverance for Hurricanes everywhere.
Miami said in February that it would appeal any sanction beyond what it had already self-imposed. Over time, that stance softened. No appeal is coming, at least not by the Hurricanes.
Four former Miami coaches, including Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith, still have the right to appeal sanctions that were brought against them. Three former assistant coaches all got two-year show-cause bans for ethics violations, including Clint Hurtt, who’s part of the staff at Louisville.
It’s relief that we finally have a decision, Miami President Donna Shalala told the Associated Press. It’s been a long haul. But I don’t have any anger or frustration.
Haith will miss the first five games of Missouri’s upcoming season.
The sheer size of the Miami investigation was unlike almost any other, with 18 general allegations of misconduct with 79 issues within those allegations, along with 118 interviews of 81 individuals by the NCAA’s count.
The NCAA said Miami lacked institutional control when it came to monitoring Shapiro.
But since this saga started, Miami has tried to make sweeping changes in the way it handles its compliance practices, and that along with the school’s decision to self-impose significant sanctions like sitting out three postseason football games and enacting recruiting restrictions was clearly looked upon favorably by the committee.