Senior College Football Columnist

NCAA strips Miami of 9 scholarships, but Hurricanes avoid bowl ban

Miami, which has sat out the last two postseasons and three postseason games (the third game being the 2012 ACC Title Game) by self-imposing penalties on itself in the wake of the Nevin Shapiro scandal, will not be hit with any further post-season ban, a source told CBS Tuesday morning. UM will lose nine scholarships over the next three seasons, the source added.

Since word of the dealings of Shapiro, the rogue former UM booster broke in August, 2010, the University has been in a state of limbo to some degree. In those months and years since most of the people involved with Shapiro are long gone. Head coach Al Golden, who walked in after this mess surfaced, has the Canes 6-0 and ranked No. 7 in the country. None of the players on Golden's roster have been linked to Shapiro's alleged improper benefits.

"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," Golden said Tuesday in a prepared statement. "They shouldered the burden, exhibited class and exemplified perseverance for Hurricanes everywhere.

"Further, I would like to express heartfelt appreciation to our staff and families who did not subscribe to this challenge three years ago, yet courageously adopted it as their own. They have brought the utmost professionalism, resiliency and integrity to our program. More importantly, they continue to recruit and represent our world-class institution with class and dignity in unprecedented circumstance.

"Lastly, it is with gratitude and humility that I say thank you to our administration, U Family everywhere and the entire South Florida Community for their unyielding support of our young men and program over the last 28 months."

The Shapiro scandal as resulted in the Hurricanes sitting multiple players in the 2011 season and sitting out the 2011 and 2012 postseason, including the 2012 ACC title game.

In a release Miami announced that the school has accepted the penalties, with no plans to appeal the NCAA's decision. After receiving a punishment from the Committee on Infractions, schools have 15 days to file an appeal in writing. With no intention to appeal, there is finally some closure on this unprecedentedly long process.

The infractions process has lasted the entirety of Al Golden's tenure as the Hurricanes coach, but arguably the most frustrating aspect of the investigation has been the unprecedented timetable. The school met with the NCAA's Committee on Infractions in June, and normally there is a wait of six to eight weeks after the hearing before the committee releases its report.

"The Committee on Infractions report closes a challenging chapter in the history of the University of Miami," school president Donna Shalala said. "I am grateful to our coaches, staff and student-athletes for their dedication to the University and to intercollegiate athletics. I also want to thank Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford for his steadfast support. Finally, I want to apologize to the Hurricane family, as we have asked for your patience, faith and support during a difficult time. Thank you for standing with us."

In its Notice of Allegations, the NCAA alleged that 72 student-athletes received benefits totaling more than $170,000 from Nevin Shapiro, but the school has repeatedly pointed to the track record of a convicted felon to dispute aspects of Shapiro's claims.

The school also imposed recruiting restrictions for 2012-13, which included a reduction of official paid visits, fall evaluations and a 20 percent reduction of available contact days. Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky, the chair of the Committee on Infractions, cited Miami's "unprecedented" self-imposed penalties and "commendable" level of cooperation as factors that weighed heavily in the decision regarding further penalties.


Bruce Feldman is a senior writer for CBSSports.com and college football commentator for CBS Sports Network. He is a New York Times Bestselling author, who has written books including Swing Your Sword, Meat Market and Cane Mutiny. Prior to joining CBS, Feldman spent 17 years at ESPN.
 
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