Tag:Miami NCAA Investigation
Posted on: August 18, 2011 2:54 pm
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Mark Emmert says he's 'fine with' death penalty

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

NCAA
vice president of enforcement Julie Roe Lach said Wednesday the "majority of ... support" she encounters within the organization is for sanctions like bowl bans and scholarship reductions that stop short of the death penalty--even in the event of mammoth scandals like the one unfolding at Miami. But apparently, she didn't talk to the NCAA's own president.

Mark Emmert, having already taken the unusual step of commenting on an ongoing NCAA investigation with his initial statement on the Hurricane allegations, told the USA Today Thursday that the death penalty ought to be one "tool" at the Committee on Infractions' disposal:
"We need to make sure that we've got, for the committee on infractions, all the tools they need to create those kinds of deterrents. If that includes the death penalty, I'm fine with that."
Emmert said those deterrents should "provide serious second thoughts for anybody who thinks they can engage in this kind of behavior with impunity." He also commented on the Miami case directly again, saying that "if these allegations are true," they are "very troubling, and ... point out the real need for us to make changes and to make them thoughtfully and aggressively."

All of that certainly sounds noble enough. But Emmert's tough talk of change and nuclear-option sanctions won't mean much in the public eye if his organization doesn't back it up with legitimate reform, and penalties with teeth in cases of wanton rule-breaking (like, say, Jim Tressel's cover-up at Ohio State).

Discussing the death penalty is one thing, and it's fine as far as it goes. (Though the seemingly contradictory statements from Emmert and Roe Lach don't exactly portray the NCAA as an entity whose left hand knows what its right is doing.) But all the talk in the world won't do as much for Emmert's crusdade as one sensibly firm decision in a case like Miami's--and that decision doesn't have to be death penalty-caliber to prove the NCAA is serious.

Posted on: August 18, 2011 1:33 pm
 

NCAA's Roe Lach: Little support for death penalty

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

From the moment the Yahoo! Sports story exposed the mindblowing scope of Miami's Nevin Shapiro scandal, one question about the Hurricanes' potential NCAA punishment has towered above all others: Could Miami receive the death penalty?

There's not a college football fan alive who doesn't know that the NCAA has ordered the temporary shutdown of a program just once, at SMU in the 1980s. But with a broad consensus that the Hurricane scandal appears to be the most serious since the "Pony Excess" days, the death penalty has been touted by more than one observer as ripe for revival. Two former school compliance officials told the Palm Beach Post Wednesday that the allegations "absolutely scream" for a program suspension, and that the 'Canes would be a "likely candidate" for the SMU treatment.

But within the actual enforcement wing of the NCAA, there doesn't seem to be much stomach for it. Vice president of enforcement Julie Roe Lach is prohibited from discussing the Miami investigation specifically (even if her boss Mark Emmert apparently has no such limitations), but in speaking to the New York Times Wednesday she made it clear no one in Indianapolis is chomping at the bit to use the nuclear option:
“I have not heard [conversation] turn much to television bans or the death penalty,” she said. “The majority of the ideas or support I keep hearing relate toward suspensions [of coaches] or postseason bans being the most powerful.”
One former chairman of the NCAA Committee on Infractions, David Swank, also said the NCAA would be reluctant to pull the trigger on sanctions that "destroy a program."

It's a position that makes sense in a vaccum. (And we're all for the continued elimination of television bans, which severely punish the sanctioned team's opponents simply for having the misfortune of being on the schedule.) Given that the Mustangs are just now crawling out of their smoking crater more than 25 years later, no one should want to see the death penalty handed down ever again.

But that doesn't take into account the USC problem. As the New York Times story notes, the Miami scandal appears to be of a magnitude greater than that of the Trojans' Reggie Bush case, which already holds the record for the stiffest penalties since the SMU decision--30 docked scholarships and a two-year bowl ban.

So how far past that standard can the NCAA go while still stopping short of the death penalty? Add another couple of years to the postseason ban, add in another several scholarships lost, add in the difficulty of (inevitably) finding new coaches at an already cash-strapped program and dozens of new players for the roster, and the 'Canes would be entirely crippled. They would face an enormous struggle to remain even marginally competitive in the ACC, or any BCS conference. They'd be, essentially, the walking dead version of what used to be Miami.

And if that's the case, would it be better for the Hurricanes to become the dead dead version for a year? Should they want to push the reset button, and start over after one lost season with fewer limitations and a cleaner slate afterwards?

Probably not. But unless the NCAA wants to undercut the Trojan decision and admit once-and-for-all that those sanctions were overboard and unfair -- not likely -- having the death penalty off the table means the COI will have a very, very fine line to walk when it comes to Miami.

Posted on: August 18, 2011 11:58 am
Edited on: August 18, 2011 12:20 pm
 

Statement from Miami AD Shawn Eichorst

Posted by Chip Patterson

Miami athletic director Shawn Eichorst made an official statement on Thursday regarding the NCAA investigation into the football program.

When I accepted the position of Director of Athletics at Miami in April, I not only embraced a new opportunity, but also a new family; a family of Hurricane students, coaches, staff, alumni, faculty and supporters. I know our family is hurting right now and that is what has made the past few days so difficult, upsetting and disappointing for me, as I am sure it has been for many proud Canes.

But these are not times for pity and reflection. All of my efforts and energy are committed to ensuring the integrity of the NCAA investigation, demanding the full cooperation of our employees and student athletes and providing unwavering support to our more than 400 plus student-athletes and more than 150 coaches and staff. Along with our passionate and devoted supporters, they are the true essence of Miami athletics.

There are tough times ahead, challenges to overcome and serious decisions to be made, but we will be left standing and we will be stronger as a result. I understand there are unanswered questions, concerns and frustration by many but this Athletic Department will be defined now and in the future, by our core values, our integrity and our commitment to excellence, and by nothing else. The University of Miami, as an institution of higher learning, is a leader in exploration, achievement and excellence and we will work hard to do our part to live up to that standard.

In my introductory press conference back in April, I asked the community for their unconditional support in our efforts to achieve the goal of excellence. Now, the community, the coaches, the student-athlets and the University have my unconditional support as we move towards a better day. And there will be a better day.


ACC Commissioner John Swofford also offered a statement on the investigation:

"This is exactly why the NCAA has an investigative office in place. While by policy we don't comment on ongoing NCAA investigations, I do know the University of Miami is taking these allegations very seriously and will continue to work jointly with the NCAA to determine the validity of the allegations."

Click here for more coverage on the NCAA's investigation into Miami football
Posted on: August 17, 2011 1:45 pm
 

Mark Emmert on Miami: "fundamental change" needed

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The NCAA has a policy of never commenting publicly on an ongoing investigation, but for the epic maelstrom of malfeasance uncovered at Miami, apparently it's willing to make an exception.

That exception arrived Wednesday in the form of a statement from (suddenly very busy) president Mark Emmert, published at the NCAA website. It reads in full:
If the assertions are true, the alleged conduct at the University of Miami is an illustration of the need for serious and fundamental change in many critical aspects of college sports. This pertains especially to the involvement of boosters and agents with student-athletes. While many are hearing about this case for the first time, the NCAA has been investigating the matter for five months. The serious threats to the integrity of college sports are one of the key reasons why I called together more than 50 presidents and chancellors last week to drive substantive changes to Division I intercollegiate athletics.
We won't argue with Emmert that college football needs some "serious and fundamental change" if it's to continue its status as an amateur sport for "student-athletes," or that the actions of Nevin Shapiro -- or, more specifically, Miami's inaction in response -- are the most powerful argument presented yet in that change's favor.

But we're skeptical Emmert simply reasserting his position while that particular iron in hot really what issuing this statement is about. The key sentence in it is this one:
While many are hearing about this case for the first time, the NCAA has been investigating the matter for five months.
In recent months, the NCAA has taken a heavy dose of criticism for lagging behind as the media -- Yahoo! Sports, as often as not -- do their enforcement work for them. (See the media's unraveling of Jim Tressel's e-mail coverup for one example.) For once, though, the NCAA did not find out about serious allegations when the "many" of the public did--and from the looks of things, Emmert can't help but take the opportunity to crow about it.

We don't blame Emmert for being sensitive to the regular blasts of criticism aimed his organization's way; while much of it is deserved, much of it is entirely unfounded and unfair as well.

But this kind of passive-aggressive response isn't exactly the best way of firing back at those critics. Yes, it's good to hear the NCAA has been on the case. But given the magnitude of Shapiro's misdeeds, it's hardly such an achievement that it's necessary for Emmert to break with years of steadfast policy just to beat his chest about it.
Posted on: August 17, 2011 11:19 am
 

VIDEO: Discussing UM report with Jorge Milian

Posted by Chip Patterson

Miami once again has found themselves in the middle of a massive scandal within the football program. CBSSports.com's Lauren Shehadi discusses the NCAA investigation and the feeling on campus with Jorge Milian of the Palm Beach Post.



Click here for all the latest on the Miami Investigation, and be sure to follow our Miami Rapid Reports
Posted on: August 17, 2011 10:51 am
Edited on: August 17, 2011 1:36 pm
 

Al Golden feels he should have been informed

Posted by Chip Patterson

Tuesday's investigative report into Miami football named 72 former and current football players, coaches, and staff members who either participated in or knew of NCAA violations. One man with no connection to former Miami booster and convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro is current head coach Al Golden.

The Miami team has not been made available to the media, but Golden spoke with reporters before practice on Tuesday and Wednesday morning. The comments, according to CBSSports.com's Brian London, were clearly much different in light of the recent allegations.

"Certainly if [our players] were exposed to Mr. Shapiro, we have to prevent that from happening again moving forward," Golden said. "We have to get the facts. If this guy was around our players, how did it get to that?"

When Golden spoke on Tuesday he confirmed that NCAA investigators were on campus this week looking into alleged claims made by Shapiro. At the time the extent of the allegations was not known, but Golden did say that he was not informed of any possible violations at the time of his hiring - which was done by current Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt. If there was knowledge of the situation, Golden feels that information should have been shared in both the head coach and athletic director transition.

"If they knew this was percolating, I believe they had a responsibility to tell me and to tell [athletic director] Shawn [Eichorst]," said Golden.

Making matters difficult for former athletic director Kirby Hocutt is the official release from the university on Tuesday stating that the University notified the NCAA of Shapiro's allegations "nearly a year ago." Miami asked Shapiro and his lawyers for facts, but Shapiro instead took his claims to Yahoo! Sports and the NCAA.

The challenge now will be to figure out exactly how much of Shapiro's claims were known to the administration that hired Golden. If it can be proven that Hocutt or university president Donna Shalala knew anything remotely close to the details in the Yahoo! report, things could get awkward and potentially legal in Coral Gables.

But for now Golden insists he's happy at Miami, and even suggested that he might have taken the job regardless of possible allegations. That could change should a NCAA investigation result in heavy sanctions against the Miami football program, but we are a long way away from knowing anything certain. Golden admits he's disappointed, but he has all 12 current players named in the report still on the field - preparing for the Hurricanes' season opener against Maryland on Labor Day.

CBSSports.com's Brian London contributed to this report 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com