Tuck: Hurricanes Scandel Reveals Shady NCAA

The Miami Hurricanes will not play for the ACC Coastal division title this week at Duke and I think that sucks.  These kids and coaches are innocent, worked hard, and played this year believing they’d have a shot at winning something, only to have the school decide in the 11th hour that they will not.

“Considerable deliberation and discussion based on the status of the NCAA inquiry went into the decision-making process and, while acknowledging the impact that the decision will have on current student-athletes, coaches, alumni and fans, a determination was made that voluntarily withholding the football team from a second postseason was not only a prudent step for the University to take but will also allow for the football program and University to move forward in the most expedited manner possible,” said the university’s statement.

It continued, “The University and President Shalala have been clear from the start of the inquiry that Miami will cooperate fully and will seek the truth, no matter where the path might lead and that the institution will be stronger because of it. The University has already taken proactive measures to ensure more strict compliance with NCAA rules and continues to evaluate further steps.”

I hate that current players and coaches must pay for the alleged sins of those that were there previous.  I believe that the way to punish these schools is to penalize them financially.  Don’t strip kids of scholarships or take away opportunities for them to succeed because others have failed before them.  I understand inevitably there will be innocent bystanders that are punished for things they had nothing to do with, I just hope to find ways to limit that now and in the future.

Miami has been put in a difficult position of apologizing for the past by sacrificing the present.  They are basically choosing between now and the future.  It’s unfortunate that is what it comes down to.

It is also a reminder how corrupt college athletics are.  The NCAA has very little power, but is gaining in confidence as far as flexing it’s muscles.  They laid down unprecedented and in many ways unlawful sanctions on Penn State to make a point.  They sent a message, and the Lions willingly accepted it so they could “move forward.”  But not every school is going to be so cooperative.

The Miami players accused of NCAA violations by Nevin Shapiro have not be helpful to the NCAA.  And why would they?  It isn’t court, or law, and they are under no obligation to incriminate themselves or even defend themselves against these allegations.

The NCAA is again attempting it seems to reach outside it’s means.  Here’s an excerpt from a letter the NCAA sent to a former Hurricanes player’s agent.

“Interviewing your clients is important in order for the enforcement staff to conduct a thorough investigation, and both the staff and the institution request you and your clients’ cooperation in this matter. However, at this time, all attempts to schedule and execute interviews with [blank] have been unsuccessful. As a result, this letter serves as a formal and final request by the NCAA enforcement staff for interviews with [blank] to be completed by Nov. 23, 2012.

“If we do not hear back from you or your clients by that time, the staff will consider the non-response as your client’s admission of involvement in NCAA violations. You may contact me at [blank] in order to arrange this interview. Your assistance in this matter is appreciated.”

Say what?  Is the NCAA seriously saying that they will just go by the word of a convicted felon in Nevin Shapiro?  That they will simply believe the convicted liar and Miami is at the mercy of a man with an ax to burn?

NCAA president Mark Emmert does not have an easy job.  It seems clear that some rules were broken by both players and coaches at Miami, but I don’t know how you could just go on the word of Shapiro and assume that is truth.  I don’t know what punishment could be laid out, but doesn’t the NCAA need to have evidence and proof of these things actually happening?  They can’t seriously believe they can dole out whatever they see fit and not have it challenged, do they?

Miami is attempting, although meekly, to push past their mistakes and move forward to a more peaceful, rule-abiding time.  The NCAA probably should as well, instead of threatening former players, and attempting to produce what they believe to be true as opposed to what they can prove to be true.

If the NCAA attempts to hammer Miami the way they did Penn State without sufficient evidence, this could be an undoing of the good they are trying to do and become just another black mark against them and opening further conversation, what role, if any, they should have in governing college athletics in the future.