February 20, 2013
by Todd Helmick

POOR OLE MIAMI
"If Miami were 12-0 last year in football they would not have self-imposed anything much like the Miami basketball team will do now."

The University of Miami has received their official notice of allegations from the NCAA. The ones related to the Nevin Shapiro bomb dropped on the South Florida campus over two whole years ago.

Two extremely bothersome situations have come about since the official LOIC (Lack of Institutional Control) allegations made its way to the public early this week. First, the NCAA really is crooked. Second, so is poor ole Miami.

First, no one ever believed in the last 80-plus years the NCAA was a fair and just organization that answered to anyone. Their investigative techniques, secret meetings, questionable judge and jury abilities have never been challenged. Worse yet, the NCAA's head-scratching inequality of dishing out punishment and penalties differently as they see fit from university to university is a typical "good ole boy, wink-wink" set up. Everybody knows it, even the people inside the NCAA. One university gets the maximum sentence. Others get the minimum sentence for the same crimes.

Second, No one ever believed in the last 10-plus years that Miami athletics were innocent of all the charges placed upon them. Not even Miami. At the same time the media approach to all this seems to be "poor ole Miami". They have been punished enough. They don't deserve all this. Huh?

How do you think Penn State and USC will feel if Miami is left to escape similar NCAA fates? It's media people like ESPN's Stephen A. Smith on First Take that stand up on national television and demand that Penn State get everything that was handed to them with a zero NCAA tolerance policy only to sound like a fool by following up that Miami's case should be dismissed with zero further penalties...just like the NCAA, hypocrisy and favoritism at its finest.

What's the Miami stance? "Yes we cheated and got caught. But since the NCAA obtained a small portion of their information illegally they should drop their entire case against us?" Are you seriously kidding me? And just how do you think Penn State or the Paterno family feel about not being given due process in the Jerry Sandusky ordeal? The NCAA didn't even conduct an investigation. No one is saying Penn State should have been just slapped on the wrist for those atrocities. Ergo, nobody should be saying Miami get slapped on the wrist for something that involved a large numbers of coaches and front office staff on the university payroll. To say otherwise Steven makes you look like a buffoon. If the contention is that sexual child abuse is a much deeper crime deserving of a harsh sentence that would certainly be true. So when is the NCAA also going to take a stand and begin dishing out school penalties for players that sexually abuse women, get arrested for drugs, assaults and DUI convictions? They don't. Unless you're Penn State of course.

Miami self-imposed two football bowl bans, a conference football championship game ban (which actually was an automatic result of declaring a bowl ban), suspended players and implemented an undisclosed reduction in football scholarships for 2013 (that likely will get refilled if the NCAA doesn't demand otherwise). Miami president Donna Shalala said on Monday that she believes those punishments should be enough.

In those two years of football bowl bans Miami posted a final record of 6-6 and 7-5 respectively. The decisions to self-impose a bowl ban came in the 11th hour both times in late November once Miami had a clear understanding of their bowl fate. What's most bothersome about this...If Miami were 12-0 last year in football they would not have self-imposed anything much like the Miami basketball team will do now!

Which leads to the next question, what penalties have been self-imposed on the Miami basketball team? The mulitple basketball coaches illegal involvement with Nevin Shapiro apparently may be more far reaching than that of the football program. In February 2012, Miami center Reggie Johnson was ruled ineligible by the school after an investigation revealed that members of his family accepted "impermissible travel benefits" from a member of the school's former coaching staff. Johnson was reinstated quickly last season and remains a key part of this season's team. "The ongoing cloud of the scandal is not hurting the Hurricanes", basketball coach Jim Larranaga said Tuesday night.

No kiddin' coach!

If anyone honestly believes that Miami would self-impose a post season basketball ban on a team that is currently undefeated in the ACC and sitting as the No. 2 ranked team in the country I have some cheap hurricane flood insurance to sell. This is not how NCAA penalties are supposed to be levied...at the discretion of the university based on how good the team is. And that is what's happened to this point for both football and basketball.

One thing you have to hand to Miami president Shalala, she and her university is trying to prove that it's better to fight the NCAA then to cooperate with it. Yes, the NCAA screwed up. People have been and will be fired over this debacle. Not only that but the biggest outcry is that the NCAA is taking too long to wrap up this UM investigation. However, in the scheme of things...the NCAA took FOUR WHOLE YEARS to investigate USC, strip them of their wins, strip them of their national championship, take away Reggie Bush's Heisman and slam the Trojans into NCAA penalty oblivion? Where is the outcry for poor ole USC? What's bad for them has to be bad for Miami. Or it's time for more law suits.

"We deeply regret any violations, but we have suffered enough," Miami president Donna Shalala said in a statement announcing the university had received notice from the NCAA.

Miami cheated, they admit it. But Shalala and assorted media outlets want you to feel sorry and let poor ole Miami off the penalty hook because the NCAA botched how they retrieved a minute portion of their information (all of which was completely removed from the allegation list). That poor ole Miami has suffered enough, that poor ole Miami should be treated different than everyone else.

What does the NCAA having to throw out 20% of their investigation have to do with Miami cheating and admitting as much? No question poor ole Miami is screaming victim in an effort to reduce their penalty. Granted, if a police investigator improperly mishandles evidence many times the case is ruled a mistrial. It's a grand (but stupid) idea, but since when has the NCAA ever operated under the U.S. Judicial rules and regulations? Geez, there's a new one. Is now the time to start? Great, let's overhaul the NCAA. If this is the case...

Then all penalties and fines levied against Penn State and USC should be removed and returned immediately. They have suffered enough. Isn't this about making sure the system is fair and just for everyone and not just poor ole Miami?

Poor ole Miami basketball hasn't been penalized for anything. And if poor ole Miami football was in the BCS Championship race last Thanksgiving they too would not have been penalized for anything. That can't happen.