It’s been 31 months, but the University of Miami finally knows its NCAA infractions fate.
And it’s not as bad as many feared.
The Committee on Infractions said Miami had a lack of institutional control when rogue booster and Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro was allowed to have an influence on the program for several years. The extent of that influence came to light after a Yahoo Sports investigation into Miami athletics.
As a result, the Committee decided to issue the following sanctions:
- Three years probation
- The loss of nine total scholarships ion football and basketball over the next three years.
- Recruiting restrictions
Miami did not receive a bowl ban or an ACC title game ban because it served a self-imposed bans on both of those during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. It also reduced the number of official visits, evaluations and contact days in 2012-13.
Miami did not dispute the violations, which included 18 allegations of misconduct and 79 other issues.
[Yahoo Sports probe: Miami booster spells out illicit benefits to players]
Between the self-imposed sanctions and the ones handed down by the NCAA on Tuesday, Miami’s punishments were some of the harshest ever received by a university, but they did not come remotely close to reaching the level of the dreaded “death penalty” that many feared when the case began.
So, how will the announced sanctions affect this year’s Miami football team that is undefeated and ranked No. 7 in the BCS standings? Very little.
Other than the scholarship losses and recruiting restrictions, the current Hurricanes can still continue on a path toward an ACC title and a possible BCS bowl, which should give fans, players, coaches and anyone associated with Miami football a big sigh of relief.
[Photo gallery: Miami booster parties with athletes]
This closes the book on an investigation that has taken many different twists and turns in the past two and a half years. Shapiro, who is currently in jail for a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme, gave $500,000 to the athletic department from 2001-2008. He held private parties with student-athletes, took them to sporting events, had them on his private yacht, hooked them up with prostitutes, funneled them money and invested in Axcess Sports, which paid $50,000 to sign a former Miami athlete.
But the investigation took an odd turn earlier this year when NCAA president Mark Emmert commissioned an internal investigation, which revealed that certain NCAA investigators worked with Shapiro’s lawyer to obtain information – a move was beyond the scope of the NCAA’s investigative reach.
The mishandling of the case caused a stern reaction from Miami president Donna Shalala, who put out a statement saying, “We have been wronged in this investigation, and we believe that this process must come to a swift resolution, which includes no additional punitive measures beyond those already self-imposed.”
[From Rivals.com: What's the recruiting impact of the Miami verdict?]
Two former football assistants, Clint Hurtt, who is currently the defensive line coach at Louisville, and Aubrey Hill, who was the wide receivers coach at Florida, and assistant basketball coach Jorge Fernandez, who is an assistant at Marshall, were give two-year show-cause orders, which will keep them out of their respective NCAA sports for the duration of the penalty.
Former Miami head basketball coach Frank Haith, who is now at Missouri, will serve a five game suspension because “he did not monitor the activities of his assistant coaches, and attempted to cover up the booster's threats to disclose incriminating information.”
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