On Tuesday, the NCAA realeased a 102-page infractions report detailing the University of Miami’s involvement in the Nevin Shapiro scandal. The NCAA also announced punishments, stripping Miami of of nine football scholarships and three basketball scholarships over the next three years, handing a five-game suspension to former men’s basketball coach Frank Haith (now at the University of Missouri), and delivering show-cause bans to a number of assistant coaches.
But Miami’s football program did not receive a bowl ban, which some onlookers felt would have been appropriate given the NCAA’s handling of similar infractions in the past.
“This case certainly had the look of an extremely significant case because the coaches involved with both football and basketball were using Nevin Shapiro, the booster, in the recruiting process,” said Yahoo! Sports national columnist and Only A Game analyst Dan Wetzel.
Shapiro allegedly gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and benefits to Miami athletes. Some of the benefits that Shapiro provided included access to his mansion in South Beach, Fla., night clubs, and his suite at the football stadium.
“That would appear — particularly if you are a fan of Ohio State or USC or any school that got hit pretty hard [by NCAA sanctions in the past] — that this would be considered a very serious case,” said Wetzel. “The NCAA did not crack down to that level. I think that’s why there is a lot of confusion, a lot of angst. The typical bemoanment of the NCAA from fans.”
The NCAA bungled its investigation into Miami, violating a number of its own procedures, which lead to an investigation of its own investigators and the loss of some 20 percent of the case against Miami.
While Wetzel argues the NCAA has lost credibility, but stops short of calling for the elimination of the organization.
“There has to be something like the NCAA to regulate [cases like Miami’s],” he said.Wetzel believes that the NCAA’s penalties may be relatively light because the NCAA itself screwed up in the investigation and does not want to get sued because of its mistakes.
“The problem is the NCAA will tell you over and over and over that the Committee on Infractions — the group that makes that decision — is completely separate and free of the actual NCAA offices. These guys are supposed to just say, ‘Hey, we’re gonna drop the hammer on you.’ They shouldn’t care if there’s going to be a lawsuit, but the fact that everyone believes there is, it undermines the credibility of the process.”