Two sports staff writers, Alex Koma and Alyssa Bedrosian, gave their thoughts on the situation at the University of Miami.
The most imposing phrase in college football is a simple one: the death penalty.
It may sound overly dramatic for something as straightforward as the NCAA’s ability to ban a school from participating in a sport after repeated violations, but for a major college football program, it could be considered a fate worse than death.
Since the rule’s inception in 1985, the only major recipient of this punishment has been the Southern Methodist Mustangs in 1987. However, after the recent revelations by former University of Miami booster Nevin Shapiro, the Hurricanes may soon join the ranks of the law’s victims.
Shapiro, who was convicted for his role in an elaborate Ponzi scheme, claims he used investor funds to provide Miami football players and coaches with extravagant monetary benefits.
The claims have reignited debate about whether the university should have a football program at all, considering the frequency with which they’ve committed infractions in the past.
Although such an assertion may seem extreme at first, the more that is learned about Shapiro’s accusations, the less ludicrous it becomes.
The booster’s purchased jewelry, extravagant dinners, and even an abortion for one player’s girlfriend — making it clear things got out of hand in South Florida.
Unfortunately, this kind of opulence seems pretty commonplace for the area. Whether it was Luther Campbell’s “pay-for-play” system or the infractions involving student aid in the mid 1990s, it seems as if a culture of continued disregard for NCAA law has developed in the program.
Although the NCAA clings to its amateurism ideals, it’s becoming clearer with each new college football scandal that no major program is completely devoid of violations. The only recourse the NCAA may have left is attempting to remove the “forbidden fruit” aspect of athlete benefits to stop such rampant infringements.
Furthermore, it’s worthwhile to consider exactly how much energy has gone into uncovering these violations. According to Mark Emmert, the NCAA president, there had already been a month-long investigation launched into Shapiro’s claims before they reached the press, not to mention the lengthy probes into Ohio State football and other programs earlier this year.
Is the general public ready to believe that money and energy couldn’t have been used to help develop a fair system for compensating student athletes?
Regardless of these possibilities, it seems as if, for now, the Hurricanes are beyond hope. Their only chance at avoiding the death penalty is to attempt to show that administration has things under control — the recent announcement stating they’re investigating 15 players’ eligibility is designed to do just that.
At this point, however, there is a more relevant question: Can such a corrupt system even be controlled?