17 August 2011

What Is Next For The University of Miami's Football Program?

Unless you have been living under a rock (or read/watch ESPN), you know about the explosive Yahoo! Sports report about a University of Miami booster named Nevin Shaprio, now in jail due to taking part in a ponzi scheme, who provided countless benefits to 72 athletes between 2002 and 2010 (read the full list of players Shapiro provided benefits to and what benefits they received here. Charles Robinson and the Yahoo! gang really did an epic job here.). Shapiro says that he spent millions of benefits including cash, jewelry, prostitutes, travel, bounties for play on the field, etc. To understand the full severity of what has gone down down in South Florida, the report is a must.
So what is next for the high-profile and notorious football program, at one point one of the most powerful schools in college football?
The Hurricanes have exemplified swagger since the team rose to the national scene in the 1980's. The 'Canes was just as well known for trash-talking and bravado on the football field as well as being consistently on the police blotter off of it. Unfortunately it was that atmosphere, that aura, that demeanor that led to a schmuck like Shapiro to pull off the illegal activity for almost an entire decade while the school administration, of course, had no idea that nothing was going on. Shapiro claims otherwise and while he is far from a trustworthy source, how does a booster like him get granted all kinds of access to student-athletes while the administration would not know anything?
During most of the time that Shapiro says he was supplying gifts to players, the athletic director was Paul Dee, who was known for being abnormally strict while he was chairman of the NCAA's Committee of Infractions. Most notably he hit USC with very tough sanctions due to Reggie Bush accepting illegal benefits as well as stripping Memphis of its Final Four appearance in 2008 due to Derrick Rose's fake SAT scores. Whether those sanctions were too strict is another story, the fact that Dee brought down the hammer for these infractions while his own program was undergoing one of the biggest scandals in college sports history. He and school President Donna Shalala happily took donations to the athletics department from Shapiro, allowed him to get very close to players, and then turned a blind eye to the actions that Shapiro was undertaking.
In an era in which there has been rampant illegal activity in the world of college football, for example at USC, North Carolina, Auburn and Ohio State, the scandal at The U takes the cake. The USC scandal involved Bush and O.J. Mayo. The North Carolina scandal involves an agent, an assistant coach, and a handful of players. Auburn involved Cam Newton and his father. Ohio State involved a handful of players and a coach lying to the NCAA. Miami involves a truckload of players over an extended length of time. The scandal that Miami does come close to resulted in SMU having to shut down their program for a year and thus taking years to recover.
You have to feel for Al Golden, who gets the job of a lifetime in building a once proud program back to greatness only to have to be a player on the sidelines while the program gets blown to smithereens.
Sports Illustrated famously called for the University of Miami to shut down its football program back in 1995. And it's quite clear that the level of ridiculous activity that has gone on down in Coral Gables deserves severe punishment. The only way to fix this mess and to bring justice is to drop the Death Penalty and shut down the program. I can't think of a lesser punishment that would send the message that the Death Penalty would.

No comments:

Post a Comment