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Miami's NCAA saga comes to an end with sanctions

Published October 22, 2013 9:33 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Coral Gables, Fla. • Miami's football team will lose a total of nine scholarships and the men's basketball team will lose three, as part of the penalties the school was handed Tuesday by the NCAA as the Nevin Shapiro scandal presumably drew to a close.

Both of those scholarship losses will be stretched out over three years. But for the first time since 2010, the football team will be permitted to appear in a postseason game.

The school will also serve three years of probation. Former men's basketball coach Frank Haith, now at Missouri, will sit out the first five games of his team's upcoming season, and three former Miami assistant coaches were handed two-year show-cause bans.

Even though the NCAA said Miami lacked "institutional control" when it came to monitoring Shapiro, the university is accepting the decision and does not plan to appeal. The NCAA's Committee on Infractions also showed that the Hurricanes' decision to self-impose sanctions was wise.

"The committee acknowledged and accepted the extensive and significant self-imposed penalties by the university," the NCAA said.

The NCAA decision will affect all of Miami athletics in one way — in all sports, any Hurricanes staff member who sends an impermissible text to a prospect will be fined a minimum of $100 per message, and coaches involved will be suspended from all recruiting activities for seven days. The NCAA said a probe of Miami actually started in 2009, when the school self-reported impermissible telephone calls and texts.

Shapiro contacted the NCAA from prison in February 2011, the report said, and the probe's scope grew quickly from there. Shapiro is serving a 20-year prison term for masterminding a $930 million Ponzi scheme.

Miami officials had no immediate comment, and were not planning to have any until the conclusion of an NCAA teleconference later Tuesday morning.

Miami's football team is off to a 6-0 start, and the school's No. 7 ranking matches its highest since 2005. The school met with the infractions committee in June, leaving those two days in Indianapolis hoping a decision would come within eight weeks.

It wound up taking more than 18 weeks, but in the end, was what the school wanted. Miami self-imposed postseason bans in 2011 and 2012, missing two bowl games and last season's Atlantic Coast Conference title game — along with more than 30 practices and some reductions in recruiting.

Shapiro alleged that he spent millions between 2002 and 2010 on football and men's basketball recruits, athletes and coaches. A study of the allegations by The Associated Press found the NCAA was able to identify about $173,330 in extra benefits — more than half of that, investigators said, going to former Hurricane players Vince Wilfork and Antrel Rolle.