The Royal Heffernans

Quite possibly the best family ever

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Miami Needs to Shut the F Up!

Kellen Winslow Jr. chillin' with Nevin Shapiro in a VIP section of a South Beach club - IN 2003!
So on Tuesday, the NCAA delivered it's official notice of allegations to the University of Miami - Da U. As a result, there is NEAR UNIVERSAL OUTCRY by Miami, and by the media - AGAINST the NCAA!!!

How did the NCAA become the bad guy in this situation? Well, it turns out that the NCAA paid the lawyer of the booster at the heart of this scandal to help in their investigation by obtaining depositions on behalf of the NCAA. While not illegal, it oversteps the bounds of the NCAA's investigative powers. Therefore, EVERYONE from Miami president Donna Shalala to nearly everyone in the media is calling the NCAA out, demanding the NCAA back down. Why are the stakes so high? Because the NCAA cited the dreaded lack of institutional control in the allegations, the most severe charge available.

How did we get to this point? How did Miami become the victim and the NCAA the bad guy?

Renegade Miami football booster spells out illicit benefits to players

Miami says the charges are all media hype. Throw out the charges.
I would ask you to review what actually happened at Miami. The link is the original Yahoo! article blowing open the case. This article was based on convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro. A huge Miami booster, he gave so many improper benefits to Miami football and basketball players between 2002 and 2010 that it makes your head spin. What are we talking about? Memorabilia, huge cash payments, dinners, clubs, strip clubs, yacht parties, prostitutes, and yes - even an abortion paid for by Shapiro! Do you believe Shalala who says these are all media hype, or do you believe Shapiro the convicted felon? Well, Shapiro has no reason to lie, as he is already in jail. He also has the receipts, ledgers and PICTURES to prove his statements. I think it is painfully obvious that a lot of bad stuff was happening at Miami, even if you nitpick the details.

Miami says this is dragging on so long it is ruining their school. Throw out the charges.
Allegations first arose in September 2010. The investigation is now complete. It would have been complete months ago had Miami not argued and went back and forth on the notice of allegations. So let's just say it's been 2 years. How long did USC's investigation take? Over 4 years. Looks to me that the NCAA did a pretty good job getting this done.

Miami says the investigation was botched. Throw out the charges.
As I said before the NCAA paid Shapiro's lawyer to depose witnesses to build a part of their case (they say less than 20% of the charges). Again, this is not illegal. Shapiro and his lawyer actually approached the NCAA with this offer. The problem is the NCAA has no real power. Yahoo! has more investigative authority than the NCAA. The media wants to blame NCAA president Emmert and the organization. Yet, Emmert serves exclusively as the representative of ALL THE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENTS IN THE NCAA! He isn't some outlaw taking down programs. He is trying his best to carry out his charge to keep the NCAA clean. Not because he has an axe to grind, but because the university presidents want him to! It's a tough job. The NCAA made a mistake on this one, but this isn't a court of law. It doesn't negate all the bad things Miami did.

Finally, a lot of media folks are taking another look at the Penn State scandal as another example of the NCAA overstepping its bounds. They point out that the State of Pennsylvania is suing the NCAA over this, suggesting the NCAA was again wrong. Uhhh, NO! Before talking heads spout out this as an example of the NCAA run amok, they should check the details of this lawsuit. It was filed by the PA governor, who was the PA attorney general during the Sandusky time period. While AG, he refused to pursue allegations or even investigate until forced YEARS after the issues came up. Now, as governor he is suing the NCAA. Yeah, he went to Penn State! Not to mention the new PA AG ran on a platform that she would figure out WHY it took so long to prosecute Sandusky, and she had NOTHING to do with this lawsuit!!!

Getting back to the NCAA... In this case, the NCAA used a public document commissioned by PSU to investigate the Sandusky scandal. They didn't need to do their own investigation. Some may say this had nothing to do with football, but I say it has everything to do with football. The whole Sandusky situation was covered up by Paterno, the AD, and likely even the president of PSU. There is also evidence that the local and state police, and perhaps even the state attorney general knew of this. It was all swept under the rug for one reason - Penn State football. If this isn't a lack of institutional control, I don't know what is. It is a fact that the university presidents wanted IMMEDIATE action, and forced the NCAA into action. It is also a fact that there was near unanimous support for the death penalty for PSU football by those presidents. However, the NCAA actually worked with PSU and lessened the sanctions. The NCAA didn't overstep it's bounds. It enforced the will of the university presidents sending a message that football doesn't override an entire university.

Getting back to Miami. Donna Shalala needs to shut the F up. Miami lived by the renegade, glamorous South Beach image - and now it will pay the price. I think the death penalty is appropriate, but it is likely off the table due to the investigation errors. I wish the media would step back and look at the big picture. There is so much wrongdoing here by Miami. The NCAA is not the bad guy here. In the end, the will of the university presidents will be served.


Kevin said...

Miami's in bad shape, but so is the NCAA.

The NCAA relies on its reputation of being objective and independent to protecting college sports, and while many people don't always agree with the rulings and decisions of the NCAA, they can be proven to follow certain rules and maintain they objectivity. Additionally, as Ted noted, the NCAA serves at the behest of the presidents of the member colleges and universities, and derives all its powers from the submissions of those same institutions. If those presidents lose faith in the NCAA, it's all over.

Having worked at a company where our reputation for being objective and independent was our primary and most important asset (Ernst & Young), the NCAA is seeing what happens when that reputation is called into question. Arthur Anderson, a similar company to Ernst and Young, was implicated in the Enron failure. The partner on the Enron account was involved, but that was the extent of the involvement. But because of that partner, Arthur Anderson lost its reputation and collapsed.

I'm not saying this will happen to the NCAA, but it could be another step in the process of super-conferences taking over and instituting their own system(s).

Teddy said...

Totally agree about the demise of the NCAA. It's been trending that way for some time. I'm not sure how it will happen or what will be the final death stroke, but I think conferences will eventually take over college football, and members withdraw from the NCAA.

As for the NCAA remaining objective. I feel sorry for them. It's an IMPOSSIBLE job! Just read the most recent article on the Miami coaches also named in the allegations. They BLATENTLY LIED to NCAA investigators faces. Why? Because what the hell is the NCAA going to do about it?

It seems there are 2 tactics to dealing with NCAA violations:

1) Ohio State style
Acknowledge wrongdoing. Fire those responsible. Impose light, but meaningful self-sanctions. Make sure the self-imposed sanctions hurt the pocketbook (miss a bowl game).

2) USC style
Deny, deny, deny. Fight all allegations bitterly. Drag the investigation out as long as possible.

Clearly, OSU style makes the NCAA happy, as their job is easy. It also allows you to hide your dirtiest laundry that the NCAA may have found if they looked harder. Go the USC route, and you will piss off the NCAA and get hammered.

Looks like Miami started off OSU, but changed gears when they realized how serious this was. Now they have to all-out brawl with the NCAA because they likely don't have anything else to lose!