The NCAA, after nearly two years of investigations, finally released its findings on the Nevin Shapiro scandal on Tuesday. With the Miami Hurricanes already having self-imposed a two-year bowl ban, the NCAA decided to not impose any postseason bans of their own and instead chose to dock the Hurricanes football program nine scholarships over the next three years.
But considering the nature of the violations that the Hurricanes committed, the program should have received a much harsher penalty.
The NCAA violations that occurred at Miami were rampant. Shapiro paid players in bunches, giving them lavish gifts of cash, airline tickets and trips on his private yacht.
What’s even more shocking is that Shapiro is now in federal prison, serving a 20-year sentence for running a ponzi scheme that scammed people out of $930 million. So it’s pretty likely that the money being used to illegally pay players was illegally obtained by Shapiro from the ponzi scheme.
To give an example of how rampant the illegal payments were to players, former Miami standout Vince Wilfork, who now plays for the New England Patriots, was paid upwards of $53,000 and given a washer and dryer, according to USA Today.
Some of the more dastardly claims in the Shapiro investigation include allegations that Shapiro paid for an abortion for a stripper after a player impregnated her, that he paid for prostitutes for players and instituted a bounty system on opponents similar to what was discovered to be going on with the New Orleans Saints of the NFL.
It seems like a self-imposed two-year bowl ban and just nine scholarships taken away are a light penalty considering the severity of the allegations, and the fact that the NCAA didn’t come down harder is on the organization itself.
In fact, it is the NCAA’s own shortcomings in their investigation of Miami that prevented them from really dropping the hammer on the Hurricanes.
According to USA Today, the NCAA had to toss out 20 percent of its case against the Hurricanes after it was discovered that the information was obtained through unethical practices involving Shapiro’s attorney, Maria Elena Perez.
Because the NCAA received such flak for its handling of the Miami case, and because the organization took so long to investigate the allegations, it allowed Miami to rebuild its image and make the NCAA look like the guilty party. And that’s the NCAA’s fault.
But it’s still Miami’s fault that they not only allowed, but all but encouraged Shapiro’s reprehensible actions to take place within the athletic department. The NCAA should have come down much harder on the Hurricanes, and their failure to do so is just another thing to add on the laundry list of problems and shortcomings the NCAA is facing right now.