CORAL GABLES (AP) — The University of 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 NCAA handed the school Tuesday as the Nevin Shapiro scandal presumably drew to a close.
The scholarship losses will be stretched out over three years and, 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 the University of Missouri, will sit out the first five games of his team’s upcoming season as punishment for his involvement with the former booster and three former Miami football and basketball assistant coaches were handed two-year show-cause bans.
“It’s relief that we finally have a decision,” university president Donna Shalala told The Associated Press. “It’s been a long haul. But I don’t have any anger or frustration.”
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.
“This case is among the most extraordinary in the history of the NCAA,” said Britton Banowsky, the Conference USA commissioner who chairs the Committee on Infractions, speaking in a Tuesday morning teleconference.
The infractions committee also said that the Hurricanes’ decision to impose sanctions on itself had been wise, with Banowsky calling it “a big deal.”
“I’m pleased that this case has finally been brought to conclusion and that the University of Miami can now move forward,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said. “As I’ve said all along, Miami’s cooperation throughout this process, under the tremendous leadership of President Donna Shalala, should be commended and I’m glad the NCAA recognized and appreciated the self-imposed efforts that were at such a significant level.”
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 itself reported impermissible telephone calls and texts.
Shapiro contacted the NCAA from prison in February 2011 and the probe’s scope grew quickly from there, the report said. Shapiro is serving a 20-year prison term for masterminding a $930 million Ponzi scheme.
Miami’s football team is off to a 6-0 start, and the school’s No. 7 ranking matches its highest since 2005. In the most recent game, the Hurricanes scraped past North Carolina 27-23 at Sun Life Stadium, earning a move up from No. 11 to No. 7 in the BCS polls.
Despite several miscues by quarterback Stephen Morris and injuries early in the game to Duke Johnson and Phillip Dorsett, Miami retained its undefeated status, thanks in large measure to redshirt sophomore Dallas Crawford, who stepped in to replace Johnson and ran for a career-high 137 yards, including the go-ahead 3-yard touchdown with 16 seconds left.
Miami will next face Wake Forest at noon Saturday at Sun Life StadiumMiami school officials met with the NCAA’s 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, the result was what the school wanted. Miami imposed postseason bans on itself in 2011 and 2012,missing two bowl games and lastseason’s Atlantic Coast Conference title game, as well as 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. An AP study of the notice of allegations found the NCAA was able to identify about $173,330 in extra benefits – more than half of it, investigators said, going to former Hurricane players Vince Wilfork and Antrel Rolle.
The school has instituted many safeguards against compliance violations since then.
The sheer size of the Miami investigation was unlike almost any other, with 18 general allegations of misconduct containing 79 issues, along with 118 interviews of 81 individuals.
Some of the NCAA’s would-be accusations were erased early this year when it was found that investigators improperly cooperated with Shapiro’s attorney and gleaned some of their information wrongly from her. Banowsky insisted that none of that information was considered by the infractions committee.