It’s no secret to anyone that The U is currently embroiled in a huge scandal involving the football team, the NCAA and one booster with highly questionable morals. Reactions run the gamut from calling for the “death penalty” for the football team, to calling for Donna Shalala to resign. But is the University of Miami really the issue?
Nevin Shapiro – the booster in question – is a rich man who used his money to buy friendships with the athletes so he could say he was close with them. He was involved solely for profit and lashed out when he found himself rotting in jail and losing his riches. Do you think he really cares about NCAA rule violations?
Per NCAA rules, players are not allowed to get benefits off the field. Players know that, it’s not hidden from them. But as much as coaches, ADs and administrators can try and sway them from receiving these things, we have to remember that these are college kids. If you were put in a position where someone you know invited you out on their yacht this weekend, would you say no? At their core, no matter how good these guys are or how highly touted the media makes them, they’re still our age.
The athletes deserve some of the blame because it’s clearly in the rules. The administrators that were here deserve blame too because either a) they knew what was going on and willingly turned a blind eye to it, or b) they had no idea, which is what the NCAA would call a “lack of institutional control.”
But the real problem here is the NCAA. For years, this has been a system that has been able to get rich off selling these prospective student athletes, using them to fill their own pocketbooks, but when it comes down to an athlete trying to make a few dollars, they won’t stand for it. These athletes often come from low-income homes and aren’t allowed to have jobs. But they’re supposed to turn down a gift that could pay their rent?
This has been a problem on campuses all over the country. Punishing Miami’s athletes and students rather than the staff involved that have since departed seems unfair, especially since their behavior is a symptom of a faulty system. There is something making this a pandemic among college football programs.
Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.