Opinion

Staff Editorial 1/24: NCAA: Don’t point fingers with dirty hands

Our first reaction was laughter, though that hardly seems fitting. Hypocrisy is rarely funny.

After two years full of questions but absolutely no answers, the NCAA just dropped the figurative hammer on itself. Let’s review the facts, or lack thereof:

Nevin Shapiro, a perpetual liar and swindler with an inferiority complex that he took out on the Hurricanes, is in prison for a Ponzi scheme totaling nearly $1 billion. Shapiro poured his heart out to a Yahoo! Sports reporter who ran with his wild story of illicit gifts, yacht trips and strippers for UM athletes from 2002 to 2010.

The NCAA launched an investigation into this alleged rampant misconduct, benefited from full disclosure and cooperation on the university’s part, but still failed to produce results.

Our athletic department has remained poised, compliant and persistent in its own right, even shutting the football team out of two bowl games to lighten any forthcoming sanctions.

“I am frustrated, disappointed and concerned by President Mark Emmert’s announcement today that the integrity of the investigation may have been compromised by the NCAA staff,” President Donna E. Shalala said in a statement. “… we will continue to work with the NCAA and now with their outside investigator hoping for a swift resolution of the investigation and our case.”

NCAA’s statement on Wednesday was shocking, and borderline humorous. Emmert called out former members of the association’s enforcement staff for improperly obtaining information to use against UM.

Give that a second to sink in. The integrity police have abandoned their own rules. The administrative body tasked to investigate wrongdoing at Miami could not follow its own guidelines.

Everyone is guilty of the occasional unethical misstep. But something feels especially unsavory about this new development in our long-running case with the NCAA.

People always wonder whether the NCAA has a particular vendetta against Miami. Since the brand first exploded during the Jimmy Johnson era, there has been outrage over perceived unethical conduct at the U.

In 2011, Sports Illustrated’s Alexander Wolff wrote a follow-up to his infamous 1995 letter calling for Miami’s athletic program to be shut down. “Your football program has no regard for the rules and your administration has no ability to enforce them,” he said.

Two years and zero solutions later, it’s the NCAA that must look inward to investigate a blatant disregard for its protocol and its “ability to enforce” it.

Will the NCAA ban itself from bowl games? Reduce its scholarships to set the program back a few years? Or does this developing mess warrant the dreaded death penalty?

The Hurricanes’ future is still at stake. The longer this investigation drags on, the more of a hindrance it becomes. But even the NCAA can’t take away the legacy we’ve built, the pride we’ve established or our trust in this program.

We stand with the U.

 

Editorials represent the majority view of  The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

January 23, 2013

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.