Integrity goes a long way with NCAA

The prolonged NCAA investigation into the University of Miami athletics department’s violations has reached its final chapter, and the university’s decision not to appeal means the book is truly closed.

When the NCAA handed out its sanctions Tuesday, the UM community let out a collective sigh of relief. Above all else, the No. 7-ranked Hurricanes will maintain bowl eligibility.

While many have expressed support for Miami, the U is still not without its critics. Some have said that the NCAA let us off easy, but anyone who has followed the last two and a half years at knows that this is not the case.

Miami self-imposed two bowl bans, cooperated with the NCAA, and carried itself gracefully throughout the duration of the investigation. Nonetheless, a statement from the University of Southern California – which was charged with lack of institutional control in 2010 – released Tuesday, attempts to suggest otherwise: “We have always felt that our penalties were too harsh. This decision only bolsters that view.”

The statement by USC athletic director Pat Haden draws a comparison between the two schools, but there is a distinction to be made. The clear difference is that USC knew of its wrongdoing but let it continue. As a result, the NCAA stripped the Trojans of their 2005 national title and Reggie Bush of his Heisman Trophy.

On the other hand, our university administration handled this investigation professionally thanks to the decision-making of President Donna E. Shalala, athletic director Blake James and others. And the Committee on Infractions recognized that.

While students may have been disappointed when the Canes were left out of postseason play, the sacrifice was the right one to make in the long run. Britton Banowsky, chairman of the Infractions Committee, acknowledged that these self-imposed penalties were a “very big deal” and that they indicated that UM had taken the matter seriously. UM took full responsibility, but more importantly, will continue to do so.

“Our compliance measures need to keep getting better,” Shalala said.

And James encourages students, fans and the community to come forward when they observe unethical behavior and bring it to the attention of the athletics department.

While the NCAA’s botched investigation suggests the association doesn’t fully grasp the meaning of integrity, at least it can recognize it when it sees it in the U.


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