Ohio State can’t catch a break. Just when it looked like the Buckeyes would top the list for this year’s college football cheating and related scandal the University of Miami has taken the field. And if the allegations reported in the NYT and first reported on Yahoo are true, it looks like Miami will capture the national championship and secure its place in the college football hall of shame.
Here’s from the NYT story “A Huge Scandal, but Probably Not the Harshest Penalties“:
As college sports officials confront yet another cheating scandal — this one involving Miami, the latest in a conga line of blue-chip programs that have recently stumbled into the crosshairs of N.C.A.A. investigators — speculation over the extent of the fallout intensified Wednesday. Questions were raised about the status of current players, former coaches and even administrators, including Donna Shalala, the university president.
A Yahoo Sports report on Tuesday implicated 72 athletes. They are accused of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, gifts, meals, even the services of prostitutes, from Nevin Shapiro, a booster now incarcerated for his role in a $900 million Ponzi scheme. There appears to be little doubt that the severity and breadth of the claims against Miami’s athletics program are worse than what peers like Ohio State, North Carolina, Tennessee, Oregon and Louisiana State encountered in recent months.
But Julie Roe Lach, the N.C.A.A.’s vice president for enforcement, said in an interview Wednesday that there had been little discussion about reviving harsh penalties like television bans or the so-called death penalty, two punishments once used by the N.C.A.A. that have long been shelved.
The N.C.A.A., which has been investigating Miami since March, continues to try to bolster enforcement, but it does so against a backdrop of television contracts in the billions and some coaching salaries that eclipse $5 million.
“There isn’t a public outcry to do something about a system that is so terribly broken,” said J. Brent Clark, a former N.C.A.A. investigator who is now a lawyer in Oklahoma City. “The game is too popular and the money is too big.”
One veteran compliance official, who requested anonymity because he was not permitted to speak publicly about Miami’s case, said that if the N.C.A.A. upheld the findings in the Yahoo report, it would be the most significant case he had seen. He said the most critical element of the report was that it appeared that coaches and administrators were aware of what Shapiro was doing and did nothing about it.
If these allegations are true, I can’t imagine that this level of misconduct could have taken place over several years without at least some coaches, administrators, students and others knowing about it.
Somewhere today E. Gordon Gee must be smiling — even though it looks like the Buckeyes are about to finish second again.