There’s enough to this story for ESPN to make “The U: Part II” (with multiple episodes, as my buddy Shawn added).
The NCAA informed University of Miami administrators it will consider invoking its “willful violators” clause and make an exception to the traditional four-year statute of limitations in the Nevin Shapiro case, a university source told Yahoo! Sports.
Traditionally, the NCAA’s bylaws would only allow it to sanction the Hurricanes for infractions that occurred during the four years prior to receiving a letter of inquiry from investigators. For example, if Miami received a letter of inquiry for a case on Sept. 1, 2011, the NCAA could only sanction the school for applicable violations dating back to Sept. 1, 2007. But the clause – reserved for “a pattern of willful violations” – can spin a probe back to the earliest applicable infractions.
Applied to the Shapiro allegations, it means the NCAA could reach as far back to early 2002, when the booster said he began funneling benefits to Hurricanes players. And if the probe stretched back to 2002, it would overlap with Miami’s two-year probationary period from the baseball program, which was leveled from February 2003 to February 2005. That could potentially tag the Hurricanes athletic program with a “repeat violator” label and make the school further susceptible to the NCAA’s so-called death penalty.
NCAA president Mark Emmert says he’s willing to back up his tough talk on punishing rule-breakers — even using the “death penalty” as a deterrent.
With salacious allegations swirling around Miami’s football program, and one week after Emmert joined with university presidents to discuss toughening sanctions against cheating schools, the NCAA’s leader said he believed the infractions committee should make the harshest penalty an option.
“If, and I say if, we have very unique circumstances where TV bans and death penalties are warranted, then I don’t think they are off the table and I would be OK with putting those in place,” Emmert told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Friday.
Emmert later said the death penalty, which prohibits a school from competing in a sport, should only be used in rare cases. He was quick to distance his comments from the Miami case.
The NCAA has already spent five months investigating Miami and calls speculation about penalties for an ongoing case premature.
“I will say that the university is being extremely cooperative and that is extremely helpful,” Emmert said. “But if, and I underline the word if, the allegations are true, that’s extremely disappointing.”
This is also being discussed on the SFN Forums. Now go win that Walmart gift card!