October 23, 2013 in Sports

Miami’s NCAA saga comes to an end with sanctions

Tim Reynolds Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Miami athletic director Blake James said the NCAA’s decision was “fair”.
(Full-size photo)

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – When the NCAA’s long-awaited decision arrived Tuesday morning, Miami athletic director Blake James realized it was what he expected all along.

“Fair,” James said. “But significant.”

And final. The Miami-NCAA saga is over.

More than 2 1/2 years after former booster and convicted felon Nevin Shapiro contacted the NCAA from prison and began detailing his role in rampant rule-breaking by those involved with Miami’s football and men’s basketball programs, the Hurricanes got their final penalties. The most notable sanctions are the nine lost football scholarships over three years and one lost basketball scholarship in each of the next three seasons.

A three-year period of probation, which started Tuesday, and some recruiting restrictions are also part of the penance.

But for the first time since 2010, Miami’s football team – currently undefeated and ranked No. 7 nationally – will be heading to a bowl game.

“I want to sincerely thank our student-athletes and their families who, not only stood with the University of Miami during this unprecedented challenge, but subsequently volunteered for the mission,” Miami football coach Al Golden said in a statement released by school officials. “They shouldered the burden, exhibited class and exemplified perseverance for Hurricanes everywhere.”

Miami said in February that it would appeal any sanction beyond what it had already self-imposed. Over time, that stance softened, and the Hurricanes are accepting what the NCAA handed down.

No appeal is coming, at least not by the Hurricanes.

None is coming from Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith, either. Haith will miss the first five games of Missouri’s upcoming season because of what the NCAA said his role was in the Shapiro scandal, and said Tuesday that “it’s time for closure.”

Three former Miami assistant coaches got two-year show-cause bans, including Clint Hurtt, who’s part of the football staff at Louisville.

“It’s a relief that we finally have a decision,” Miami president Donna Shalala said. “It’s been a long haul. But I don’t have any anger or frustration.”

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