Berg: At this point, I don’t see how The U can come out of this unscathed. Before we get into that, though, let’s talk about how the NCAA is impacted as a whole. In reading that entire article on Shapiro’s testimony, nothing about it shocked or surprised me. I also was not shocked by the Reggie Bush payments or the Ohio State benefits. In fact, I doubt that I’ve been shocked by any scandal in college sports since Nick Nolte found out Tony was shaving points in Blue Chips. So while massive sanctions likely should be issued, isn’t it more important that the NCAA finally gets its head out of its ass and admits that scandal and improper benefits are rampant in college athletics (or at least football and basketball)? Everyone knows it exists everywhere (or maybe everywhere except their own alma mater). Can the NCAA maintain that it is still an amateur sports organization with all the money being made and passed around?
___________________Mason: The allegations did shock me – when prostitution is only the 3rd worse crime (I rank it behind abortion and bounties), the shock value is going to be at a premium. But am I surprised? Hell no. This is “The U” we’re talking about, where the only spirituality is swag, nestled in a city where glitz and glamour are all that you see. I think many of us just assumed shady things were happening there, but the truth is that thought process isn’t limited to Coral Gables. We’ve made jokes about schools ranging from Miami to Michigan State to Mississippi. Many of us would be surprised to find out that one of the elite programs isn’t cheating. The message I gather is that to be successful in college sports, you’ve got to cheat (at least to an extent), which tells me that the NCAA needs to completely re-examine it’s rules. It’s like prohibition. The laws were put in for good measure, but it wasn’t practical or economical to enforce them. I’m not saying anything specific about paying the players, but change things so that certain needs can be met within the rules. I think this would cut down on the extreme cheating like in the Miami case. In the end, fans who devote a good portion of their time, money, and emotions towards these programs are the ones who get stung. They’re not the ones getting to party all night for free at Mansion, why are they taking the punishment?
Berg: That’s true, I did forget about the abortion. I guess this probably did go slightly above and beyond the average college booster scandal. Ed Martin is smiling in his grave.
Scombridae: As a lifelong and diehard Miami fan and alum, I would have been much happier had Dave asked me to write a guest blog for the upcoming September 17th OSU vs. Miami game considering Conference Chalk thoroughly covers the Big 10. To be asked for this reason, as you can imagine, is quite painful. This really sucks. Heartbroken. Disappointed. Those are two adjectives that are definitely coming to mind for most Canes fans. Shocked? Yes at first. Maybe not so much the more I think about it. College football is completely rotten right now. USC, North Carolina, and Ohio State. Now Miami. The NCAA is about as useful as a screen door on a submarine. They have no idea what’s going on with any of the major programs and don’t have the manpower nor the intelligence to correct it. The system is fundamentally flawed and leaves open the door for loser, scumbag, weasel, jock-sniffing douche bags like Nevin Shapiro to come in and rip programs to shreds. It definitely takes two to tango and the players should have known better, but this guy should not have been allowed near the kids. The guy is a felon and used stolen money to entice and hang out with college athletes. The U has long been a punching bag for critics who loved to reminisce about our renegade days. Fuel, and I do mean a lot of fuel has just been added to the fire. As hurtful as it was to read about all the benefits that transpired in the past 10 years and to see the superstars you went to college with and loved in pictures with this clown, it’s hard not to believe that some of the allegations are true given the landscape today. What a lot of people outside of Miami don’t understand is the Miami athlete. I’m not talking talent, not talking swagger, not talking attitude. I’m talking background. Some of these guys are recruited from some of the most depressed neighborhoods in the country. You put $1,000 and a hooker ready to wrap her legs around your head in front of him, and he’s probably going to take it. It’s incredibly selfish by the players and Shapiro and maybe that’s what hurts the most. How can you put yourself above the program like that? You know what’s going to happen if it’s uncovered. Every single major program has the Nevin Shapiro’s — maybe not as flashy, maybe not as stupid, but they have them. Instead of taking them on boats maybe they’re paying their phone bills, or rent. There just needs to be a catalyst to set things thing off and that happened when Nevin got busted for a $930MM ponzi scheme and took a plea bargain with the Feds. The NCAA knows it’s going on, and unfortunately for Cane Fans, I think they are going to use Miami as the example as this thing has become an epidemic in football the past year. They need to stop the bleeding now and reinforce that they are in charge. And what better way than to punish the bad boys of college football? The media will not help either. It has already been sensationalized beyond belief. How bad is this going to get we will have to see. Definitely not the best of days for The U right now.Berg: So the two foes from the 2003 National Championship Game, Ohio State and Miami, are in a world of hurt. What sanctions are both programs looking at? And does this help or hurt Ohio State in terms of potential infractions, considering that selling tattoos for cash now looks like child’s play compared to what’s gone down in Coral Gables?
Personally, I think this makes it worse on the Buckeyes. The NCAA is going to get killed over these sanctions … it’s not outside the realm of possibility that there’s a Congressional investigation into the college sports landscape now that a Ponzi scheme, abortion, and soliciting prostitution are among the factors. Players are bending the rules nationwide at programs, and I feel like everyone under fire prior to this Miami issue (Ohio State and North Carolina, among others) is looking at worse penalties than they were 48 hours ago. The general public will demand a beatdown. It’s the only way the organization can attempt to save face … not that it has any face to save.As for the Hurricanes, they have to get the worst punishment since SMU’s Death Penalty in the ’80s, right? A repeat offender, a reckless nature, a high-profile case involving dozens (if not hundreds) of players … yikes. They’d need to pull some Inception or Mugatu-level mind tricks on the standards committee to get out of this mess in one piece.
Mason: I’m not sure how this impacts Ohio State and UNC. The committee could decide that it’s example-setting time, and burn everyone. Or, it could look into how other programs with similar violations have been punished over the last few years, slap something relatively minor on the Buckeyes then re-calibrate the system with Miami.If I have to choose, I’m leaning with Gale’s intuition on this one. The only thing the NCAA can do in the short term is to make examples, if only so they don’t look so foolish.That said, Miami’s punishment will be harsh, but it won’t rival the SMU death penalty, when the NCAA took away 80 scholarships and the program didn’t field a team for two years. The conferences simply have too much money and power to let that happen in this era. If the NCAA tries anything like trying to take the ‘Canes off TV or take away games, ACC lawyers will be lining up. My guess is that the program loses a lot of bowl games and scholarships, but the brand remains intact.
While I’m making aggressive predictions…could this be an opportunity for Central Florida to blow up? The school has incredible resources and now the potential is there to raid South Florida talent. Plus, doesn’t Jeff Godfrey’s (UCF QB)involvement in this remind you of Mateen Cleaves being around to take down Michigan when the Wolverines were the dominant hoops program in their state?
Scombridae: It makes me sick to say it but Miami is probably looking at some pretty serious sanctions. Shapiro has zero credibility as a convicted felon but I think he will have enough hard evidence to tie players to the benefits. 72 players is just a staggering amount and they weren’t exactly taking free lunches. Most of the stuff they allegedly did is really bad, but I honestly feel the same thing is going down at other programs. You really think prostitutes aren’t in the picture at ‘Bama, LSU, Texas, etc? I don’t think we can be naive about what’s going on out there. And again I think the NCAA might use this as a case to set a new precedent in college athletics. Miami is going to get hammered, not doubt about it. However, they will NOT get the “death penalty.” I love how much that phrase is being used in the media. The NCAA doesn’t have the hair on its balls to give the death penalty to The U. Like Miami or not, The U is one of the most recognized brands in college football, and as a very biased Miami fan I think it’s one of the most recognized brands in sports. The NCAA knows that. You want to give the death penalty to The U? Might as well give the death penalty to the ACC (even though they are practically on life support each season anyway). Miami might not sell out its own stadium, but when they are on the road in the ACC they are a big draw. Turning Miami into SMU is not good for college football. But I do think it’s entirely possible for the Canes to get a walking death penalty of sorts. Even if they can prove 50% of what that dumbass Shapiro has claimed, I think we are looking at up to 5 years probation including loss of scholarships and bowl games. And yes it could very well be the worst since SMU. This could take Miami honestly 8-10yrs to recover from. Miami is a small private school without the big time backing of the public power houses. Sanctions will cause an immediate and painful windfall in the form of revenue and the athletic department is already struggling in that area. Conference Chalk is into betting on games right? I have a tip for you — if it really hits the fan in Coral Gables, VTech might be the favorite to win the Coastal from here until 2020. But what is also interesting to think about is the 4year statute of limitations. A lot of this garbage happened more than 4 years ago. But is what happened bad enough for the NCAA to disregard that rule for Miami?
As for the Buckeyes, I’m sure fans are sleeping well now. I’m guessing they are loving a lot of the attention that is being diverted away. I’m not sure how this will affect OSU. I think you could also make an argument that tatoos really aren’t so bad compared to prostitution and bounties so why penalize it severely? But then again I can see the NCAA just cleaning house with everyone.Mason: In the name of brand power, the NCAA should just slap UNC with a bunch of sanctions to prove a point and leave blue chip Miami and Ohio State alone. But seriously, Miami and OSU are incredibly valuable to the NCAA, as is USC. With those three being sent to the corner, does NCAA’s product suffer drastically?
Berg: Great question. Big thing is how it will sway the recruiting and the potential power in those regions … it’s not like Miami and Ohio State recruit in areas all by themselves. You’ll see Florida and Florida State benefit from Miami’s issues, and Michigan should be grinning ear-to-ear if OSU gets hammered. Michigan State and Penn State also stand to profit. Miami will lose most of their studs to other superpowers, but the Big Ten’s product could be diluted if too many schools poach Ohio’s best high school players (realistically, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Iowa stand to benefit, on top of the programs already mentioned above … plus Notre Dame). Postseason disappointments or not, the Buckeyes have dominated a BCS conference for the better part of a decade, and the sport thrives when you have consistent front-runners/villains in each conference. Too much parity is a bad thing in any sport (ask the NHL, the PGA Tour post-Tiger, and the AL Central).
As for UNC, it potentially cripples a top-5 all-time basketball program if the entire athletic department is forced to take it on the chin, but in terms of football, the impact is modest at best. Clemson and NC State just went from having eight-win ceilings to nine-win celings.
Scombridae: No doubt recruiting will be affected by all of these sanctions. I think Ohio State will fare better than Miami given The U’s potential sanctions. I can guarantee you the negative recruiting against Miami is already well underway. The Canes have always prided themselves on owning “the state of Miami” for recruiting down in Dade and Broward counties. In recent years they have been losing a grip on this and things are probably going to get worse if Shapiro’s allegations are found to be true. Jimbo and Muschamp have to be licking their chops right now. Don’t be surprised if UCF and USF make a big push to tap into the talent they normally couldn’t get as well. Also don’t doubt the resiliency of The U. There may be some dark days looming in Coral Gables, no doubt. But this program has been through the ringer before and bounced back in a big way. We will see how “Nevingate” plays out. Once the dust settles the administration and Golden will get to work and rebuild this program. Kids will always want to play at The U and the brand equity will always be strong. Miami will get through this. College football is more fun with the bad boys roaming the sidelines.