First off, this isn't just a booster slipping an athlete a $100 with a handshake. This isn't an athlete being slipped a video game or iPod underneath his dormroom door. This is a situation in which a crook has weaseled his way into a football's program and hand out all kinds of benefits by way of a ponzi scheme. It's not just jewelry or drinks at a bar either. Reports have surfaced suggesting that Nevin Shapiro provided prostitutes, drugs, and yacht parties to student athletes. There's photos of Shapiro with high-level officials of The U. But the real question is "Whose to blame?"
I know this is probably something we are all tired of hearing. Several national writers have made an argument that the NCAA should never administer the death penalty again. However, in my opinion, the Miami Hurricanes athletic program has gotten so far out of hand that I don't think there's another option. Would the death penalty really ruin the U?
Is it the NCAA's fault? Nevin Shapiro's? Kirby Hocutt, the former athletic director? Who had knowledge of the benefits these players were receiving?
Being from Texas, I'm all too familiar with the situation involving SMU. However, if you've watched ESPN's 30 for 30 "Pony Excess", I think we can agree that The U's compliance issues are different. Is there a comparison between Nevin Shapiro and Sherwood Blount? Of course. But I think this situation is worse. When SMU was administered the death penalty by David Berst, many argued that it was the death of the entire SMU athletic program forever. It certainly killed the now defunct Southwest Conference. Could this destroy the ACC? I don't believe so. The phrase "lack of institutional control" is often used when referencing the death penalty in the NCAA, and should be used here. This is a case where a school has continued to turn the other cheek on players receiving benefits. When does it stop? Will it ever stop? What big name program is next? Only time will tell.