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An Era Is Coming To A Close: Miami Has Received Its Notice Of Allegations

After more than two years, countless confirmed and unconfirmed reports, numerous interviews, speculation, and an internal investigation, the NCAA has finally delivered the Notice Of Allegations to Miami. So, what now?

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Well, here we are. According to Tim Reynolds of the AP, the time has finally come:

While this is by no means the end of the process, this does signify the beginning of the end. The process from here is more or less cut and dry:

Miami can either accept the charges detailed in the Notice of Allegations or file a response to the Notice, which would require a hearing before the NCAA Committee on Infractions. Any action must be taken within 90 days of the receipt of the Notice of Allegations. An Infractions Appeal Committee could hear the University's appeal from the findings of the Committee on Infractions, should the University decide to further challenge the NCAA's charges.

Up next for the NCAA will be the punishment stage. Will Miami receive any sanctions from the notice of allegations? The University has already self-imposed punishments that restrict their ability to attend multiple bowl contests and an ACC conference title game.

The grey area in this particular situation is all of the talk of a potential lawsuit if the NCAA still tries to allege major wrongdoing by Miami and hand out harsh sanctions. Miami has already made the unprecedented move of self-imposing two years' worth of bowl bans. Outside of that, they have also self-imposed scholarships this year, going so far as to self-limit the number of recruiting visits they could take. Add to that the clear invalidation of possibly the most key corroborative evidence by the NCAA investigators, and it's hard to see Miami getting severe penalties, regardless of how bad the NOA reads.

Rest assured, however, that Donna Shalala and the BOT are both tired of how this process has played out, and recent events have only escalated their disdain. If the NCAA tries to recover some of the image they have lost, or, in layman's terms, if they try to make themselves feel better about the fact that they screwed up, Shalala will likely not hesitate to send the lawyers to work.

Miami has yet to comment on this newest news, but word is is that they will shortly. Even without official university word, details are beginning to leak:

This is not surprising at all, as many expected this to be at least the basis of the NOA. It's also not surprising that the NCAA is trying to save some face by dropping a notice full of serious charges.

UPDATE: Miami has released their official statement on the matter of the NOA:

“The University of Miami deeply regrets and takes full responsibility for those NCAA violations that are based on fact and are corroborated by multiple individuals and/or documentation. We have already self-imposed a bowl ban for an unprecedented two-year period, forfeited the opportunity to participate in an ACC championship game, and withheld student-athletes from competition.

Over the two and a half years since the University of Miami first contacted the NCAA enforcement staff about allegations of rules violations, the NCAA interviewed dozens of witnesses, including current and former Miami employees and student-athletes, and received thousands of requested documents and emails from the University. Yet despite our efforts to aid the investigation, the NCAA acknowledged on February 18, 2013 that it violated its own policies and procedures in an attempt to validate the allegations made by a convicted felon. Many of the allegations included in the Notice of Allegations remain unsubstantiated.

Now that the Notice of Allegations has been issued, let me provide some context to the investigation itself:

· Many of the charges brought forth are based on the word of a man who made a fortune by lying. The NCAA enforcement staff acknowledged to the University that if Nevin Shapiro, a convicted con man, said something more than once, it considered the allegation “corroborated”—an argument which is both ludicrous and counter to legal practice.

· Most of the sensationalized media accounts of Shapiro’s claims are found nowhere in the Notice of Allegations. Despite their efforts over two and a half years, the NCAA enforcement staff could not find evidence of prostitution, expensive cars for players, expensive dinners paid for by boosters, player bounty payments, rampant alcohol and drug use, or the alleged hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts given to student-athletes, as reported in the media. The fabricated story played well—the facts did not.

· The NCAA enforcement staff failed, even after repeated requests, to interview many essential witnesses of great integrity who could have provided first-hand testimony, including, unbelievably, Paul Dee, who has since passed away, but who served as Miami Athletic Director during many of the years that violations were alleged to have occurred. How could a supposedly thorough and fair investigation not even include the Director of Athletics?

· Finally, we believe the NCAA was responsible for damaging leaks of unsubstantiated allegations over the course of the investigation.

Let me be clear again: for any rule violation—substantiated and proven with facts—that the University, its employees, or student-athletes committed, we have been and should be held accountable. We have worked hard to improve our compliance oversight, and we have already self-imposed harsh sanctions.

We deeply regret any violations, but we have suffered enough.

The University and counsel will work diligently to prepare our official response to the Notice of Allegations and submit it to the Committee on Infractions within the required 90-day time period.

We trust that the Committee on Infractions will provide the fairness and integrity missing during the investigative process.”

We will update you here with the information as it is released, including Miami's statement.