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The NCAA’s Frustrating Past With The University Of Miami

With looming decisions to be made, it’s hard to overlook how past situations have been handled with Miami.

Colorado Buffaloes v Miami Hurricanes Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

It’s a well known fact that the Miami Hurricanes have been making moves this offseason, whether it be coaching changes or recruiting and landing top-notch transfer players. However, the impact of those transfer moves could be on hold until 2020 due to the decision that the NCAA makes on certain players eligibility.

I’m talking about quarterback Tate Martell and his case on playing in 2019, and that it’s particularly interesting, especially since the NCAA granted Justin Fields immediate eligibility to play this upcoming season. Fields announced his transferring from Georgia to Ohio State last month.

Now I'm not here to debate why Martell should be allowed to play this season, because I think his situation speaks for himself on why he should.

I’m just here to talk to everyone here for a few minutes on how the NCAA has acted towards the University of Miami and its athletic program in the past, because there’s been highly questionable decisions throughout history. For longtime fans of UM, you already know these situations and probably know them well, and that’s why some of us are doubtful for what decision will be made regarding Martell.

So without further ado, let’s dive into history.

The first real scandal that really broke out was in 1994. Reports of illicit actions at the U occuring for several years between the 80’s and 90’s in the famous “pay for play” scandal that involved rapper Luther Campbell and former Canes players.

A year later in 1995, you had Miami players testing positive for drugs, and then the famous “Pell Grant” scandal that resulted in a postseason ban and the hamstringing loss of 31 scholarships, which took UM and its program several years to overcome.

Even just recently, the NCAA’s handling of Canes basketball player Dewan Hernandez’s situation.

After being accused by the NCAA for receiving monthly payments from an agent and other benefits, Hernandez was ultimately suspended for the rest of the season and also 40 percent of next season, even when there was no evidence.

In my opinion, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks this, but the most frustrating scandal between UM and the NCAA is the situation with former Miami booster Nevan Shapirio. We all know what happened, Shapiro gave improper benefits to over 70 former Hurricanes football and basketball players and was eventually arrested for orchestrating a $930 million Ponzi scheme.

While that in itself is infuriating, what is even more maddening is the NCAA’s handling of the whole deal. When the reporting of the scandal made surface prior to the 2011 season, you would’ve thought that UM had been accused of something that not every team in college football already does. And all everyone was hearing was how Miami was going to be handed down the infamous “death penalty,” when in reality the actions that Canes were being reported for was nothing more than, as Dan Le Batard once said regarding the allegations, “a Monday morning in Miami.”

Months turned into three years, and no conclusion was reached, while Miami instead had self-imposed bowl bans. While the NCAA continued to prolong their decision regarding the punishment Miami would receive, UM was stuck and couldn’t truly move forward in terms of recruiting and other aspects, due to the fact that the status of their program was still in question.

Then, when the smoke of the investigation cleared and a “decision,” was made, people were able to see the lack of control on the NCAA side. No bowl ban for Miami, no conference championship ban, and a loss of nine scholarships. To sum it up perfectly, Colin Cowherd said on his show several years ago, “Their punishment was having to wait for three years to find out what their punishment was.”

In Miami’s case, the most upsetting part isn’t that UM has been given repercussions, it’s that other programs who have also committed illegal actions haven’t received an ounce of trouble from the NCAA. Sure, you can have 18 years of academic fraud with UNC student-athletes, but nothing happens. Or situations at Arizona or USC where large sums of money was delivered to recruits or financial advisers to go to their respective school, nothing happens to the head coaches.

Bottom line is this, the NCAA is going to have to show more of a level playing field when it boils down to dealing with certain schools and its players, and it’s going to be very interesting if Tate Martell is going to be able to play in 2019.