Sunday, January 21, 2018
Colleges

Miami to lose scholarships but won't face bowl ban

CORAL GABLES — The Miami Hurricanes are relieved one of the darkest chapters in program history is finally over.

Citing a lack of institutional control spanning a decade, the NCAA stripped UM's football program a total of nine scholarships and the basketball program a total of three scholarships during the next three years.

But both teams dodged further postseason bans.

After an NCAA investigation of nearly 21/2 years into improprieties alleged by former booster Nevin Shapiro, Miami learned its fate Tuesday morning when the NCAA's Committee on Infractions released its report and findings.

In a 102-page document, the COI detailed how multiple coaches and staff members "had a poor understanding of NCAA rules or felt comfortable breaking them."

"It is extraordinary in size and scope of the record and overall number of violations and individuals involved, the significant length of time it took to investigate the case … and the inappropriate conduct by the NCAA staff to gather information," Committee on Infractions chairman Britton Banowsky said.

UM's athletic program is on probation for three years, and current coaches face recruiting limitations.

The school won't appeal. School president Donna Shalala said the focus is to put this chapter behind them while ensuring Miami isn't involved in another similar scandal.

"I think the answer is we'll finally be able to move forward as a program without any additional bowl bans, but to get here, we took serious, serious steps ourselves including starting at the beginning," Shalala said.

Former basketball coach Frank Haith, now coach at Missouri, was suspended for five games. Former assistant football coaches Clint Hurtt, now at Louisville, and Aubrey Hill, now at Miami Carol City High, each face a two-year show-cause ban.

Shapiro is serving a 20-year prison sentence for his role in a $930 million Ponzi scheme.

The NCAA's investigation was plagued by missteps including an admission that investigators wrongly paid Shapiro's attorney, Maria Elena Perez, to ask questions of NCAA targets while they gave depositions for his bankruptcy case.

Despite the number of violations, the NCAA said it weighed the "unprecedented" steps UM took by self-imposing bowl bans the past two years and holding themselves out of an appearance in last year's ACC championship game.

"To impose the bowl bans is a big deal, a very big deal," Banowsky said. "The ACC (championship game ban) that could have led to a BCS was a very a very big decision."

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