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Emmert: NCAA death penalty in play

INDIANAPOLIS — NCAA president Mark Emmert says he's willing to back up his tough talk on punishing rule-breakers — even using the "death penalty" as a deterrent.

With salacious allegations swirling around Miami's football program, and one week after Emmert joined with university presidents to discuss toughening sanctions against cheating schools, the NCAA's leader said he believed the infractions committee should make the harshest penalty an option.

"If, and I say if, we have very unique circumstances where TV bans and death penalties are warranted, then I don't think they are off the table and I would be okay with putting those in place," Emmert told the Associated Press by telephone Friday.

Emmert later said the "death penalty," which prohibits a school from competing in a sport, should only be used in rare cases. He was quick to distance his comments from the UM case.

Convicted Ponzi scheme architect Nevin Shapiro has said he provided improper benefits to 72 Hurricanes football and basketball players from 2002 to 2010 and that a handful of coaches in both programs were aware of the infractions. Yahoo Sports reported the allegations after an 11-month investigation.

The NCAA has spent five months investigating UM but calls speculation about penalties for an ongoing case premature.

The allegations are the worst in a 18-month span in which the NCAA has looked into football programs at USC, Auburn, Oregon, Ohio State, Michigan, North Carolina, LSU, Tennessee and Georgia Tech and basketball programs at USC and Connecticut.

Meanwhile, UM's board of trustees offered president Donna Shalala a strong vote of confidence. In an interview posted online by the student newspaper, Shalala said she plans to remain at the school "for a long time."

The scope of the allegations against Miami has created widespread debate over bringing back the "death penalty," which has been used only once — when the NCAA canceled SMU's 1987 football season because of a pay-for play scandal. The school decided not to play in 1988, either.

Also, Missouri intends to wait for the results of the NCAA investigation before deciding the future of new men's basketball coach Frank Haith, chancellor Brady Deaton said. Haith was named in Shapiro's allegations.

BIG TEN STAYING PUT: The Big Ten, entering its first year as a 12-team league, said its Council of Presidents/Chancellors met recently and there is no plan to "actively" engage in expansion now "or at any time in the foreseeable future, barring a significant shift in the … landscape."

NORTH CAROLINA: Cornerback Jabari Price (left hand) will miss six weeks after having surgery.

WASHINGTON: Chris Polk, who rushed for 1,415 yards last season, had arthroscopic knee surgery Thursday. Coach Steve Sarkisian said the junior could miss the opener, Sept. 3 against Eastern Washington.

FSU BASKETBALL COMMIT: Alaska's Class 4A basketball player of the year, point guard Devon Bookert, announced a verbal commitment to play at Florida State. Anchorage TV station KTUU reported that Bookert, of West Anchorage High, will attend a year of prep school then enroll for college in fall 2012.

Emmert: NCAA death penalty in play 08/20/11 [Last modified: Saturday, August 20, 2011 1:13am]

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