The Univ. of Miami has been "accused of a 'lack of institutional control' violation" by the NCAA in a Notice of Allegations memo delivered yesterday after a nearly two-year investigation into alleged improprieties by athletes, coaches and staff members related to convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro, according to sources cited in a front-page piece by Degnan & Jackson of the MIAMI HERALD. The allegations "could lead to the death penalty," but that is "not expected to happen." UM President Donna Shalala in a statement released yesterday "took issue with the NCAA’s investigation," alleging that the NCAA believed some of Shapiro’s claims "without corroboration from anyone else" (MIAMI HERALD, 2/20). In West Palm Beach, Jorge Milian notes the institutional-control charge typically is "one of the most severe the NCAA can bring after an investigation of rules violations." Shalala in a statement said, "Many of the allegations included in the Notice of Allegations remain unsubstantiated" (PALM BEACH POST, 2/20). YAHOO SPORTS' Frank Schwab wrote Shalala's statement is "as strong as you'll find considering the circumstances, mocking and accusatory and defiant all at once" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/19). In Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde writes Shalala "came out with what amounts to a declaration of war on the NCAA." Hyde: "Is this smart? ... Maybe her loud statement builds public sentiment against the NCAA" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 2/20). CBSSPORTS.com's Dennis Dodd wrote the NCAA "better get ready for the battle to continue in court." Dodd: "Or worse -- Capitol Hill." Shalala for the second-straight day "came out smoking against the NCAA." She is "thinking the same thing a lot of us are: Who's calling who out of control?" (CBSSPORTS.com, 2/19). In Jacksonville, Hays Carlyon wrote this "debacle needs to end." UM "probably deserved a harsher sentence, but the NCAA is in no credible place to issue one" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 2/19). ESPN's Dan Le Batard said, "This is hypocrisy of the highest in the NCAA” (“Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable,” ESPN2, 2/19).
TURNING THE TABLES: The AP's Jim Litke writes no phrase "better describes the way the NCAA has gone about its business during the brief tenure of President Mark Emmert" than "lack of institutional control." It is "hard to say why Emmert never bothered to keep tabs on the Miami case, since his investigators have botched so many others on his watch" (AP, 2/20). ESPN Mike Greenberg said, "The words 'lack of institutional control,' if you were to look them up in a dictionary right now, you should find the logo of the NCAA.” The NCAA is “a group of people, in my opinion, who have shown themselves incapable of handling the power and authority they’ve been given." Greenberg: "I stand with Miami if they're going to fight this, and I hope everyone does. I hope that this will really be the beginning of some significant change because there should be a revolt” (“Mike & Mike in the Morning,” ESPN Radio, 2/20). CBS Sports Network’s Jim Rome said, “Today should be ‘National Resigning Day’ for the NCAA and it should start with the guy who runs it, President Mark Emmert.” The UM investigation was a “catastrophe and calamity.” Rome: “The same organization that brings the hammer down on college programs for a lack of institutional control has none itself because Emmert insists he was unaware of what was going down” (“Rome,” CBS Sports Network, 2/19). SPORTING NEWS' David Steele wrote Emmert "should be out as president of the NCAA." It is a "matter of who has the final say on Emmert’s fate." The NCAA on his watch is "hitting what may be its moral and ethical low." Steele: "Now, these folks are in position to move him out and move another of their own into the position" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 2/19). ESPN's Jay Bilas said there “has been a failure in leadership” because Emmert “has been insulated from everything that goes on in that office of a substantive nature.” But Chronicle of Higher Education Senior Writer Brad Wolverton said, “This is way bigger than Mark Emmert right now.” Wolverton said some college presidents have told him that Emmert “will probably escape this, but this raises bigger questions” in terms of enforcement and the tactics used. Wolverton: “They need to make some serious changes” ("Outside The Lines," ESPN, 2/19).
FROM OPAQUE TO TRANSPARENT: SI.com's Andy Staples wrote the NCAA's enforcement process always has "taken place behind a steel curtain." Staples: "As damning as the report and accompanying documents were, they actually made me trust the NCAA more." The NCAA can provide proof it is trustworthy by being "more transparent from this point forward." It needs to "lift the veil of secrecy from its enforcement process." It might not "always be pretty, but it would build trust." The NCAA has "no credibility left to lose, but it's not too late to try to earn some back" (SI.com, 2/19).