Gee, However Will Miami Bounce Back?

Last week, it was reported that 13 current Miami Hurricanes football players were declared ineligible after a former booster and current prison inmate, Nevin Shapiro, blew the doors open on a decade of recruiting violations, paid players, hookers, and abortions, among other accusations. The number of suspended players almost immediately dropped to 8 – or it was initially misreported – and the NCAA promised Miami that it would reach a decision within a few days, and it sure did.

Eight players have been given suspensions for this season, and they must repay the benefits. Then they can play. Seriously. Those players include:

QB Jacory Harris – 1 game
WR Travis Benjamin – 1 game
DT Marcus Forston – 1 game
DE Adewale Ojomo – 1 game
LB Sean Spence – 1 game
TE Dyron Dye – 4 games
S Ray-Ray Armstrong – 4 games
DE Olivier Vernon – 6 games

(Via CBS Sports)

In all, the NCAA found that Shapiro indeed gave these players benefits in the forms of cash, food, transportation, and/or night club trips, but the amounts were so low and genuinely insulting to people with any common sense, that nobody is really getting in trouble. Factor in that Miami apparently began covering its ass cooperating right away, and that is supposed to explain why Jim Tressel not reporting the exchange of autographs for tattoos is such a more shameful act.

When Yahoo! Sports broke this story, it was the biggest – albeit least surprising – story of the year. Only two weeks later, it’s a slap on the wrist and a half-assed yawn by the major media outlets. Sure, it’s not over and the NCAA still has plenty to look at, but do we actually trust the NCAA? Do we expect the high holy commission of college football to hammer down any further punishment that would damage a program that produces consistent quality NFL talent? And is NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell going to suspend every Miami player named in this mess for 5 games when they’re eventually drafted?

Let this all be a lesson to up-and-coming programs – It still isn’t about who takes the money and the benefits, but who gets away with it best.