After a drawn-out process that continued to loom over the current state of affairs for Al Golden's University of Miami program, the NCAA has dropped their verdict around Miami booster Nevin Shapiro and his involvement in providing lavishing gifts and perks to numerous Hurricane athletes.
The Miami Hurricanes, who are currently 6-0 and rank 7th overall in the BCS standings, will be allowed to play for this year's national title as the NCAA will not levy any bowl sanctions. Following two years of self-imposed bowl bans and other protective measures, the NCAA has docked Miami football nine scholarships over the next three years.
Over on the Southern California campus, USC Athletic Director Pat Haden commented over the NCAA's verdict in rather expected yet disappointed fashion, nearly three years following the 30-scholarship ban applied to the Trojans.
USC AD Pat Haden on NCAA's Miami decision: "We have always felt that our penalties were too harsh. This decision only bolsters that view."— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) October 22, 2013
In a release clarifying its verdict, the NCAA stated that: "The University of Miami lacked institutional control when it did not monitor the activities of a major booster, the men's basketball and football coaching staffs, student-athletes and prospects for a decade, according to findings by the Division I Committee on Infractions."
USC lost 10 more scholarships than Miami, Ohio State and Oregon combined.— Joey Kaufman (@joeyrkaufman) October 22, 2013
Many have argued, including Kiffin and Pat Haden alike, that the past two-plus seasons have been especially challenging given the fact that the major wave of scholarship bans have begun to take its most wicked tole on the programs depth.
In the most recent game against Notre Dame for example, USC beat writer Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News states that sanctions laid down to prominent universities just don't seem to add up on the national landscape.
#USC lost more players to injury Saturday night at Notre Dame than Miami lost scholarships to NCAA sanctions today— InsideUSC (@InsideUSC) October 22, 2013
In fact earlier this season following a retraction of scholarships from the NCAA against Penn State, Athletic Director Pat Haden and David Roberts, USC's vice president for athletic compliance, met with NCAA officials on September 27th and discussed the possible reduction of scholarship losses that were imposed on the Trojans in 2010.
While reports surface around Oregon, Ohio State and Miami in terms of scholarship sanctions and bowl bans, the fact remains USC should now and will forever be viewed as the testing case for compliance with the NCAA, an organization that continues to receive flack for its handling of plenty of other cases in collegiate athletics.
Since this discussion will ever remain at the forefront of USC Football, its fair to ask what to make of these rulings and can the NCAA ever be treated with any sense of respect or legitimacy in terms of its handling of major investigations.