If it hasn’t already, the University of Miami is expected to declare the 12 or more football players being investigated by the NCAA ineligible within the next week if the school wants the NCAA to rule on their reinstatement in time for the season opener Sept. 5 at Maryland.
Miami also can choose to let some or all of the players participate, but if they are found to have violated NCAA rules, the university would risk stiffer penalties.
UM had not declared the players ineligible as of early Wednesday afternoon, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.
“If those players aren’t first declared ineligible, then reinstated, before they participate and they’re found to have violated rules, the school will be in much deeper trouble,” the source said.
When asked Wednesday night if any of the football players had been ruled ineligible, UM a.ssociate athletic director for communications Chris Freet said, “We’ll announce all that as soon as we get the information.”
The NCAA needs enough time to evaluate each player’s situation individually before making a decision on whether that player must sit out a designated number of games. After UM declares the players ineligible, which is expected, it petitions the NCAA for reinstatement of those players.
They can be reinstated immediately with no penalty, which is what happened last year to Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, or they can be made to serve a one-game or multigame suspension, which is what happened when five Ohio State players were declared ineligible by the school, then told by the NCAA they would be reinstated after sitting out the first five games for receiving impermissible benefits.
UM president Donna Shalala said Monday in a video that the university and NCAA, through a joint investigation, were reviewing the eligibility of 15 student-athletes — two more than were originally thought. At least 12 of them were football players, almost all of them starters or prominent players. The 12: quarterback Jacory Harris; defensive tackle Marcus Forston; receivers Travis Benjamin and Aldarius Johnson; safeties Ray-Ray Armstrong and Vaughn Telemaque; defensive ends Adewale Ojomo and Olivier Vernon; linebackers Sean Spence and Marcus Robinson; cornerback JoJo Nicolas; and tight end Dyron Dye.
Also alleged to have violated NCAA rules: current UM basketball player DeQuan Jones. The remaining two, and their sports, have not been revealed.
The 12 football players were alleged in a lengthy Yahoo! Sports report to have received impermissible benefits from former booster and convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro. Among the alleged benefits were food, drinks and entertainment at Shapiro’s $6 million Miami Beach home, VIP access in nightclubs, and entertainment and food at a bowling alley in which Shapiro allegedly had a one-time “bowling-for-dollars” tournament.
Stacey Osburn, the NCAA’s a.ssociate director of public and media relations, told The Miami Herald in a phone interview that she could not comment on any specific cases, but elaborated on aspects of the process. In a reinstatement situation, any decision involves only that specific player and the facts presented. It is separate from the overall investigation of the institution, although if it is later found that a reinstatement decision is based on lies told by an athlete, the institution is subject to more severe penalties.
“The reinstatement decision regarding the student-athlete’s eligibility is completely independent of the investigative process that determines the school’s responsibility,” Osburn said. “So as soon as the facts are determined regarding the student-athlete’s involvement, then the reinstatement process can begin. The reinstatement process is likely to conclude well before the close of an investigation.”
Osburn said the NCAA enforcement staff that reviews eligibility cases for individual athletes rules on about 1,200 cases a year.
“As soon as they have all the information they need,” she said, “they prioritize the cases based on the student-athlete’s next likely missed competition.”
IT’S UP TO THE UNIVERSITY
Osburn said the school first has to decide “whether or not it is comfortable competing with that student-athlete.” If the school determines the athlete might have committed an NCAA violation, then the athlete is declared ineligible and the process of reinstatement begins.
“The school puts forward to the NCAA the set of facts regarding the violation and the student-athlete’s role and responsibility for those violations,” Osburn said. “In addition, they will put forward what we call any mitigating circumstances — any specific facts about that situation that the school believes warrants some sort of relief or lessening of the penalty. The NCAA would look at all those facts and determine the appropriate penalty.”
If the school isn’t happy with an athlete’s penalty, it can appeal to the NCAA’s student-athlete reinstatement committee — on which UM deputy athletic director Tony Hernandez serves. Hernandez would have to recuse himself in any case involving a UM player.
As for the bigger picture in an NCAA investigation of a university, the entire process by the NCAA enforcement staff can be lengthy.
“The average case takes 11 months,” Osburn said. “Other cases, six or seven months. But there have been some cases that have taken years.”
NCAA president Mark Emmert said last week that the NCAA began investigating Miami in March.
hopefully ray ray, olivier and dye arent ineligible, the non-um players who were cleared had the exact same charges and allegations against them
bad as it sounds, might be a precaution by golden
Last edited by Deeangoe; 08-24-2011 at 10:44 PM..