Yahoo's report last week on excessive and improper benefits at the University of Miami football program has sparked a debate over what the program's punishment should be, and in some circles, whether there should even be a season for the team this year.
While the NCAA debates possible sanctions based on allegations that Nevin Shapiro, a Miami booster, hosted players at his homes and yacht and provided money for nightclubs, prostitutes and much more, it appears that Miami is moving as quickly as possible to move past it. Reports from various outlets, including the Miami Herald, Yahoo and ESPN, indicated that the school had declared an indeterminate number of its players ineligible.
The Herald said eight, and Yahoo followed the hometown paper's lead. ESPN came up with 13, which is odd since the initial report only listed 12 current players as having received benefits. The one name that has been confirmed is the team's star quarterback, Jacory Harris (pictured left).
This may seem like a punishment, but in fact that is the first step to getting the players reinstated. Once the school has ruled the players ineligible, it is incumbent upon the NCAA to review each case and determine whether or not to reinstate them.
The thought is that if Miami had waited any longer, none of the players would have been available for its season opener Sept. 5.
The NCAA has yet to announce any ruling, but the longer this drags on, the more fans start to get enthused about college football, the more money that rolls in from TV broadcasts and the punishment may lessen.
That is not to say that the NCAA should be anything less than thorough, but letting this season begin with Miami's only punishment being missing key players seems wrong. The system as a whole is broken, but perhaps its most flagrant and frequent perpetrator has to pay a steep price.