Blog Entry

NCAA's Roe Lach: Little support for death penalty

Posted on: August 18, 2011 1:33 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen

From the moment the Yahoo! Sports story exposed the mindblowing scope of Miami's Nevin Shapiro scandal, one question about the Hurricanes' potential NCAA punishment has towered above all others: Could Miami receive the death penalty?

There's not a college football fan alive who doesn't know that the NCAA has ordered the temporary shutdown of a program just once, at SMU in the 1980s. But with a broad consensus that the Hurricane scandal appears to be the most serious since the "Pony Excess" days, the death penalty has been touted by more than one observer as ripe for revival. Two former school compliance officials told the Palm Beach Post Wednesday that the allegations "absolutely scream" for a program suspension, and that the 'Canes would be a "likely candidate" for the SMU treatment.

But within the actual enforcement wing of the NCAA, there doesn't seem to be much stomach for it. Vice president of enforcement Julie Roe Lach is prohibited from discussing the Miami investigation specifically (even if her boss Mark Emmert apparently has no such limitations), but in speaking to the New York Times Wednesday she made it clear no one in Indianapolis is chomping at the bit to use the nuclear option:
“I have not heard [conversation] turn much to television bans or the death penalty,” she said. “The majority of the ideas or support I keep hearing relate toward suspensions [of coaches] or postseason bans being the most powerful.”
One former chairman of the NCAA Committee on Infractions, David Swank, also said the NCAA would be reluctant to pull the trigger on sanctions that "destroy a program."

It's a position that makes sense in a vaccum. (And we're all for the continued elimination of television bans, which severely punish the sanctioned team's opponents simply for having the misfortune of being on the schedule.) Given that the Mustangs are just now crawling out of their smoking crater more than 25 years later, no one should want to see the death penalty handed down ever again.

But that doesn't take into account the USC problem. As the New York Times story notes, the Miami scandal appears to be of a magnitude greater than that of the Trojans' Reggie Bush case, which already holds the record for the stiffest penalties since the SMU decision--30 docked scholarships and a two-year bowl ban.

So how far past that standard can the NCAA go while still stopping short of the death penalty? Add another couple of years to the postseason ban, add in another several scholarships lost, add in the difficulty of (inevitably) finding new coaches at an already cash-strapped program and dozens of new players for the roster, and the 'Canes would be entirely crippled. They would face an enormous struggle to remain even marginally competitive in the ACC, or any BCS conference. They'd be, essentially, the walking dead version of what used to be Miami.

And if that's the case, would it be better for the Hurricanes to become the dead dead version for a year? Should they want to push the reset button, and start over after one lost season with fewer limitations and a cleaner slate afterwards?

Probably not. But unless the NCAA wants to undercut the Trojan decision and admit once-and-for-all that those sanctions were overboard and unfair -- not likely -- having the death penalty off the table means the COI will have a very, very fine line to walk when it comes to Miami.


Since: Dec 26, 2010
Posted on: August 19, 2011 11:20 pm

NCAA's Roe Lach: Little support for death penalty

Hey moron, have you not been listening that not one former or current Miami player even really knows who this convicted criminal is. Yea, he was a booster and whatever, but that's it. He was so good at lying that he swindled 930 million...930 from a lot of smart people! One guy, Tyrone Moss, a complete hasbeen said he got $100 and has no documentation. Come on really...really? Past coach Shannon has been documented that he hated that smuck and told all the players and coaches to stay clear of him. This is just is way of getting back at the program and in the end, the truth shall reign supreme.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: August 19, 2011 3:26 pm

NCAA's Roe Lach: Little support for death penalty

NitroBuck: You missed the point.  Pryor played an entire season while the investigation was ongoing.  Even when they decided to punish him, they still let him play in the bowl game.  As a college player, he still hasn't missed anything.  As an NFL player he has missed one preseason game.  Its disingenuous to talk about Pryor missing an entire college season.  He CHOSE to jump to the NFL.  Where I come from, when you get to opt out of a suspension to sign with an NFL team and likely make mad bank , that's not punishment.  Now, it is possible that Pryor MAY miss some NFL games, but that is all in the future.  You are full of assumptions, and you know what happens when you assume, right?  As of TODAY Pryor has not missed a full game.  And that was my point - that anybody who thinks their team is free and clear as long as they make it through the first 5 months of an NCAA investigation is delusional at best. 

And yes, Pryor's imagine has taken a hit - but, where I come from, actions have consequences. 

Since: Aug 18, 2010
Posted on: August 19, 2011 11:59 am

NCAA's Roe Lach: Little support for death penalty

I have to say that I am not in favor of Miami getting the death penalty.  While it surely appears likely that the school turned a blind eye to what was going on, I don't know that ruining the whole sport is fair at this point.  The main culprit in all of this is in prison, so that is a good thing.  Now, I am all for going after any coach or admin official that knew, or should have known, and those people should never work at this level again.  As far as what to do to the school, I would strip multiple scholarships a year for several years and give then an extensive bowl ban.  Miami would become virturally a nothing in college football, but that may be better than actually becoming a complete nothing.  Just to be clear, the punishment that Miami gets should make what USC got pale in comparison.  This should be the harshest penalty in college football since SMU; as long as the allegations are indeed true. 

Since: Jun 8, 2011
Posted on: August 19, 2011 9:39 am

NCAA's Roe Lach: Little support for death penalty

The Death Penalty affects to many innocent parties.  In the Miami case it would cause a financial loss to all of UM's opponents, collapse the ACC, which in turn affects the BCS bowl system.  It is simply to punitive on schools who have done nothing wrong, or the kids in the programs that are affected who have done nothing wrong.

I think the NCAA should consider harsher sholarship limits in cases like this.  You have a program that doesn't want to monitor the student athletes?  Then drop the number of availabe scholarships from 85 to 60...maybe 50 or lower for egregious violators.  That way you limit your punishment to just the school.  I still like the idea of post-season bans, and perhaps they should be longer in cases like this.

Since: Nov 13, 2006
Posted on: August 19, 2011 8:54 am

NCAA's Roe Lach: Little support for death penalty

cool article.  however, the president of the NCAA, mark emmert, just said that he the death penalty is on the table for the miami case.  maybe the great folks at the NCAA should get on the same page for once.



Since: Oct 16, 2008
Posted on: August 19, 2011 8:04 am

NCAA's Roe Lach: Little support for death penalty

"Cal is another nice school with the best academics" I guess that's why Marshawn chose Cal over Stanford, right?

Since: Nov 3, 2010
Posted on: August 19, 2011 7:28 am

NCAA's Roe Lach: Little support for death penalty

As a Florida State alum, I get no joy or pleasure as to what is happening at Miami.  I don't want to see the program get the death penalty (if that is even an option anymore).  If, even 25% of what Shapiro claims is true then I can see the U losing 15 schollies a year for three years.  Assuming that's the case, then the U turns into the University of Boise at El Paso and every ACC team schedules them for homecoming.  Whatever the outcome, Grampa NCAA has to reevaluate enforcements, punishments, booster/agent participation, and a host of other regulations. 

Since: Jan 2, 2010
Posted on: August 19, 2011 2:29 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Nov 3, 2008
Posted on: August 19, 2011 2:28 am

NCAA's Roe Lach: Little support for death penalty

Dude breaks out the "Lexicon".

Most impressive.

Since: Jul 22, 2007
Posted on: August 19, 2011 1:57 am

NCAA's Roe Lach: Little support for death penalty

I think NCAA Football should get the DEATH Penalty.. Anything that ends with a BCS Mess should be banned from existence

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