Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida
By CHRISTINA De NICOLA  |  Last updated 10/22/13
CORAL GABLES -- The waiting is the hardest part. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers sang about it. Samuel Beckett wrote about it. Truer words were never spoken when it comes to the University of Miami athletic program. After more than two and a half years in limbo, judgment day arrived as the NCAA released its infractions report involving major booster Nevin Shapiro. Acknowledged and accepted by Miami, its football program will lose nine scholarships over a three-year period beginning in 2014 but will not have to relinquish its bowl eligibility this season. Former assistant football coaches Clint Hurtt and Aubrey Hill, as well as former assistant men's basketball coach Jorge Fernandez will receive two-year show causes. Hurtt is the associate head coachdefensive linerecruiting coordinator at Louisville. Hill is the head coach at Miami Carol City High School. Fernandez is an assistant coach at Marshall. The basketball program will give up one scholarship per year from 2014-17. Frank Haith, currently the men's basketball coach at Missouri (who held the same post at Miami), will receive a five-game suspension. The quick facts leading up to the ruling The NCAA began its investigation in March 2011, but the public didn't know about it until a Yahoo! Sports story broke the news in mid-August of that year. Football coach Al Golden had been on the job less than nine months, completely blindsided by the allegations. From then until February 2013, when The Associated Press reported that the NCAA claimed a "lack of institutional control" on the part of the university in its Notice of Allegations, rumors and speculations ran rampant. UM President Donna E. Shalala, Golden and men's head basketball coach Jim Larranaga met with the committee in mid-June in Indianapolis. On Tuesday, the NCAA stated that approximately 30 student-athletes were involved with the booster, who is serving a 20-year prison sentence for his 930 million Ponzi scheme. What Miami did to help its case According to the NCAA's timeline, Miami notified the association of an internal investigation into potential violations in November 2009. The university's initiative and cooperation during the entire process surely helped its cause. The university even created a site via its homepage that solely focuses on the NCAA investigation, explaining the process as well as statements and releases made by officials. Miami self-imposed bowl bans the past two seasons as well as its spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference football championship game in 2012, an unheralded decision. In its ruling, the NCAA called the self-imposed penalties "significant." Heading into the 2011 season, the NCAA suspended eight football and two mens basketball players for impermissible benefits. What's next? Despite the NCAA cloud that hovered over the program longer than South Florida's stormy summer months, Golden still found success recruiting. Golden admitted in the past that coaches from other schools probably used the program's uncertainty as a form of negative recruiting. According to Scout.com, the Hurricanes have 25 commits for the Class of 2014, which is currently ranked fifth in the nation. The class includes Miami Central running back Joseph Yearby, the nation's fourth-best running back, and Miami Booker T. Washington's Chad Thomas, a defensive end for the top high school team in the nation. With the loss of nine scholarships over three years, current players on the roster could lose their scholarship or Golden and his staff could cut back on National Signing Day. Miami opened this season 6-0 and jumped to No. 7 in the first BCS poll, which was released on Sunday. It is the Hurricanes' highest BCS ranking since Nov. 13, 2005 and first since Nov. 24, 2010. The Hurricanes can continue their pursuit of a major bowl this season without this distraction. After a home meeting with Wake Forest on Saturday, Miami faces a potential top-10 road matchup in Tallahassee on Nov. 2 with conference and national title implications. Big picture Much like the University of Southern California case with Reggie Bush and OJ Mayo, this revolved around retroactively punishing a program for deeds. None of the players listed in the document remain on the team. In fact, most of the impermissible benefits occurred from 2002 to 2010. Freshman wide receiver Stacy Coley, for instance, was just 7 years old. Though this mainly affects the football and mens basketball programs, all sports must take heed. Any staff member who sends an impermissible text to a prospect will be fined a minimum of 100 per message and coaches will be suspended from all recruiting activities for a week. During a five-minute stretch when the news broke and media were allowed to watch practice, one thing was quite clear: The program finally has its closure. As the University of Miami's campaign has proclaimed over the months, Full Speed Ahead.
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