The University of Miami has clearly learned from the mistakes of other programs, and is taking the necessary steps to ensure that it does not suffer the same fate.
For the second consecutive season, the Hurricanes will not be heading to a bowl game (this via ESPN). In addition, the self-imposed postseason ban also guarantees that Miami will not play in the ACC Championship game this year, meaning that Georgia Tech can breathe easy this coming Saturday.
In a decision that was made collectively by interim athletic director Blake James, University President Donna Shalala and the school’s legal counsel team, Miami has made it clear to the NCAA that it is doing everything in its power to avoid being handed penalties similar to those that schools such as Ohio State, Penn State, North Carolina and USC have suffered in recent years.
Looking at how those teams have done in the year of their ineligibility, Miami’s decision seems very smart.
Take Ohio State, for example. The Buckeyes are currently one of two undefeated teams left in the nation, yet are ineligible to play for the national title this season thanks to an NCAA-imposed postseason ban.
Think Gene Smith & Co. would rather have forgone the chance to play in the Gator Bowl last season and taken the chance that self-imposed sanctions would have been enough for the NCAA?
Then there is USC, who served a two-year bowl ban that ended with the conclusion of last season. While the Trojans didn’t have the ability to take matters into their own hands, the bowl ban potentially cost the school a shot at a BCS bowl last season.
USC finished the year 10-2 and would have won the Pac-12 South Division with a chance to play Oregon in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship game.
Still, there is an argument to be made that Miami should have let things play out naturally.
The Hurricanes still had a shot at playing in the ACC Championship game this season if they were to beat Duke this Saturday. While Al Golden’s team would have been major underdogs heading into the conference title game against Florida State, some fans may argue that a school should never assume something like that will be easily attainable another season.
Also, there's the concern for seniors who will not have a chance to play in a bowl game in their final season.
Is it fair that those players should be punished for something that they weren't necessarily involved in? Absolutely not.
Unfortunately, fair and smart do not always coincide.
Miami is taking a risk with this decision, as it is possible that the NCAA will still come down hard on the university.
But like everyone else, Miami is witnessing what can happen when you stare down the NCAA and dare them to make a move.
You end up with an 11-0 team with no shot at a national championship bid.