For the first time, at least where NCAA violations are concerned, it seems like the entire college football world is backing the same horse. That horse is named Miami and its jockey is Donna Shalala. This doesn't happen often, but there is some unique synergy coming to pass as the masses align themselves to support The U.
Ordinarily, when NCAA drama is afoot it is time to take shots at the school who is looking up at the NCAA, hoping for mercy. It's a time where people who have been castigated by the gang from Indianapolis scream about how what School X did is far worse than its transgressions. It's a time where rivals look to dig up more dirt and get upset about the NCAA not finding nearly enough violations.
It's a time where people scream about the death penalty being handed down and talk about finally eradicating cheating in the pure game of college football.
We've seen it with the recent Alabama and Auburn investigations. We've seen it in the UNC situation. Ohio State and USC gave people, "they're cheaters" fuel for a good little while. Hell, even Miami was a "they deserve the death penalty" draw when the investigation first surfaced.
However, we've seen quite the turn as the Miami proceedings have drawn on through the last couple years. While the NCAA taking the word of people it ordinarily says are not to be trusted is nothing new, this Miami case did pull back the curtain on how hard this new, lean and mean Mark Emmert led NCAA push to get collars.
The overall length of the process, which handcuffed Miami's players and coaching staff, was daunting in and of itself. Yet, the real problems came first with the "guilty until proven innocent" rhetoric the NCAA kicked at The U. Or, put another way, we'll take the word of this felon, who built his fortune on lies, if you don't confess to us because we're thirsty to lock you down on something.
Then, as we all have seen, it hit the fan when the news of the NCAA's overzealous, and unethical, tactics of investigating broke. The organization went through the backdoor to obtain privileged information from someone who worked on Nevin Shapiro's bankruptcy case. Shady is the word that comes to mind, and the entire collegiate landscape agreed. Folks, started calling for the man in charge to resign.
After Mark Emmert's limp admission of his agency's guilt, and his empty assurance that integrity and accountability were still at the heart of the matter, the calls for his head got mighty loud. Real loud. So loud, they almost drowned out the NCAA's delivery of the Notice of Allegation to Coral Gables.
Due to the fact that Miami is a private school, the NOA has yet to become public knowledge. What we do have is Donna Shalala's rousing response to the folks in Indy. That move rallied the crowd. Unlike other schools that either clearly submit to the NCAA in every way, Miami was not taking this lying down.
The university had been through enough with the over two years of investigation. The threatening, the bullying, the failure to substantiate claims and the missed opportunities, on top of the NCAA's unethical acts, were plenty for Miami.
And, unlike in most NCAA cases, the bulk of the folks in the college football world absolutely agree. John Swofford, the ACC Commissioner, spoke up to that effect, via ESPN.com.
We are supportive of Miami's continued efforts to work with the NCAA on bringing resolution to this case. Miami's cooperation throughout this process should be commended and they have self-imposed significant sanctions. They've been forthright and diligent in their efforts to fully cooperate with the NCAA and it's time for this case to be brought to closure.
In July, the NCAA was able to come out with a gleaning gold star because it stepped in and sanctioned Penn State. While its "moral right" to do so was, and still is, in question, its public perception following the move was at quite a high level.
Now, it is realizing just how quickly it can fall from that white horse. We talked about it yesterday here at Your Best 11—this situation is going to get ugly. And that is because, for the first time in recent memory, the collegiate world is galvanized against the NCAA and further action against Miami.