After a nearly 28-month long investigation, the NCAA announced sanctions placed on the University of Oregon concerning the Ducks' football program knowingly committing recruiting violations, while the University of Miami awaits a ruling in its own case.
Penalties levied against Oregon include three years of probation, a loss of one scholarship per year for two years, a total loss of three scholarships for three years, an 18-month show-cause for former head coach Chip Kelly and a one-year show-cause order for the former assistant director of operations.
Though some may scream "unfair!" at the apparent lack of sanctions, Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated believes the NCAA made the right decision:
The desire to see other 20-year-olds treated unfairly because your favorite 20-year-olds were treated unfairly is not a good look.— Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) June 26, 2013
But what does this mean for the 'Canes as the university awaits a ruling from the Committee on Infractions?
In a word—nothing.
How’s that for a spoiler?
Decisions made involving the Oregon investigation may provide insight into the mindset of the COI, but the NCAA supposedly works on a case-by-case basis, meaning that the Miami process could be utterly incomparable.
Considering USC and Penn State were hammered as a result of the Reggie Bush and Jerry Sandusky events, the Oregon case is a vastly different type of ruling. The NCAA did not punish current players at Oregon like at the other schools. Instead, the association correctly went after the parties involved—something that Will Lyles, the scout involved in the Oregon mess, supported:
Will Lyles to Y!Sports: "I agree with the NCAA's penalties against Oregon because the wrong people, namely the players, won't suffer."— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) June 26, 2013
So, if this holds true, then Miami would seemingly be well in the clear, but what is the NCAA's focus?
After two postseason bans covering three games, skipping 30 bowl-preparation practices and huge self-imposed restrictions while recruiting, the ‘Canes have suffered a considerable amount more than Oregon.
Plus, the involved parties at Miami have been absent from the school for a few years, so the NCAA should have gone after those players and not the uninvolved current student-athletes if the association stayed consistent.
Additionally, any 'Canes players linked to the report were suspended for the 2011 season opener or more. But does that mean the NCAA will not punish Miami twice for those wrongdoings?
Staples noted COI member Greg Sankey said Oregon was extremely cooperative in the case, and the committee tends to go easier on schools that assist the investigation.
COI member Greg Sankey (SEC Exec. Assoc. Commish) praised Oregon's cooperation. They usually take it easier on schools that cooperate.— Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) June 26, 2013
Back in November 2011, NCAA president Mark Emmert said that Miami—especially university president Donna Shalala—was being "incredibly cooperative," according to Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com.
Has that cooperativeness continued over the last 19 months? Maybe, maybe not, but it seems likely.
Ultimately, no matter how similar the two investigations may look, zero real conclusions can be drawn for the ‘Canes' case, noted Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press:
Let's nip this right now: Drawing comparisons between Oregon's sanctions and what may or may not happen to Miami is a waste of your time.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) June 26, 2013
Too many unanswerable questions arise, so the only thing to do is continue waiting, guessing and hoping for the resolution.
But ultimately, guessing what the sanctions will be is a waste of time, because the NCAA and COI operate on the dreaded case-by-case basis.
The NCAA has repeatedly been consistently inconsistent in handing down its penalties, so whatever theories those in college football nation come up with about Miami's eventual sanctions, remember they are just that—theories.
Any conclusion we all thought could be created or wanted to be apparent, simply, it does not exist.
The NCAA's slap-on-Oregon's-wrist decision means nothing for the University of Miami, however unfair or unfortunate that may be.