Miami Hurricanes: Could They Get the Death Penalty?

Nate ScacciaAnalyst IIIAugust 17, 2011

EL PASO, TX - DECEMBER 30:  Quarterback Jacory Harris #12 of the Miami Hurricanes throws against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the Hyundai Sun Bowl at Sun Bowl on December 30, 2010 in El Paso, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

By now I'm sure most of you have heard about the scandal surrounding the Miami Hurricanes Football team. Team booster Nevin Shapiro confessed to Yahoo Sports that he gave impermissible benefits to at least 72 different Miami Hurricanes football players from 2004-2010.

The players involved range from past and present. Devin Hester, Willis McGahee and current quarterback Jacory Harris are all named in Shapiro's statement. While these are just allegations and since Shapiro is a convicted felon, it may be too soon to jump to conclusions. But if proof is available, Miami University will be in deep trouble if these statements are found to be truthful.

If these are true statements from Shapiro, the Hurricanes may be looking at a possible death penalty as punishment.

The death penalty is the most severe means of punishment/probation that the NCAA can deal out to an athletic team. To date, only five teams have received the death penalty and only one, Southern Methodist University, was a football team.

The death penalty can cancel the Miami Hurricanes football season for two straight years. It can also remove scholarships, result in severe probation, ban recruiting, limit the number of coaches allowed on the team and allow all players to transfer without loosing eligibility.


If Miami were to get the death penalty, players would obviously take the opportunity to transfer to another school. That, along with the loss of scholarships and recruiting is what makes the death penalty so deadly, hence the name death penalty. The team would be forced to start from scratch when the penalty is ended. Of course, players would more than likely decide against going to Miami even after the death penalty.

The most famous example was in 1987-88 with the Southern Methodist University (SMU) football team. The team's 1987 season was cancelled and all of the aforementioned punishments were put into affect. The SMU team was great before the penalty, but after it, they were no where near the same level.

After the death penalty, SMU has gone 66-169-3, and went to their first bowl game since 1984 in 2009.

Once again, I want to point out that there needs to be proof that these allegations are truthful. If they are, then the death penalty may be the answer the NCAA chooses.