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Miami Hurricanes Football Scandal: NCAA Shouldn't Hand Down Death Penalty

Many people believe "The U" should get the death penalty.
Many people believe "The U" should get the death penalty.Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Jerome FosterContributor IIIAugust 18, 2011

In the wake of the details arising from Charles Robinson’s Yahoo! Sports report, many pundits are calling for the NCAA to give Miami’s football program the death penalty.

The death penalty, which allows the NCAA to cancel a football program for two years, hasn't been handed down since 1986 when the NCAA lowered the boom on SMU for repeated recruiting and pay-for-play violations.

The death penalty crushed SMU’s program. The Mustangs reached their first bowl game since the death penalty in 2009 when they defeated Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl, 45-10.  The penalties were so severe that the Mustangs are just now beginning to recover.

After seeing what the death penalty did to SMU’s program, many people believed that the NCAA would never use it again.

But that was before Robinson’s report came out.

This Miami scandal has to be the worst since SMU. But while it’s bad, people shouldn't want the NCAA to give the Hurricanes the death penalty.

If the NCAA gives the Hurricanes the death penalty, what happens if this kind of scandal happens at Oklahoma, Alabama or Florida? Will the NCAA give them the death penalty too? Will the NCAA want to give its most important programs the death penalty if they are found to be breaking the rules on a scale as large as Miami?

Of course the NCAA wouldn't.

But if it gives the Hurricanes the death penalty, it may be forced to do the same to another program if similar infractions are found. That’s not a corner that the NCAA wants to back itself into, especially now, when people want to see more consistency from the NCAA when giving out penalties.

This is already happening with the situations at Ohio State and USC.

Many people believe that the Buckeyes should get hit just has hard for the Jim Tressel/Terrelle Pryor scandal as the Trojans did for the Reggie Bush scandal.

I think rules are broken everywhere. Some schools just do it better than others.

The scandals at Miami, Ohio State and USC and the investigations at Oregon and Auburn show that these scandals are and always will be a part of college football.

The pressure to win is too much. The fight for top recruits is intense. There will always be boosters willing to go the extra length to help their school win. And there will always be players willing to accept extra benefits.

Miami will and should get hit hard for this scandal.

The Hurricanes should expect to get hit with sanctions that make the USC penalties look like a slap on the wrist.

However, the death penalty shouldn't be the punishment.

It’s easy for people to call for the death penalty when it’s another school that’s at risk, but what happens when it’s your school?

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