Breaking News Bar
updated: 10/22/2013 6:58 PM

Officials happy that Miami's decision day arrived

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Miami head coach Al Golden, right, talks with defensive back Antonio Crawford during team practice Tuesday, in Coral Gables, Fla. Miami's football team will lose nine scholarships and the men's basketball team will lose three, as part of the penalties the school was handed Tuesday by the NCAA as the Nevin Shapiro scandal presumably drew to a close.

      Miami head coach Al Golden, right, talks with defensive back Antonio Crawford during team practice Tuesday, in Coral Gables, Fla. Miami's football team will lose nine scholarships and the men's basketball team will lose three, as part of the penalties the school was handed Tuesday by the NCAA as the Nevin Shapiro scandal presumably drew to a close.
    Associated Press

  • This image from September 2003, video shows Miami booster Nevin Shapiro gesturing on the field at an NCAA college football game between Miami and Florida, in Miami, Fla. Miami will lose nine football scholarships over three years as part of the penalties in the Nevin Shapiro booster scandal.

      This image from September 2003, video shows Miami booster Nevin Shapiro gesturing on the field at an NCAA college football game between Miami and Florida, in Miami, Fla. Miami will lose nine football scholarships over three years as part of the penalties in the Nevin Shapiro booster scandal.
    Associated PRess

 
Associated Press

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Donna Shalala was visiting Casablanca last week, and went to a famed restaurant in that Moroccan port city one night with a very specific purpose.

Hoping for closure in the Miami-NCAA saga.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

"If you remember the movie `Casablanca' all those people sat around in Rick's Cafe waiting for their visas," Shalala, the president of the University of Miami, said in an interview with The Associated Press. "So I specifically went over there for dinner hoping the NCAA would call us."

A week later, that call came, and the scandal that has hovered over Shalala's university for more than two years essentially ended.

Miami got its sanctions from the NCAA on Tuesday, with nine lost football scholarships and three lost men's basketball scholarships -- both over three-season spans -- being the biggest final hurdles the school will have to overcome before it can declare the Nevin Shapiro saga officially over. Shapiro is the former booster and convicted felon who sparked the massive NCAA probe that has overshadowed the school's athletic department since 2011.

While this chapter seems over -- "the case is closed," Miami athletic director Blake James said -- Shalala cringed at the notion that Tuesday's word should serve as cause for celebration.

In fact, when asked if accepting congratulations would be appropriate, Shalala said absolutely not.

"I just have not been obsessing over it," Shalala said. "We moved on in terms of everybody at the university had to get their jobs done. I'm happy that we got a decision. Saying it's over, I think, is not the right way to characterize it because over the years the university will both make investments and make sure we continue to have a very effective compliance system.

Shalala lashed out at the NCAA in February when the school got its notice of allegations. That came after the NCAA had to acknowledge that its own investigators broke rules by aligning with Shapiro's attorney, and Shalala argued loudly that her school was not getting a fair shake in the process.

That was eight months ago. The meeting with the Committee on Infractions was more than four months ago. The waiting game has been ongoing ever since, and even though Miami got more sanctions Shalala said the right move for the university was to accept them, move on and not appeal.

"We have essentially imposed most of the penalties ourselves and have appropriately apologized to our community, both in and outside of the university," she said.

Shalala is very involved in athletics at Miami. She often meets recruits, and has heard plenty of questions from their parents about the NCAA matter over the past two years. She's a fixture at games for just about every team, from football to women's soccer to women's basketball and anything in between.

And she lauded the way the two Miami coaches at the center of this storm, even though none had any direct involvement with Shapiro, helped the university survive the mess.

"The fact that the two coaches involved, Al Golden and Jim Larranaga, were steadfast and really courageous made all the difference in the world to our entire community," Shalala said. "We're very grateful to them for sticking with us and with their programs -- and while all this was swirling around them, staying focused on building championship teams."

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.