┬┐If there was one case that best exemplifies the sure ineptitude of the NCAA, it’s the Miami investigation.

USC, Ohio State, North Carolina and Penn State were all programs to feel the wrath of the NCAA over the past several years, but it’s this one – Miami – that will go down in history as the organization’s Waterloo.

An investigation that began in the fall of 2009 and just now is coming to an anti-climatic close.

Allegations that some critics considered serious enough to warrant the death penalty for the program four seasons ago were essentially reduced to probation and the loss of scholarships. That’s because officials were smart enough to allow the football program to fall on the proverbial sword and suffer through two season’s of self-imposed bowl sanctions.

And then let’s not forget the role the NCAA played in all of this.

What should have been nothing short of a slam-dunk for the organization, turned into one of the biggest examples of mismanagement by a group in a long time. The investigation turned into a public relations nightmare and one that the NCAA would like to push to the back of the fridge – next to the eight-year-old box of baking soda – in hopes people would forget about it.

But how can we?

The story itself was a compelling one.

A booster – Nevin Shapiro – who gave thousands of dollars to Miami was given unprecedented access to most of the Hurricanes athletic programs specifically football and men’s basketball. Shapiro used those connections to live out some sort of fantasy of athletic glory. There was Shapiro throwing up the ‘U’ sign at football games or handing school president Donna Shalala a giant cardboard check at a fundraiser. All the while, hobnobbing with players on his yacht or his house or in restaurants and clubs all the while violating NCAA rules while providing impermissible benefits for approximately 30 student-athletes according to the Committee on Infractions.

Eventually it all caught up to Shapiro who was arrested and charged for his involvement in a $930 million Ponzi scheme. It was only then did the 45-year-old decided to air Miami’s dirty laundry to YahooSports!

That was back in 2009 and at the time, things weren’t looking good for the ‘U.’

Flash-forward to today and here we are.

An investigation that took more than 46 months and instead of finding major violation into Miami’s football program, we discovered just how inept the NCAA’s enforcement procedures really are.

Remember it was back in January that the NCAA came forward and admitted that some of its investigators used illegal methods to obtain evidence in the case. President Mark Emmert was quick to announce the organization would be conducting an external review of those procedures.

It was during that review that it was discovered that NCAA investigators had ‘circumvented legal advice’ to in essence hire Shapiro’s criminal defense attorney from his Ponzi case to obtain information for the investigation. The move would allow investigators to gather information while using the power of subpoena – a major no-no by the NCAA.

In response to the report, Emmert began cleaning house in the enforcement department, but the damage was already done. A day later, the NCAA handed Miami it’s notice of allegations.

Eight months later and it’s amazing to think that Miami actually comes out of this situation looking better than the NCAA. The group has been in the crosshairs of some of the biggest names in college athletics including conference commissioners from the big five leagues: SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC and Pac-12.

It’s the reason many believe the NCAA must change … and it will at least according to Emmert, who is looking to make sweeping reform sometime next season.

For now, the NCAA is just happy that all of this is finally over and it can move forward.

As we all are. 

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