The NCAA has charged the University of Miami of having a lack of institutional control in a letter outlining the allegations against the school resulting from a flawed investigation linked to a booster providing money and gifts to football and basketball players. The lack of institutional charge is one of the most severe charges the NCAA issues.
"We deeply regret any violations, but we have suffered enough," Miami President Donna E. Shalala said in a statement released by the school Tuesday night.
The particular details of the notice of allegations may not become public, as Miami is a private institution, but the Associated Press has confirmed one of the charges to include the lack of institutional control tag.
Miami has 90 days to formally respond to the charges in the notice of allegations and it is expected to be contentious given the missteps along the way admitted to by the NCAA. During the investigation the NCAA acknowledged violations of the organization's policies and procedures in an attempt to validate the allegations by the enforcement staff. These failings have led to the NCAA to fire some members of the enforcement staff and have an internal review done of their procedures. Miami is already on the offensive pointing out the shortcomings of the NCAA in response to the notice of allegations.
"The NCAA enforcement staff failed, even after repeated requests, to interview many essential witnesses of great integrity who could have provided first-hand testimony, including, unbelievably, Paul Dee, who has since passed away, but who served as Miami Athletic Director during many of the years that violations were alleged to have occurred," Shalala said in her statement. "How could a supposedly thorough and fair investigation not even include the Director of Athletics?"
Miami has voluntarily kept the football program out of postseason play each of the past two seasons while the investigation was ongoing. Miami would have played in two bowl games and the 2012 ACC Championship Game if not for the self-imposed postseason ban. Whether the NCAA will accept time served without tacking on any additional penalties remains to be seen. The university will want to proceed through the sanctions phase of this process as quickly as possible. Unfortunately for Miami this can be a lengthy process.
Miami has 90 days to respond and given the possible severity of some of the charges it would be wise to have as informative a response as possible. Expect Miami to spend time carefully constructed their response before sending it to the NCAA offices in Indianapolis. From there a hearing will have to be scheduled. These hearings typically take about three months to be scheduled. After both sides have their say and a hearing is held another waiting game begins to learn of the actual sanctions. Depending on the case, the release of the sanctions on a school can take anywhere between weeks and months to be issued.
Ideally the process should be wrapped up before the 2013 football season begins, but that is not a certainty. It would be respectful of the NCAA to have a decision in place before the season begins so the school does not have to make another tough decision on their own about postseason eligibility. Voluntarily skipping out on the postseason and postseason bowl shares from the conference is a costly decision. After two years and a bundled investigation, the NCAA at least owes Miami to inform the school of its fate as swiftly as possible.
"The University and counsel will work diligently to prepare our official response to the Notice of Allegations and submit it to the Committee on Infractions within the required 90-day time period," Shalala said in her statement. "We trust that the Committee on Infractions will provide the fairness and integrity missing during the investigative process."
Miami's president is saying all of the right things, but how much trust does Shalala really have in the NCAA?