The NCAA has finally ruled on the Miami/Nevin Shapiro scandal, more than two years after allegations surfaced that a booster provided impermissible benefits to members of the Hurricanes football and basketball programs. The football program will not receive a bowl ban but will lose nine total scholarships over the next three years as part of the penalties handed down by the NCAA. The basketball program will also lose three scholarships and the entire athletic program has been placed on three years' probation.
The decision not to impose further postseason bowl bans means the 7th ranked Hurricanes will be eligible for a bowl game this season. The program self-imposed a two-year bowl ban that forced Miami miss two bowl games and last year's ACC Championship Game. The NCAA's Committee on Infractions "acknowledged and accepted the extensive and significant self-imposed penalties by the university," so Miami was wise to stay home the past two years. While the NCAA found that the university lacked "institutional control," Miami will not appeal the penalties, meaning we can put this story to rest.
The loss of scholarships amounts to nothing more than a slap on the rest, as this should not impact Miami's recruiting in any way. The Hurricanes are recruiting well in 2014 and are poised to haul in another top-10 class. The NCAA probably wanted to come down harder on the football program, but after a series of missteps in this case, including one that led to the NCAA firing its own vice president of enforcement, the organization lost a whole lot of leverage to levy harsher penalties.
With the penalties as light as they were, it's curious why it took so long to reach a settlement in this case. The NCAA could have just as easily gotten back out in front of this story by announcing the punishment in the offseason. The school would have accepted a similar punishment months ago and the decision wouldn't have detracted from Miami's 6-0 start to the season.
Barring a chance meeting in the ACC Championship Game, with the ACC's new rotating cross-division schedule, Boston College won't play Miami again until the 2018 season. I wouldn't have expected the scholarship reductions to have any impact on Miami, but these penalties will be over long before the former Big East foes meet again on the gridiron. About the only real impact to BC is that Miami, already bowl eligible, will be part of the ACC's bowl lineup this season. In the unlikely event that the NCAA handed down further postseason bans, this would have freed up an additional spot in what is shaping up to be a rather crowded ACC bowl lineup.
Miami will also be eligible for the ACC Championship Game, leaving the door open for the conference to stage its dream Florida State vs. Miami title game, just nine years in the making. Knowing the conference's luck, however, it'll probably be Florida State vs. Virginia Tech, again.