It’s hard to disagree, because the two cases seem similar. The Miami case, which involved 18 different rules violations, actually seems a little worse that USC’s case, which involved payments to former basketball star O.J. Mayo and football star Reggie Bush.
In case you have trouble grasping exactly why Haden is upset, here’s the answer:
The crux of any penalty is two-fold – postseason ban and scholarship reductions. The NCAA Committee on Infractions hammers a program that way because it’s the best way to damage its future.
The NCAA accepted Miami’s two-year postseason ban, which it served the past two seasons as it waited for its case to be decided. That’s a severe sanction, but it’s done and won’t affect Miami in the future.
With scholarships, however, Miami got only a slap on the wrist – and not a hard slap at that.
The news reports say Miami lost nine scholarships, but in reality, that’s not necessarily so. The Hurricanes’ overall football scholarship limit for the next three years will be 82, which are three under the NCAA maximum of 85. Reports say nine because three scholarships times three years equals nine.
But most schools don’t have all 85 spots filled all year. Players leave the program at various times. And when a team does have all 85 spots filled at any point, it’s often because the head coach awards those “extra” scholarships to walk-ons he believes are deserving. So, essentially, the NCAA’s action means three fewer walk-ons will get scholarships at Miami for the next three years.
Also, Miami faces no reduction in recruiting scholarships. The NCAA maximum is 25 a year, and that’s the limit for the Hurricanes, too. USC, on the other hand, had its recruiting scholarships reduced to 15 for three years. That’s a significant penalty. The Trojans still are feeling the brunt of that and will continue to do so for a while.
It’s a nothing penalty. This is the same scholarship penalty Ohio State received in December 2011, and look how it long it took the Buckeyes to rebound. They lost a bowl game to Florida after the sanctions were announced and haven’t suffered a defeat since.
Contact Anniston Star Sports Editor Mark Edwards at email@example.com. Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.