A two-year long investigation into various compliance practices at the University of Miami may be finally coming to an end.
Two people close to the situation spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither the NCAA nor Miami has given anyone permission to reveal the details of the developments publicly.
Those two said that the NCAA is scheduling meetings with the school to discuss various and specific allegations of violations with individuals who committed them two years ago.
Some of those meetings will take place Monday.
Basically, just the fact that the NCAA is scheduling these meetings promises to be a massive relief for coach Al Golden and the Canes’ football program. The meetings are signaling an end to the ‘investigation phase’ and the NCAA will be sending Miami its ‘notice of allegations’ letter within 90 days.
For a football coach who has already had to sacrifice three postseason games (two seasons worth of bowl games and an ACC Championship game appearance this year as well) just getting out from under the black cloud will be huge.
“We just want to receive the notice,” Golden said. “The day we do that is the day we take a big step forward. I don’t think there’s any question that will be a release. And the good thing there is we don’t anticipate any shock or any surprise.”
Of course, while a relief, the worst may be yet to come.
In an effort to lighten what has been predicted to be extremely heavy punishments — along the lines of those levied upon Penn State — the team has already held itself out of the aforementioned two bowl games and Golden has left several scholarships open in preparation for potentially stripped free rides.
If the letter of allegations is currently being put together, that means the university should know what punishments it is dealing with by May or June.
Those punishments could end up being far harsher than simply a few sacrificed bowl games and lost scholarships.
The primary whistleblower is Nevin Shapiro, who is currently serving a 20-year sentence in federal prison following his leadership in a $950 million Ponzi scheme.
Shapiro was the booster who got Miami into all this trouble in the first place, two years ago. The stories he told to federal prosecutors involved parties, payout, prostitutes, and so much more. Most of the people he named are no longer with the university, but the actions still took place.
In fact, Shapiro himself, in a 2011 interview with Miami CBS affiliate WFOR, predicted that his actions would result in the “death penalty” for the school he had wanted to support — meaning that the Miami football program would be shuttered for a year or more.
Penn State escaped such a punishment, but if Miami cannot, coach Al Golden’s relief in the coming days will be replaced by shock in the coming months.