Celebrate Miami! The drama is finally over! Photo: USA Today Sports
Miami's path to their first ever ACC Championship Game was just given EZ Pass access by the NCAA, an organization battling a negative public image just looking to change the narrative. According to multiple reports Tuesday morning, the NCAA will not impose a bowl ban on the Miami Hurricanes but will strip a small number of scholarships available to the program as the two-year saga and investigation are coming to a close.
2014-2015-2016 3 Scholarships Lost for UM Bowl Ban GONE!!!!!!!— The Joe Rose Show (@JoeRoseShow) October 22, 2013
As first reported by The Joe Rose Show on 560 WGAM in Miami, Miami will not receive a postseason ban and will lose three scholarships per year from 2014 through 2016, for a total of nine lost scholarships. This information has since been followed up by ESPN's Joe Schad and Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports. Given the suggestions going as far as a death penalty by some two years ago when this report by Yahoo! Sports surfaced, this is pretty much a best-case scenario for the program and university. It has since been reported that Miami has accepted the sanctions and is not expected to appeal.
In addition to the lot scholarships, assistant coaches Clint Hurtt (now with Louisville) and Aubrey Hill (head coach of Miami Carol City High School) were slapped with two-year show causes, which prevent each from coaching college football unless the hiring schools r willing to accept further examination and potential penalties. In addition, former Miami basketball coach Frank Haith (now the head coach at Missouri) has been suspended for five games by the NCAA.
As the investigation was ongoing, Miami was put in the unfortunate position of having to determine their own postseason status. Rather than put the program in jeopardy, Miami voluntarily withheld their football program from postseason play each of the past two seasons, losing out on three separate postseason games between two potential bowl games and a spot in the 2012 ACC Championship Game (Georgia Tech played in the game with Miami sitting out voluntarily and North Carolina ineligible). Because Miami took it upon themselves to skip the postseason for the past two years, it appears the NCAA, having admitting to screwing up part of their investigation along the way, decided it was fair to offer a time-served sentence as far as postseason eligibility is concerned.
Miami is ranked No. 7 in the initial BCS standings and could be on track for their first appearance in the ACC Championship Game since joining the conference. Regardless of a spot in the conference championship game, Miami can at least look forward to a long-awaited bowl game.
Today also marks the day Miami can finally begin to look forward knowing exactly what is in front of them. Forget the potential postseason scenarios for Miami this season. Now Al Golden and the Hurricanes know exactly what they have to work with. Losing three scholarships per year over the next three recruiting classes is certainly manageable and is far from crippling. Golden and his staff can now meet with recruits and explain exactly what's happening with the program and pitch postseason plans as well. While we may not know how much of a detriment the past two years may have been for Miami, it should certainly be better moving forward.