Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Cupboard Devoid of Pots and Kettles

In case you missed it, earlier this week the body that oversees intercollegiate athletics in these United States - the NCAA - served the University of Miami (not the "Cradle of Coaches" in Oxford, Ohio but the Convicts of "Catholics v. Convicts" infamy in Coral Gables, Florida) with a formal notice that it - the NCAA - is charging Ray Lewis U. with the dreaded "lack of institutional control".  This unwelcome sobriquet arises out of the role that a disgraced (well now anyway but not always) Miami booster named Nevin Shapiro to worm his way into the athletic department and to develop and cultivate improper personal and financial relationships with the school's student athletes.  If Miami is found guilty of a "lack of institutional control" then screwed shall replace orange, green and white as the dominant color in its logo. 
I do not pretend to know whether Miami is guilty of all, some or none of the sins the institution is alleged to have committed.  I would surmise that the fact that the school has imposed some not insignificant penalties upon itself while the NCAA's investigation was underway suggests that something might smell just a tad stinky down about South Beach way.  The Hurricanes have already self-imposed several sanctions, including sitting out two bowl games and a conference football championship game, which Miami President Donna Shalala indicated during a press conference at which she blasted the NCAA's investigative process is punishment enough already. 
While historically I have as much use for Donna Shalala as I do for my Atomic Sub discount card, Shalala's point - in this instance - is well-taken.  Not with regard to the "Woe is me we have suffered enough" shtick.  Truth be told Miami self-penalized long before it knew or reasonably could have known just how badly the NCAA's investigation was structured to screw them.  The fact that now the other shoe has dropped and it has hit the Canes squarely in the mush may not be fair.  But since it was not their motivation behind penalizing themselves before anyone else could they should acknowledge that fact and stop whimpering about it.  No one coerced them into doing what they did.  If they leaped without looking, then the blame for a shitty landing is theirs and their alone.
However she was 100% right about the hypocrisy-laden investigation the NCAA has waged against Miami.  One day prior to NCAA President Mark Emmert's announcement that the Notice of Violations had been formally served on the Canes he shitcanned his hand-picked Director of Enforcement for - you guessed it - making stuff up as she went along during the investigation into Miami's misdeeds.   Among the transgressions committed by the NCAA's enforcement staff - as documented in the NCAA's Enforcement Review Report- were:
Select NCAA enforcement staff acted contrary to internal protocols, legal counsel and the membership’s understanding about the limits of its investigative powers in the University of Miami case, according to the external Enforcement Review Report.

The external review found select enforcement staff members:
  • Knowingly circumvented legal advice to engage Nevin Shapiro’s criminal defense attorney.
  • Violated the internal NCAA policy of legal counsel only being retained and monitored by the legal staff.
  • Paid insufficient attention to the concern that engaging the criminal defense attorney could constitute an inappropriate manipulation of the bankruptcy process.
  • Did not sufficiently consider the membership’s understanding about the limits of the enforcement staff’s investigative powers.
  • Did not violate a specific bylaw or law.
For those of you keeping score at home, remember that it is the University of Miami and NOT the NCAA that has been accused of lacking "institutional control" the NCAA.  The NCAA's solution to the mess it made of its investigation is to state publicly that none of the information that it obtained illegally and/or improperly will be presented to the Infractions Committee that considers Miami's fate in the months ahead.  Un f*cking believable.  Short of having had a NAMBLA membership card fall out of his wallet while he was pontificating on high last year during the Jerry Sandusky-led debacle at Penn State, NCAA President Emmert could not come up with a way to reveal himself to be more of a hypocrite than he has in this whole sordid affair
Did someone remember to invite the clowns to this circus?  Oh wait, I forgot.  No need. 
They are already here....

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