Doan: The NCAA made Miami sympathetic?!
Posted Apr 19, 2013

Bart Doan: The NCAA made Miami a sympathetic figure?!

By Bart Doan
Follow me @Bart_cfnMiami, NCAA pushing one another into oncoming traffic

Ever watch "The First 48?" It's a television show on A&E chronicling specific homicide cases. It's somewhat graphic, which lends itself more authenticity. It's in documentary form, so it's easier to buy. And it's worth a watch, just probably not until 2 a.m. when you need a good night's sleep.

But there's a time honored tradition that permeates almost every case. Most of them involve more than one person knowing, helping, driving a getaway vehicle, etc. And always, when four people participate in a murder it's "always THAT guy's fault." It's called throwing people under the bus, and it's as timeless as Snickers, corn whiskey, and the Beatles.

Where am I going with this? The NCAA has made Miami...that Miami...a sympathetic figure. That's no small task. That's like making Lindsay Lohan look long-term relationship material. But it's happened. You all remember Miami. They of the atrocities so horrible, you had to avert your eyes reading about them. Free watches, money, alleged abortions, the whole lot. They might never play football again when it was all said and done. Heck, the NCAA might take a hacksaw and just cut that portion of Florida to sail back into the ocean.

And to make it worse, it was all outed by some guy who looked like he bought fake jewelry at Claire's and tore off Gucci tags to sew on Kenneth Cole dress shirts so people would think when he walked into the club, he was "fresh." It was everything you hate about big time college sports all rolled into one story.

Then all of the sudden, the NCAA came along tinkle in the already soggy Cheerios. I've asked ... and people who would know ... and basically the NCAA has carte blanche to investigate what they want on the whim of nothing other than a rumor. They can ignore it too. So when the NCAA stuff started trickling out, the Miami case seemed easier than mowing two acres of lawn in a five month drought.

Then it wasn't. The NCAA lacks subpoena power, which really sort of stinks if you're conducting any realistic investigation. So denial is the penultimate elixir to any bad situation. Only idiots leave a paper trail anymore, and most schools are better than to do that when they're cheating. It's like putting flowers on your credit card for the girl you're dating behind your live-in girlfriend's back when cash is untraceable.

But without that subpoena power, the NCAA apparently felt like it couldn't beat Miami. So some guy named Ameen Najjar, investigator, said he thought it'd be a decent way to circumvent the lack of power by hiring Shapiro's lawyer to ask questions they want to ask, then use them in their separate case. NCAA "allegedly" said no. Just like the guy in "The First 48" who says "yeah, we drove up there with guns and ski masks, but I SWEAR, no one said we were gonna shoot anyone."

So Najjar allegedly again, went behind the NCAA's back, asked his boss, told him everyone else game him the okay, and used Shapiro's lawyer. Only that shouldn't have been done.

Najjar has since been fired, as was his superior. That's all good and dandy. But now Miami wants to get out on a technicality. Why not? Seems reasonable. They (the NCAA) did something against the rules, so that makes what we did obsolete? It's as old as the first day our legal system was adopted. Two wrongs cancel out one another, so we walk.

Miami has a point. Who's to say any part of the investigation is on the up and up if that part wasn't. The NCAA has a point too. Just because we screwed up doesn't make your wrongdoings something that never happened.

Miami probably won't win. The NCAA operates with a skeleton key that it uses randomly on some doors (OSU) and breaks off in the lock on others (UNC). Or loses the keys for five years and finds them in the cushions one day (USC).

But both here are very wrong. The NCAA tossed a few employees under the bus at the expense of "we had no idea what they were doing." You're supposed to. Sorry, you just are. And Miami is smart ... but crass to expect anyone to forget about the transgressions just because the investigative team opposite them messed up.

My call? Take away television rights. Let Miami play a full slate of games with bowls. Don't take away scholarships, because that just hurts student athletes. Take away TV slots and money which really would hurt recruiting. Except that won't happen. People watch Miami, because Miami is tradition-laden and a great program. Iconic, in the grand scheme of things.

The NCAA won't do the right thing because the money isn't good. Miami didn't do the right thing a decade or so ago for the same reason. The blind will continue to tell the blind to look at the map and ask if they're going the right way on the interstate. Bank on it.