Back on February 26th we posted an article arguing that the fight between the NCAA and Miami was over. Since that time, a lot has happened and yet nothing has happened. Miami continues to claim the self imposed punishment fits the crime. The NCAA still continues to act like a vindictive joke (which is odd for a neutral governing body). Although the battle between the NCAA and Miami will continue for the foreseeable future, I stand by my prior conclusion that the war is already over.
- On March 29, 2013 the University of Miami filed a “Motion to Immediately Conclude” the NCAA’s case (otherwise known as a motion to dismiss);
- The 45 page document outlined numerous procedural issues, took issue with the fact that the NCAA vouched for the credibility of a convicted felon during his federal sentencing, argued that the NCAA intentionally used impermissible investigative tactics with the approval of NCAA executives, brought up the fact that the enforcement staff intentionally misled the University, etc. etc. etc.;
- On April 14, 2013 the NCAA responded to Miami’s Motion;
- The response, signed by the NCAA’s Interim VP of Enforcement argues that Miami is “grasping at straws”. The NCAA took the position that “the majority of the parties’ assertions in their motions to dismiss are largely based on assumptions, false accusations, misleading statements and meritless claims.”
The NCAA’s response sent some Miami fans into a bit of a panic, questioning the strategy behind the motion to dismiss and whether it was a good idea to back the NCAA into a corner. Personally, I couldn’t get the scene from Wedding Crashers out of my head. You remember the scene on the staircase where Vince Vaughn calls Owen Wilson a motor-boatin’ SOB? After listening to Owen Wilson complain about Jane Seymour hitting on him, Vaughn barks back “what’s wrong with you? You’re projecting … you stop projecting on me!”
That’s exactly what the NCAA is doing: projecting. The NCAA, a “neutral” governing body that admittedly took the word of a convicted felon as gold because the same convicted felon later repeated the allegation, a governing body that admittedly worked around its own guidelines by hiring an attorney to depose people it had no subpoena power over, a governing body that paid the convicted felon for his insight, a governing body that, well you get the idea – has the gall to claim that Miami is “grasping at straws”? To quote a 7 year old on the playground this morning, “whoever smelt it, dealt it.” NCAA – you are projecting.
As you can see by the recent developments mentioned above, the battles between Miami and the NCAA will likely continue into the foreseeable future. However, the war is already over. Whether the NCAA dismisses the case in June, whether the NCAA knocks the case down from “lack of institutional control” to “failure to monitor”, whether the Miami is even found guilty of lack of institutional control – to quote the Rock – “It doesn’t matter.” Miami has already served a 2 year bowl ban, forfeited the opportunity to play in 3 post season games, and fully cooperated with the NCAA. Miami’s strategy of complying (almost to a fault) in every aspect of the NCAA’s investigation, self imposing postseason bans, and turning the court of public opinion squarely against the NCAA, has left the NCAA out of options. Miami has already been punished. To take further action, the NCAA would risk a coups d’etat. Does the NCAA want to risk a lawsuit in a REAL court of law (and the potential documents that would come out during discovery)? The war is over. Donna Shalala has been playing chess while the NCAA has been playing checkers (maybe even Connect Four). Checkmate. Or at the very least, zugzwang.