College Basketball Nation: 102213-Miami-sanctions

Frank Haith avoided major trouble

October, 22, 2013
10/22/13
2:42
PM ET


It could have been so much worse.

In summer of 2011, when Yahoo! Sports brought ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro's unseemly relationship with Miami athletics to the fore, Frank Haith was out in the open. Athletic director Mike Alden had reached on a coach with one tournament appearance and a 47-69 career ACC record, and now, at best, that same coach was subject to an optics nightmare. At worst, Shapiro alleged, Haith arranged for a $10,000 payment to a prospect.

Either way, it wasn't good. Months earlier, Alden had proudly sold skeptical Tigers diehards on Haith's "integrity" and "character." The new coach's contract included language that allowed the Tigers to cut ties with cause, if it came to that. All they needed was a finished NCAA investigation.

Instead, the NCAA's findings, released Tuesday, comprise little more than a glancing blow. The Committee on Infractions suspended Haith for five games, to be served at the start of this season, and he'll have to attend an NCAA rules seminar next summer. Neither will threaten his job at Missouri.

Haith's success since his arrival factors in that calculus: In his first season, he led former coach Mike Anderson's players to a 30-5 record and a Big 12 tournament title. The Tigers made the NCAA tournament again in 2012-13, and Haith's program has quickly become a destination for talented transfers.

But Haith's security has much more to do with the NCAA's strange decision itself.

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NCAA proves again it has lost its way

October, 22, 2013
10/22/13
1:46
PM ET

The Emery envelope memorably exploded and with it came the implosion of Kentucky basketball:

A two-year postseason ban, no televised appearances for one season, scholarship reductions, records expunged and NCAA tournament money returned or, as then-Kentucky president David Roselle explained, "about 4 feet" from the death penalty.

That was in 1989.

Fast forward to 2008. Kelvin Sampson texts like a teenage girl with a mad crush and Indiana basketball is brought to its knees.

Or how about 2010, when Bruce Pearl suddenly finds it impossible to recognize his own home and the Tennessee coach becomes an ex-Tennessee coach with a three-year show cause penalty?

That all happened, courtesy of grievous athletic misdeeds followed by justifiable NCAA punishments.

Of course, that was back when the NCAA had teeth and some integrity of its own, before it had to investigate its own investigations and redo punishments it never had the authority to make in the first place.

The organization has all but jumped the shark now, gone from tough guy, greaser Fonzi to geeky, unintimidating Arthur Fonzarelli.

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