Now that Oregon has received its punishment from the NCAA, the Miami case is the next major one on the docket to be decided.
Some may wonder whether the rulings in the Oregon case foreshadow what could happen when the Hurricanes hear from the NCAA. First, the NCAA is completely and utterly unpredictable. No one case is treated the same, nor do the penalties issued seem to follow a uniform procedure.
Just ask USC and Ohio State, who were hit much harder than the Ducks.
Second, Oregon was not accused of the multiple major infractions Miami has been accused of committing. The cases are not even remotely the same. Former coach Chip Kelly seemed to take the brunt of the punishment. He got an 18-month show-cause penalty; Oregon was put on three years' probation and lost two total scholarships. Universally, most wonder whether this is truly a punishment or a wrist slap for Oregon.
But this is where perhaps Miami should have a glimmer of hope. In discussing the Oregon case, NCAA officials opted against harsher punishments -- in part -- because of the school's cooperation throughout the investigation. Miami, too has cooperated with the NCAA throughout the investigation into the Nevin Shapiro allegations and been proactive -- already self-imposing a two-year postseason ban.
Though Oregon got no such postseason ban, it should be encouraging that the NCAA heavily weighed the school's cooperation in issuing its punishments. In its ruling, the NCAA noted Oregon was "fully cooperat[ive] throughout the entirety of the investigative stage. At the investigation's conclusion, the enforcement staff, the institution and the involved parties were in substantial agreement on the facts of the case and on the violations that had occurred."
School president Donna Shalala has come out with some pretty harsh statements in the wake of the NCAA's admission that it botched several parts of its Miami investigation. But that does not take away from the underlying fact that Miami has cooperated since bringing the Shapiro allegations to the NCAA in September 2010, nearly three years ago. Maybe, just maybe, the NCAA will accept Miami's self-imposed punishments and won't go much further.
Miami had its two-day meeting before the Committee on Infractions two weeks ago, but isn't expected to receive its penalty for at least another month at the earliest. While there are not many parallels between its case and Oregon's, full cooperation should help Miami's cause.