An ultimatum given a week ago came to light today, courtesy of the Miami Herald. A letter from a Molly Richman, Assistant Director of Enforcement for the NCAA, was mailed to former players, in essence, demanding their cooperation.
“The purpose of this letter is to apprise you that the NCAA enforcement staff is requesting to schedule an interview with your clients regarding their knowledge of or involvement in possible NCAA violations concerning the University of Miami, Florida, football program.
Interviewing your clients is important in order for the enforcement staff to conduct a thorough investigation, and both the staff and the institution request you and your clients’ cooperation in this matter. However, at this time, all attempts to schedule and execute interviews with [blank] have been unsuccessful. As a result, this letter serves as a formal and final request by the NCAA enforcement staff for interviews with [blank] to be completed by Nov. 23, 2012.
If we do not hear back from you or your clients by that time, the staff will consider the non-response as your client’s admission of involvement in NCAA violations. You may contact me at [blank] in order to arrange this interview. Your assistance in this matter is appreciated.”
In a word, guilty until you prove your innocence.
In another word, the NCAA is proving that as a governing body it is partial and a world-class joke.
Just when this story seems it couldn’t add another twist or wrinkle, another jaw-dropper is delivered in timely fashion.
What does all this mean? Hard to speculate. There’s been a lot of chatter throughout the day, with writers, experts and fans weighing in. UM message boards are even flooded with posts from attorneys who pull for the orange and green, sharing their take on the matter.
For starters, the NCAA has no subpoena powers. Former players do not have to testify.
The NCAA, obviously embarrassed that this story has leaked, has also gone on records that no admittance of anything will be taken as an admittance of guilt, or at minimum will in their eyes, corroborate the tall tales told by Ponzi-schemer and jailbird Nevin Shapiro - something that won’t sit well in the court of public opinion.
It’s been stated by many throughout the day that the NCAA dropped a large amount of money on this UM investigation and in order to see a return on that investment, has tossed up one final Hail Mary before delivering a Notice of Allegations.
Michael Casagrande of the Sun-Sentinel caught up with a Miami-based sports entertainment lawyer Darren Heitner on Wednesday, with Heitner calling the letter “a very cheap attempt at a final scare tactic”.
Heitner went on to say the NCAA is “picking at straws” and stated that the printing of the letter is a public relations blow to the organization.
Opinions will continue flying regarding this unprecedented move by the NCAA and this moment in the two-year investigation is definitely worth paying close attention to.
Miami aside, the NCAA has proven it’s an organization out of control; one with an agenda, lacking any logic, reason or due process.
When it’s all said and done, could this prove to be the tipping point? Could this be a defining moment in college football? Might this force our government to finally step in?
The monster that is the BCS finally had to cave, adding some form of a playoff that will begin in 2015 – and while the system is still far from perfect, a change was needed and one finally came.
Seemingly determined to justify its expenses, the NCAA might’ve done itself more damage than good when firing off such a poorly-worded letter last week.
Christian Bello has been covering Miami Hurricanes athletics since the mid-1990s. After spending almost a decade as a columnist for CanesTime, he launched allCanesBlog.com. – the official blog for allCanes.com : The #1 Canes Shop Since 1959. Bello has joined up with XOFan.com and will be a guest columnist at CaneInsider.com this fall. Follow him on Twitter @ChristianRBello.