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Commentary: NCAA needs to punish offending teams now — not in a few years

Published: Monday, Aug. 29 2011 1:45 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Jiminy Cricket — what in the world is wrong with college football these days?

Yet another program is under the proverbial lights of cheating.

In case you've been on vacation, the Miami Hurricanes football team is under scrutiny for major NCAA violations.

Accusations have claimed the Miami football program accepted funds from a convicted Ponzi schemer, Nevin Shapiro.

In the report it claims that Shapiro provided close to $2 million to the athletic program and gave illegal benefits to 72 current or former players of the program.

Players like Kellen Winslow Jr., Devin Hester, Andre Johnson, Willis McGahee, Frank Gore, Jacory Harris, Sean Taylor, Antrel Rolle, Vince Wilfork and D.J. Williams were all included in the alleged list.

Well golly! No wonder the Hurricanes were nearly unbeatable in the early part of the last decade. The 2001 National Championship team is considered by many to be the most talented team to every be composed.

Don't agree?

Along with McGahee, Johnson, Rolle, Gore, Taylor, Wilfork, Winslow and Williams — Ken Dorsey, Ed Reed, Clinton Portis, Roger McIntosh, Jonathan Vilma, Bryant McKinnie, Roscoe Parrish and Jeremy Shockey ran through the smoke tunnel that season.

It's hard not to negatively think, did other players accept illegal benefits as well and slip through the cracks? Just how many players were influenced to attend school near South Beach by Shapiro?

This is all stemming weeks after the NCAA slammed the final hammer on the long-running saga of the USC scandal involving Reggie Bush by vacating the Trojans of their 2004 National Championship. It was the finishing touch of long string of punishments.

The Trojan's were sentenced to the timeout corner with punishments stretching from four years of probation including two years without postseason eligibility, the loss of 30 scholarships over a three-year span and stripping Bush of his Heisman trophy.

The NCAA is obviously fed up with recruiting violations and cheating. Talks of the "Death Penalty" for Miami have already risen and for good reason.

Over the past years — Alabama, Boise State, West Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio State, Auburn, Georgia Tech, LSU, Oregon, South Carolina, Michigan, Tennessee, Arkansas State and Texas Tech have joined the Hurricanes and Trojans in committing major NCAA violations.

Is this college football or the mafia?

Who knows how long these antics have been circulating throughout the programs, but, figuratively speaking, say they have continuously committed violations over the past decade.

Dating back to the 2000 season — excluding North Carolina and Arkansas State who have roughly the same college football pedigree as some Texas high schools — the afore mentioned teams have combined for 1,322-574 record (a .697 winning percentage). The wins are grouped with 134 bowl games, 69 bowl wins, 33 BCS appearances, 23 BCS wins, 7 national championships, 11 national championship game appearances and 45 conference championships.

That's not including the wins and bowl game victories surrendered by USC, Georgia Tech, Ohio State and Alabama already.

Who says cheaters don't prosper?

These violations aren't just a-run-in-the-muck mistakes either. These are well known infractions such as improper benefits, lack of institutional control, excessive recruiting including contact from boosters, ineligible student participation, amateur athlete and coaching staff violations and failure to report such scams.

What's next? An organized underground casino to lure recruits? Prostitutes are so yesterday's tactics.

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