Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday's Musings on Sports - Miami Meets its Fate or Why the Sanhedrin Got it Right

Last week, I was driving back from Court one day when I heard a story about how the University of Miami had learned of its punishment after a nearly three year investigation by the NCAA. The radio host (I think it was Collin Cowherd) was talking about how the punishment was nowhere as severe as the punishment meted out by the NCAA to some other schools. Still, the radio host thought it was more than fair, because the punishment had been delayed for so long. As I cruised the LIE through rural Suffolk County, I thought that the radio host was right and that he had been channelling Gemara Sanhedrin.

Approximately, two and a half years ago, a story broke about a Miami booster named Nevin Shapiro, who had access to student-athlete recruits and who influenced them with illegal gifts. As detailed in a timeline created by Yahoo sports (;_ylt=A2KJ3CSweHBSFA4AU31NbK5_) in 2009, Miami reported the incident to the NCAA. Thereafter, Miami punished itself by refraining from participation in bowl games for two years. Additionally, during the process, the Miami administration advised potential recruits that the school was the subject of an ongoing investigation and could be the subject of potential sanctions. 

Finally, the NCAA issued a report last week which contained its sanction - the school would lose nine scholarships (three a year for the next three years) but would not be suspended from bowl activity. As reported by Tim Reynolds of the AP (;_ylt=A2KJ3CSweHBSFA4AVn1NbK5_) Miami called the punishment tough, but fair. But more importantly to Miami, it meant that the investigation was finally over and they could move on with the business of the university.

This was the point that the radio host had been making last week. For the last three years, every recruit who came to the school was warned - there may not be football here next year. You might play for use, but the team might be suspended from playing in a bowl game. But then again, nothing might happen. This was the reason why (in his opinion) the NCAA did not mete out a more severe punishment on Miami. The NCAA was aware of what Miami had been experiencing due to the delay in concluding the investigation. As a result, there would be no additional severe punishment.

The story reminded me of the halacha on judging cases according to Jewish law. No cases are heard at night and cases are not presented near nightfall so as to be sensitive to the emotions of the accused. The NCAA and Miami, that's a different story.

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