I’m a big fan of the Ole Miss Red Cup Rebellion website and I don’t envy those folks having to deal with the fallout from the Tunsil debacle right now, but, damn, regardless of what you think of the NCAA, there’s got to be a better way to try to calm the waters than citing Nevin Shapiro.
In 2013, the key figure in the Miami football investigation, Nevin Shapiro, was going through bankruptcy court. The NCAA leveraged this to their advantage, payrolling Shapiro’s lawyer to use depositions related to the bankruptcy proceedings as a cover to ask questions of witnesses within the football program under oath. Using the American legal system as a means to enforce its own petty rules is obviously wildly inappropriate—the NCAA was forced to apologize and drop any evidence it had acquired through the depositions.
As rationales go, it’s not even a particularly useful comparison. The NCAA didn’t get in trouble for using deposition testimony to try to hang Miami; it got into hot water for corrupting the judicial process by co-opting Shapiro’s lawyer to do its dirty work. The obvious lesson from that fiasco is for the NCAA to sit back and let Miller’s lawyer dig into Ole Miss on his own.
Not to mention that, um… shit did happen.
The school imposed significant penalties on itself, including the suspension of eight football players and removing itself from post-season bowl contention for one year. On October 22, 2013, after two-and-a-half years of investigation, the NCAA announced that the University of Miami football team would be docked three scholarships in each of the next three seasons, a three-year probation, recruiting restrictions, a five-game suspension for the men’s basketball coach, and a two-year show-cause order on a total of three former assistant football and basketball coaches.
The NCAA’s own misdeeds did result in nothing more than that being imposed on the school and the program. So they had that whole “it could have been worse” thing going for them. Somehow I doubt that’s what the guys at RCR are hoping for.