MIAMI GARDENS, FL – NOVEMBER 25: Jacory Harris #12 of the Miami Hurricanes hands off to Mike James #5 during a game against the Boston College Eagles at Sun Life Stadium on November 25, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The recent news of the Title IX lawsuit filed by a former Baylor student alleging, among other things, that “52 acts of rape, including five gang rapes, by no fewer than 31 Baylor football players from 2011 to 2014” has lead to yet another discussion as to whether a scandal should result in a college football program receiving the NCAA’s dreaded “death penalty” (i.e. banning a university from competition in a sport for at least a year).

Although allegations against them pale in comparison to the ones asserted in the aforementioned Baylor lawsuit, the University of Miami faced similar speculation back in August 2011 after Yahoo! Sports published a bombshell story detailing claims from a former University of Miami football booster turned felon that he “provided thousands of impermissible benefits to at least 72 [UM] athletes” (mostly football players) from 2002-2010. The article prompted some immediate declarations that the UM football program would receive the death penalty…

Certain journalists didn’t actually go so far as predicting Miami would receive the death penalty, but strongly advocated that the NCAA should levy it in this case.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken, then writing for (the now defunct) The Daily made the argument:

From the article:


If [former University of Miami Athletic Director and former member of the NCAA’s Committee of Infractions Paul] Dee left any legacy on the Committee on Infractions, it’s this: The committee sends whatever message it wants to send, whether there’s evidence the school knew or not. And now that his former program is about to be served up on a platter, there’s no doubt what that message needs to be.


It’s time to put the “death penalty” back on the table. It’s time to shut down Miami football.


ESPN’s Mark May joined in as well:

As did best-selling author Buzz Bissinger (via The Daily Beast):

…The Miami football program must be given the death penalty by the NCAA. Not for one year. Or two. But forever. Gone. Kaput. Who will really suffer? Only the Wahoos who care about the Hurricanes more than they do their families—and need to get another life, anyway. The coaches? The players? If they have talent, they will all land somewhere else. In the real world, three strikes and you’re out. In the athletic world, three strikes and you’re just beginning. Who benefits? A university that perhaps may realize its primary mission is, can you believe it, academic and not athletic.
It isn’t as if the Miami program has been the white dove of peace in the past. No college football team has had a greater legacy of disgust.


All of the aforementioned tweets and articles were all posted in spite of the fact that the NCAA has not handed down the death penalty to a Division I athletics program since 1987 (SMU). Eventually, the NCAA penalized “The U”‘s football program with “nine scholarship losses over 3 seasons,” a far cry from the death penalty.

Maybe we should refrain from jumping the gun so quickly this time around.

About Fred Segal

Fred Segal, 35, grew up in the Miami, Florida area and currently lives in Coral Springs, Florida, with his wife and two children. He is currently an attorney practicing in West Palm Beach, Florida, at the law firm Broad and Cassel. Fred is a graduate of the University of Florida and is a rabid, borderline unhealthy, supporter of the Florida Gators.