UPDATED 11:30 a.m. with teleconference comments. Scroll down to the bottom for those.
So all the waiting was for ... that?
Don't get me wrong, I certainly wasn't rooting for the NCAA to drop the hammer down on Miami - not after leaving the Hurricanes' program in limbo for years and using questionable/unethical methods in an attempt to get more information. And not after Miami had already self-imposed bowl bans the past two years.
But it does make you wonder why it took sooooo long for the NCAA to mete out a punishment that wound up being pretty pedestrian. Among the penalties:
* The loss of three football scholarships and one basketball scholarship in each of the next three years.
* Three years of probation, running from today through Oct. 21, 2016
* A five-game suspension for former Miami - and current Missouri - basketball coach Frank Haith.
* A two-year show cause penalty for former Miami - and current Louisville - assistant football coach Clint Hurtt.
* A two-year show cause penalthy for former Miami assistant football coach Aubrey Hill.
* A two-year show cause penalty for former Miami assistant basketball coach Jorge Fernandez.
* Perhaps the most interesing one: " ... any staff member who sends an impermissible text to a prospect will be fined a minimum of $100 per message, and coaches will be suspended from all recruiting activities for seven days."
(Cue the six billion cell phone plan jokes on Twitter).
You can check here to read the full report, if you're into that sort of thing.
These penalties were in addition to the following self-imposed penalties Miami had already meted out:
* Imposing a two-year bowl ban (2011 & 2012) as well as a ban from the 2012 ACC Championship game.
* Reducing the number of official paid visits for 2012-13 by 20 percent, down to a total of 36 visits.
* Reducing fall evaluations in 2012-13 by six (from 42 to 36).
* Reducing available contact days during the 2012-13 contact period by 20 percent.
Considering that Miami already put together a pretty darned good football recruiting class in 2013 with those restrictions and also laid the foundation for what appears to be another stellar class in 2014, I'd say the Hurricanes came through this whole saga about as well as could be expected.
Not suprisingly, there's been plenty of strong reaction out there from a variety of different angles. Here are few of the more compelling tweets.
Arc of NCAA investigation: Yahoo, faux shock, misdirected outrage, calls for penalties that'll never happen, 10-18 month cool off, bitching.— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) October 22, 2013
That's a pretty cynical way of looking at it, but also pretty accurate.
Two-yr bowl ban can't be overlooked, but again the Miami verdict reinforces that NCAA is more concerned about cooperation than infractions.— Matt Hinton (@MattRHinton) October 22, 2013
I'm not sure UNC fans will draw that same conclusion ...
It's an apples to oranges comparison, but yeah, I get where Tar Heel rage is coming from on this.
The 5 games Missouri coach Frank Haith will miss: SE La., So. Illinois, Hawaii, Gardner Webb, and IUPUI. Not Murderer's Row— Roger Kuznia (@RogerKuznia) October 22, 2013
It certainly looks like Haith made it through all this in pretty great shape. He moved from Miami to Missouri - a step up in the world of college basketball - and his punishment is essentially having to miss that motley crew of games. Did the Miami scandal hurt Haith in recruiting? Possibly. But he still reeled in a decent amount of talent. And now that the worst is behind him, the Haith charm offensive will be in full force out on the trail.
Unofficial statement from Miami: #fullspeedahead— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) October 22, 2013
Again, Miami put together a top-10 recruiting class last year with all those self-imposed penalties, as well as the cloud of uncertainty and potential impending NCAA doom looming over the program. It's on the way to doing the same thing with its 2014 classs. Is there any reason to see Canes recruiting slowing down now? No. No there isn't.
Miami reportedly has no plans to appeal, so this is all finally coming to an end soon http://t.co/AEepJvqbDY— Chip Patterson (@Chip_Patterson) October 22, 2013
Yeah, i can't imagine why Miami would want to fight this any further. The penalties going forward are more than manageable. This has to be seen as a clear "win" for the Hurricanes.
Naturally that leads to the question of whether Miami got what it deserves. I honestly don't know. I will say that these penalties were about what I expected. When you combine the fact that the Hurricanes held themselves out of bowl games the past two years, that Miami was largely seen as cooperative during the whole affair and - most importantly - that the NCAA investigation was rife with controversy and admitted "mishandling", it was hard to imagine that the penalties would be very stiff at this point. If this were the judicial system, a mistrial would have already been declared.
The other question I can't answer ... what the heck took the NCAA so long? You're recall that even ACC commissioner John Swofford expected this ruling to come down before the start of the 2013 football season.
"I expect closure soon." _ Al Golden, exactly three months ago today. Yikes.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) October 22, 2013
Yikes indeed. But now that closure is finally here. As AP writer Tim Reynolds joked, it's #fullspeedahead for Miami.
Just got off the teleconference with Britton Banowsky, the chairperson of the NCAA's Committtee on Infractions. Apparently Banowsky was connected via a ham radio via the South Pole. The sound quality was of the call was ... wanting.
So I relied quite a bit on some of my fellow reporters to transcribe some of Banowsky's comments via Twitter. Some of them were banal but others were quite ... interesting.
...He said NCAA's misconduct in case didn't factor into penalties.— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) October 22, 2013
Well that certainly goes against my theory that the NCAA's missteps softened Miami's penalties. I'm not sure I totally believe that. Banowsky did confirm that the evidence improperly gained through the bankruptcy hearings was not used in the investigation.
NCAA COI says allocating responsibility to specific individuals is important. In this case, former men's bkb coach and former fb assistant.— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) October 22, 2013
Now THIS may explain more the level of Miami's penalties. Perhaps we're seeing a shift from the NCAA punishing institutions to the NCAA punishing individuals. You know, if the NCAA did things like setting and following precedents.
Banowsky "we don't do a great deal of comparative analysis" re: other penalties/cases. That's ... interesting.— Jim Young (@ACCSports) October 22, 2013
Precedent? Dah, who needs that?! RT @schadjoe NCAA COI stresses each case is unique and that cases aren't put up against each other.— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) October 22, 2013
I just don't get that. How do you achieve any consistency as an organization if you don't compare cases and subsequent penalties with other cases and penalties?
"It's a big deal, a very big deal," Banowsky says regarding Miami's two-year self-imposed bowl ban.— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) October 22, 2013
It's clear that Miami calculated very well in terms of the level of its self-imposed punishment. Banowsky also called Miami's level of cooperation, "commendable."
And ... that's a wrap. Another strange, confusing chapter in the stange, confusing world of NCAA enforcement is closed.