When news of the athletics scandal at the University of Miami started exploding Wednesday, I just wasn’t feeling it. It seemed strange, given the unprecedented size and scope of the allegations. Between 2002 and 2010, a single booster, according to a remarkably exhaustive investigation by Yahoo Sports, allegedly gave “thousands of impermissible benefits”—from money to sex—to as many as 73 different football and basketball players.
But so many colleges have bent the rules in the great academic act of winning meaningless football and basketball games that it was hard for me to muster much excitement. Improper conduct has happened too many times in the past. It seemed bound to happen too many times in the future, given that college coaches and college players are opportunists, liars, loyal to no one but their own careers and their own pockets, manipulative, duplicitous, morally autistic and clinically narcissistic in equal measure to the ego that requires them to excel.
But the more I read about the Miami scandal Wednesday night, the more my outrage meter began to move into the red zone. There may even be a rare opportunity to do something bold and decisive here, with reverberations far beyond the palm trees of the Miami campus at Coral Gables.
Maybe, just maybe, there finally will be some recognition that the major college sports of basketball and football are rotten, and that the only way to root out the rot is with the tandem action of draconian punishment and cutting the snake off at the head. No more slaps on the wrist by the NCAA with the taking away of scholarships or depriving teams of Bowl game or playoff appearances. Now is the perfect time to send a loud and clear message to other schools about what the consequences will be if you flagrantly break the rules.