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Now The Focus Turns To Coaches Involved In Scandal

While the NCAA is clearing Nevin Shapiro-named players left and right, Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News has turned his attention to the ex-Miami coaches accused of rules violations in the Yahoo! Sports report.  Specifically, Solomon tracked down attorney Michael Buckner — who often deals in NCAA cases — and asked him about how Alabama should handle the cases of director of football operations Joe Pannunzio and offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland.

Buckner’s answers would also likely apply to Florida’s handling of receivers coach Aubrey Hill, who was also named in the Miami investigation.

“If I was Alabama, I would conduct my own internal inquiry in conjunction with the enforcement staff.  If there are alleged activities going on with current staff members at other schools, are they continuing those activities at Alabama?  Alabama can’t afford any significant allegations at this point since they’re on probation.”

While Florida isn’t on probation, they should obviously want to know what type of activities Hill has been up to since joining Will Muschamp’s staff.

Focusing again on Bama’s new coaches, Buckner said:

“If what was in the report was true, then I think (Stoutland and Pannunzio) would be prominent in any notice of allegations.  Whether that rises to a major for them, that’s the question.  Normally, that would just be a secondary, although the enforcement staff can use patterns of secondaries to be a major.  It’s what’s not in the story that the enforcement staff is going to have to uncover.”

Here’s what’s interesting about all this from our perspective — had the NCAA not cleared so quickly the players named in the Miami probe, it probably would have been best for Georgia and Florida to sit Orson Charles, Andre Debose and Matt Patchan until they all received proper NCAA clearance.  Had the schools played those athletes and the NCAA later ruled that they were ineligible, the schools probably would have been forced to vacate or forfeit games.  (Since the NCAA has deemed them all eligible, this is no longer a concern.)

However, in the case of coaches, there is no such threat of forfeited victories.  So as long as Alabama and Florida are sure that their coaches are clean in their current work, those schools need not worry about what the NCAA might dig up on Stoutland, Pannunzio and Hill from their Miami days.  Their actions in Coral Gables won’t come back to harm their current employers (except in terms of reputation).

Consider that another little oddity of the NCAA rulebook.

In theory, players caught cheating can be ruled retroactively ineligible and schools playing them can be made to forfeit games… thus it’s usually safer to sit players facing questions.  Coaches caught cheating can not be ruled retroactively “ineligible,” so schools might as well keep them on staff until the NCAA’s findings are in.



Interested Observer
Interested Observer

Dead issue for Bama's coaches.

Saban said when they were hired, they were "vetted through the NCAA" and that the coaches weren't flagged for compliance issues by the NCAA.

Saban's full statement:

“I know what goes on in this program, and I know that we do things correctly. We do have people in this organization, who worked there. Before those people were ever hired here we do an NCAA check to make sure they pass all compliance criteria and that they don't have any red flags relative to compliance history. We certainly did that in both of these cases.

Now if any of these people had any wrongdoing I'm sure the NCAA will investigate it in due time and if they did anything wrong I'm sure they will get the appropriate punishment, which we would do if we had any internal problems in our organization.

“But we're going to continue to control and manage what we do in our organization and do it correctly, and that's basically all we can be concerned about. I don't think anything else needs to be said.”

Tyler B
Tyler B

I agree. Until coaches have any skin in the game - having to repay parts of their salary or being banned from coaching in the NCAA - why wouldn't a coach turn a blind eye to any minor violations? Reagardless of the UM outcome, I'm hoping this disater will be the catalyst for major change in just about every area of college football.

I believe the best example of the NCAA's take on the current culture of college athletics is the "atta boy" that was being tossed around after raising the APR scores to 930. (If that actually even happened.) Sure... that's going to fix the real problems going on right now. Good lord these guys are idiots.


They could cut all this rule breaking out for good if they would begin holding coaches accountable instead of 17 and 18 year old kids. The way they do it actually makes no sense. The coaches can have break all the rules and then just skip town and begin another job making essentially what he was making before. If NCAA ban coaches for 5 or 10 years for the worst offenses they might start taking notice and run clean programs. Until then it will be just don't get caught.

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