Now that the NCAA’s flawed investigation of the Miami athletic department has resulted in the mailing of a number of notices of allegations, things don’t look too darn bad for ex-Hurricane figures who’ve since moved on to the SEC.
Missouri head basketball coach Frank Haith has been hit with a failure to monitor charge by the NCAA. But in this case that’s akin to a man on death row getting a last-second pardon from the governor. Last month, CBSSports.com reported that Mizzou’s coach was expected to receive an unethical conduct charge. As we wrote at the time, if the NCAA had leveled such a charge at Haith, a show-cause penalty would likely have followed… and 99.9% of the time that type of penalty results in a coach’s dismissal.
Bad news, Haith. Bad news, Missouri.
Instead, Haith will only have to beat back a charge that he failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance while at Miami. That’s far from receiving a clean bill of health, but it beats the hell out of a firing squad.
We may never know whether CBSSports.com’s Jeff Goodman had a bad source for his initial story or the NCAA changed its plans after the Miami investigation became a public nightmare. But you can be sure Haith is breathing a sigh of relief either way. And was quick to share the news last night after his Tigers upset #5 Florida in Columbia:
“Contrary to what was reported, there was no unethical conduct in my notice of allegations. It is just an allegation, so we get a chance to defend ourselves.”
At worst, Haith might face a short suspension. Baylor coach Scott Drew received a two-game ban for a failure-to-monitor charge last April. In Drew’s case, Baylor self-imposed the loss of one scholarship for two seasons, a decrease in the number of official visits allowed for one year (from 12 to seven), and prohibited Drew and another assistant from making recruiting calls for two months.
If that’s the worst Haith and MU have to deal with, that’s a win considering the alternative. You can almost feel the sense of relief conveyed by Tiger AD Mike Alden’s response last night:
“Shoot, after 20 months, I think all of us are pleased that we can deal with it and move forward. I’m looking forward to working with Frank for a long time.”
Missouri isn’t the only SEC school feeling better today. Alabama director of football operations Joe Pannunzio — a former Miami assistant coach — has not received a notice of allegations from the NCAA at all. No word on whether or not ex-Hurricane assistant Jeff Stoutland received a notice, but he left his job as Bama’s offensive line coach for the same job with the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this month.
So it looks like the Tide will avoid any headaches. The same can be said for both Florida and Tennessee.
Last August, Florida receivers coach Aubrey Hill resigned his job in Gainesville. Today he is one of three ex-Miami coaches accused of unethical conduct and lying to the NCAA. Typically you don’t lie to the NCAA without receiving some form of show-cause penalty. Hill will still get a chance to refute the NCAA’s claims, of course. He is currently out of college coaching.
Tennessee can breath easy because it didn’t reel in Louisville coach Charlie Strong when it tried to last December. The Cardinals’ coach actually agreed to take the UT job before backing out and staying at U of L. It turns out his top assistant Clint Hurtt is also one of the three ex-Hurricane coaches accused of lying. Hurtt is Strong’s defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator. He has been hailed by recruiting services as one of the best closers in the business. If he can’t convince the NCAA that he did not mislead its investigators, he’ll likely be closing the book on his coaching career for a while.
(The third ex-Miami coach facing an unethical conduct charge is basketball assistant Jorge Fernandez, who resigned from Marshall last May.)
With so many ex-Miami figures on or around the SEC radar, there’s reason for folks all across the conference to feel relieved today.