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NCAA Rules UM Players Suspended, Must Pay Restitution

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MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – The NCAA has ruled that eight University of Miami players must miss at least one game and repay benefits as a condition to becoming eligible to play again for the Canes.

All the players received “varying levels of recruiting inducements and extra benefits from university booster Nevin Shapiro and athletics personnel, according to the facts of the case,” the NCAA ruled. Since athletics personnel are involved, it could trigger the lack of institutional control in the infractions case.

Lack of institutional control is one of the key elements the NCAA looks at when they are weighing what penalties to give a school under investigation.

Billy Corben who made ESPN’s “30 For 30″ film titled “The U” documenting the teams history said, “based on the wording of the NCAA statement, it’s easy to see they’re moving in the direction of there being some level of institutional responsibility.”

The NCAA said reinstatement decisions are made separate of the NCAA infractions decisions. The infractions investigation into the University of Miami’s Nevin Shapiro allegations continues.

UM senior Brenden Amaru said he was optimistic about the season.

“It leaves a bad image but I think we’re going to recover,” said Amaru. “Going to come back strong. I’m excited for the season.”

According to the NCAA, Olivier Vernon received more than $1200 in benefits, primarily from Shapiro. Vernon will miss six games and must make repayment of the value of the benefits. The benefits included meals, transportation, access to Shapiro’s game suite, drinks, cover charges at two different nightclubs, among others, the NCAA found.

Aravious Armstrong and Dyron Dye will miss four games and must also make repayment of the benefits. Armstrong, according to the NCAA, received approximately $788 in extra benefits from Shapiro and athletics personnel.

The NCAA said Dye received approximately $738 in extra benefits. Both players received benefits including five nights of impermissible lodging from institutional staff during their unofficial visits, transportation, multiple meals, and entertainment at a gentleman’s club, according to the NCAA.

Five student-athletes, Marcus Forston, Sean Spence, Adewale Ojomo, Travis Benjamin, and Jacory Harris must miss one game and make repayment, according to the NCAA.

Forston received more than $400 in extra benefits, the NCAA claimed, including athletic equipment, meals, nightclub cover charges, and entertainment at a gentleman’s club. Spencce allegedly received around $275 in benefits including meals, transportation, as well as cover charges and entertainment at a gentleman’s club.

Ojomo received $240 in extra benefits, including a meal and nightclub cover charges, according to the NCAA. Benjamin, the NCAA found, received over $150 in extra benefits; while Harris received more than $140 in benefits from meals, entertainment, transportation, and nightclub cover charges.

“From regular reviews of our rules to the presidential retreat earlier this month, our members have continually stressed that involvement of third parties during recruitment will not be tolerated, and there must be accountability for inappropriate behavior,” said Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs.

“The NCAA has informed the University of Miami of their decisions regarding the reinstatement of eight student-athletes who were declared ineligible by the University last week, “ said UM Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst. “The student-athletes involved have acknowledged receiving improper benefits and will now be responsible for restitution and, in some cases, the student-athletes will also serve game suspensions.  They understand that their actions demand consequences.

Corben said he believes the University and it’s president should be held responsible.

“When it comes to responsibility, you need to look at that picture from the Yahoo! Sports story of Nevin Shapiro and Donna Shalala holding that check. That check bought her moral authority,” said Corben. “You can’t with one hand take a check from him and wag your finger in the face of a student athlete and say ‘you have to do as I say not as I do. That’s not fair.”

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