MIAMI (CBSMiami) – She’s been at the center of the University of Miami’s defense during the more than two year investigation of the school by the NCAA and after leading the school through the process; UM President Donna Shalala spoke exclusively with CBS4’s Eliott Rodriguez about what’s next at the school.
“Well, I’m glad it’s over. We’ve accepted the additional penalties that the NCAA has imposed upon us,” Shalala told Rodriguez. “We’re grateful to our community, very apologetic to everyone that this happened in the first place. We take full responsibility for the actions of our employees and our failure to monitor the program effectively. We are just happy that we can move on now.”
Shalala spoke to CBS4 just hours after the school received notice from the NCAA of additional sanctions for the Nevin Shapiro scandal. The school self-imposed severe sanctions including a two-year postseason ban that cost the Hurricanes a trip to the ACC Championship game and a bowl game last year.
The school, according to Shalala, was anticipating there might be some additional penalties. However, Shalala said that the school decided not to fight any of the lesser penalties the NCAA imposed on the school.
The self-imposed penalties helped lessen any potential penalties from the NCAA, according to the Committee on Infractions. The COI said it took the school’s self-imposed penalties into account when it was weighing how to penalize the school for the multiple rules infractions.
Part of what drove most Hurricanes fans crazy during the process was the length of the investigation and the length of time it took for the COI to finally issue a ruling against the school. Shalala echoed the COI’s feeling that the complexity of the case contributed to the lengthy wait.
“I think that that issue, how long it took, the behavior of the NCAA itself and some of its employees are subjects for the member organizations, including the University of Miami, because after all the NCAA is not some foreign country, that’s for all of us to address in the governance discussions that we’re currently having,” the UM president said. “I think a combination of speed, appropriate behavior, integrity; these issues will all be addressed in the discussions the presidents are having with the leadership of the NCAA and are currently having and have been having for the last year.”
Shalala told CBS4 that the school learned a lot from the charges and the investigation. The UM president said the school has “improved substantially” the compliance programs and that the school was changing the “culture of compliance across the university.”
“People have to be held accountable for their actions and have to understand that if you break a rule; you ought to report it immediately,” Shalala told CBS4. “The danger is if you don’t report it and try to cover it up. It’s always the cover-up.”
As of the long-term impact the Shapiro scandal might have on the university, Shalala hopes the school will move forward with a positive direction that benefits the institution and other school’s across the nation.
“I hope it will improve compliance both at the University of Miami and around the country,” Shalala said. “We learned some things here that everyone can learn. We learned we have to obey the rule. We may not like them. But we have to obey them. We have to have a culture of compliance where everyone takes responsibility for everyone else.”