MIAMI (CBS4) – University of Miami students and Hurricanes fans are breathing a collective sigh of relief after learning the NCAA penalties announced Tuesday amounted to a slap on the wrist.
More than two years after the initial report from Yahoo! Sports detailed numerous allegations against the University of Miami from convicted criminal Nevin Shapiro the school can finally start to move on.
“Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, free at last” paraphrased UM student Jeffrey Sznapstajler.
Tuesday, the Canes were hit with a total 12 scholarship losses, three years of probation and several former coaches were hit with show-cause penalties and suspensions.
“I think it could have been a lot worse,” sophomore Ben Kleinman said. “Actually quite satisfied with the sanctions we have.”
The news of the sanctions spread quickly across campus. While the university may have lost scholarships, they averted another bowl ban.
“In class one person got a text from Bleacher Report on their phone and as soon as he found out he started saying things out loud and everyone gathered around his phone, everyone was pretty excited about it,” said UM student Jeremy White.
While many students said they had hoped for the best before the penalties were announced, they feared harsher sanctions.
For some, the end of the 4-year investigation marks the start of a new era.
“This is my first time going to class not having an NCAA investigation against my school, so it’s quite nice,” Seth Furman said Tuesday night.
Students say they believe the university’s self-imposed punishment over the last two years played a role in the NCAA decision not to ban the team from another bowl.
“It’s exciting that we avoided the bowl ban, that’s definitely exciting but were sad to get sanctioned regardless. It’s obviously not happy but it definitely could have been worse,” said student
“They should have taken care of it two years ago when it first came down. It’s not fair for the students and for kids being recruited here. It’s really tough,” said UM alum Bill Bown.
Ranked 7th in the BCS standings, fans say the ‘Canes now have nothing holding them back.
“I know this is really going to motivate the team this week especially against Wake Forest and next week against Florida State, it’s great,” said Sznapstajler.
While the sanctions were the topic of campus chatter Tuesday, some students admit they they didn’t know much about the investigation.
“What happened? What sanctions?” Kelsey Flitter asked. “I think people frequently forget that the university has more to offer than just our sports program.”
But with Miami undefeated so far this season, the students can’t be faulted for focusing on football.
“We’re doing so great this year. It would have killed the mood. A lot of relief,” Kleinman said.
Students agree with the university which said it didn’t plan to appeal the penalties. They just want this over with so the ‘Canes and the university can move on.