Don’t stand near Gregg Doyel! His soapbox is about to collapse under the weight of his own ignorance.

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By Vishnu Parasuraman (aka 2003alumgocanes) Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

Note:  This article responds to a column by CBS Sports’s Gregg Doyel, which can be found here.  I suggest you read that first.

Gregg Doyel is hopping mad, and it seems that something that is painfully obvious to him is not obvious to everyone else.  As Doyel puts it, “Obviously Miami deserves the death penalty for football.”

Obviously Gregg Doyel has no idea what he is talking about.  For starters, the only reason that Miami is death penalty eligible is because of the baseball team, which went on probation in 2003.  So, the statement is already off the mark (it’s pretty shocking how many people have no problem calling for the death penalty while simultaneously having no idea that there are actually criteria for the death penalty. Doyel is among them, obviously).  Not that Miami can’t get the death penalty for football, they can.  But, it can’t be that obvious when the football program needed the baseball program to open the door for them.

Doyel continues, “If every other accusation out of his mouth is true — heck, if every fourth accusation out of his mouth is true — I stand by my first sentence:

Obviously Miami deserves the death penalty for football.

Obviously.”

Obviously, Doyel is a professional sports writer that, a week after this story broke, has still not bothered to read the allegations.  In an ironic twist, Doyel’s emphasis on the word “fourth” isn’t emphasizing his point, but his own ignorance.  Almost all allegations against the University of Miami are getting into clubs, partying on a yacht, or attending parties at Shapiro’s home.  So, Doyel is now claiming that the death penalty is warranted for 18 cases of VIP club access, going out on a yacht, or attending a booster’s birthday party.  Obviously Doyel wouldn’t agree with that, obviously.

Oh, but he’s not done yet.  “This is SMU’s Pony Expre$$ plus Southern California/Reggie Bush multiplied by Ohio State and Jim Tressel. ”

Obviously, Doyel is conflating 3 entirely different situations.  Obviously.

  1. SMU is by far the worst cheating scandal in NCAA history.  You don’t want to take my word for it?  Ask Stewart Mandel, who writes, “Having said that, I would urge anyone who’s trying to presumptively compare the two cases to go back and do some research on what happened at SMU. (Easiest way: Rent the Pony Excess30 for 30 documentary.) There you had an orchestrated scheme in which boosters essentially established a payroll for SMU players with the involvement and approval of school board members. They did this for years, were placed on probation several times, were explicitly warned by the NCAA to stop the practice immediately, yet kept doing it. Clearly, that’s a more brazen disregard for rules on an institutional level than what’s been alleged to date at Miami.”  Obviously, a professional writer such as Gregg Doyel should know that.  Obviously.
  2. USC was one huge incident, versus a multitude of less egregious incidents.  Is one better than the other?  You decide, but they are in the same ball park (if all 72 allegations are true and proven.   What Miami is accused of is only major because of the number of athletes involved).
  3. How did Ohio State get lumped in here?  Their punishment was an insult to real cheaters everywhere.  5 game suspensions and a fired coach for some discounted tattoos, a few memorabilia sales, and a failure to forward an e-mail?  Obviously this was an over the top, harsh penalty for relatively minor indiscretions and in no way belongs in the list with the other 3.  Obviously.

Oh, but Gregg Doyel can’t pump the brakes on his ignorance.  “It’s player after player — 72 in all! — being plied with cash and prostitutes and more, much more.”

If Doyel bothered to read the entire Yahoo! story, he would know that a majority of the allegations are extremely minor.  Cash and prostitutes are by far the most egregious allegations and by far the rarest.  “More, much more” is actually getting into the VIP section of clubs.  Obviously, it sounds better to say “more, much more” than to actually say what the more is.  Obviously.

“Which means this is death-penalty territory.

Obviously.

But the NCAA won’t do it. Just you watch — it won’t happen. ”

He’s right.  The NCAA won’t do it.  But not for the reason he thinks.  Miami is important to the NCAA, no doubt.  But if there was ever a high profile school to give the ultimate penalty to, this is the school.  Miami has the brand name, but not the large alumni base with a traveling circus that accompanies most state schools.  With the NCAA’s new get tough policy, this would be the time to show they mean it.  Obviously, if the NCAA was going to give out the death penalty, they would do it now.  Obviously.

And just as obviously, they shouldn’t give Miami the death penalty.  The death penalty has only been employed one time in college football, and in that case, they had the same people repeatedly getting caught and repeatedly committing the same violations, with full knowledge and participation of the school.  That didn’t happen here.  The worst you could accuse Miami of is being willfully ignorant, which is something you would expect Doyel to sympathize with, given his own exhibition of that trait.  Obviously, without active participation by the school in a majority of the violations (a few coaches are allegedly involved in isolated incidents, no administrator is involved), the death penalty would seem draconian.  Obviously.

In fact, one of the strangest parts of this scandal is that absolutely no one is pointing the finger at former Head Coach Randy Shannon.  Not only is his involvement not being questioned, but reports are emerging (Canesport has done an excellent job covering this) that he actively worked to avoid violations from Shapiro and other boosters.  One writer went so far as to claim that scandal hit North Carolina needs to hire Randy Shannon to be their head coach and clean up their image.  That writer is Gregg Doyel.  Obviously, you think I made that up because it is too ridiculous to be true.  Obviously.

Except I didn’t make it up.  That’s right, we have a sports writer simultaneously calling for a program to get the death penalty while saying their former head coach who presided over much of the period in question should be hired as head coach somewhere else, to clean up that school’s image.  Obviously, those 2 things are mutually exclusive.  Obviously.

Let’s go to the source.  Dan Wetzel is one of the primary investigators for Yahoo! who broke the Miami scandal. He has knowledge of things that no one else does.  Things they couldn’t print.  And he says he “never said Miami will get Death Penalty (and don’t believe they should)”.

Maybe if Gregg Doyel would stop hyperventilating, he would have time to read the facts of the case, read the precedent and see that the death penalty obviously isn’t warranted here.  Obviously.

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