Quite a few college football fans are throwing around the word "death penalty." That's what some expect the NCAA to hand down to the University of Miami after a Yahoo Sports investigation outlined extensive alleged violations committed in connection with a disgruntled booster.
The death penalty, which hasn't been given since Southern Methodist suffered the fate in 1987 and 1988, can involve banning a sport from competition for a season or more, eliminating home games, limiting scholarships and coaching positions and severely restricting recruiting rights. It made SMU go away as a national football power; it could do the same to the Hurricanes.
As Michael Rosenberg outlined on SI.com, however, it's unlikely the NCAA would crack down hard on Miami because Miami brings in money for the NCAA. If fans buy tickets or tune in to games to watch a dirty program, the NCAA would be shooting itself in the foot by banning Miami from competition or cutting back on its TV broadcasts.
Delivering a harsh punishment to Miami would therefore be a strong statement by the NCAA. The governing body would be declaring that keeping its sport clean is more important than money. Then again, considering scandals at Oregon, Ohio State, USC, North Carolina and elsewhere, "clean" is a relative term in college sports.