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by Larry LeoAugust 28, 2011
The University of Miami has been permanently rocked the last few weeks with a scandal that will haunt them for a while. Miami President Donna Shalala wrote a letter that was published in the The Miami Herald's Sunday edition...
These past two weeks have been quite painful for me, as they have been for anyone who loves the University of Miami.
I am deeply troubled by questions that have been raised about some current and former members of our athletics community.
It is way too early to know all of the details — and the NCAA is taking the lead in our joint investigation — but the allegations alone cause serious concerns.
Here’s my commitment: I will do, and we will do, everything possible to find the truth, learn from any mistakes and take measures to prevent any such behavior from happening again.
Investigations are, of course, about fact-finding and a systematic search for the truth. We have committed to the NCAA every possible resource to get to the bottom of all this. We promised the NCAA we would not comment on any specifics until the investigation runs its course. We continue to honor that commitment.
The review of the eligibility of current student-athletes who are alleged to have violated NCAA rules, including any disciplinary action to be taken, is awaiting an NCAA decision. How long the rest of the investigation might take, we simply don’t know.
We will use the joint investigation to identify any weaknesses in our compliance efforts and implement all necessary changes. Our new athletics director, Shawn Eichorst, already is reviewing our policies and procedures.
Our promise is to pursue this investigation wherever it leads us. I reemphasize what I said last week: Every one of our employees and student-athletes has been urged to cooperate fully and honestly with the NCAA. If we do all this right — and we will — we will take the necessary actions to make sure we have the most compliant program possible. If we do this right — and we will — we will move on stronger and be better prepared for the future.
I deeply appreciate the leadership and dedication of so many of our coaches, administrators and student athletes. Over the past decade, we have made enormous progress in the academic achievements of our athletes, rising from a 43 percent graduation rate to 76 percent. Nationally, the academic achievements of our student-athletes are mentioned in the same breath and spirit as Notre Dame and Stanford. Our new football coach, Al Golden, brings not only football smarts, but is also a proven builder of young men. So is our new men’s basketball coach, Jim Larranaga.
While athletics at UM has been in recent headlines, do not forget that we are, first and foremost, an academic institution. The most recent U.S. News & World Report listings rank UM among the top 50 in the country. Our health system is now among the leading medical centers in the world. The University of Miami Life Science & Technology Park, under construction on the eastern edge of the medical campus, will bring new jobs in biotechnology and related fields that can help transform the South Florida economy.
I believe more than ever in the future of this growing and great university. I am proud of the support we receive from so many of you, and we will continue to earn and deserve that support.
You can count on all my energy and fullest commitment to upholding the ideals of our great university.
Donna Shalala, president, University of Miami, Miami
Filed Under: General Sports
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