The scandal involving University of Miami athletes who reportedly accepted gifts from boosters continues to unfold, with possible sanctions on the horizon. It’s quite possibly the “most egregious, widespread and long-lasting disregard for NCAA rules and regulations ever.”

NCAA president Mark Emmert is floating the idea — though he didn’t speak directly about Miami — of imposing the so-called ‘death penalty’ on the most blatant offenders. The death penalty means a school cannot compete in a specific sport for at least one year. Southern Methodist University became the first college football program to get the death penalty when it served a two-year ban during the 1980s. Miami could become the second.

It could be the best course of action for the NCAA to pursue as a punishment for such severe offenses. But that seems unlikely because the NCAA needs Miami to keep the ACC competitive. There’s also a general sense that the system is what’s really broken. Punishing Miami might not stop anyone from accepting gifts. After all, when SMU was banished, did that really stop the next guy?

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