Miami Hurricanes fans have to feel pretty good about the results of the NCAA's investigation into the Nevin Shapiro scandal. A delayed sense of relief after the NCAA took many months to release the findings, but relief nonetheless.
Miami will face a combined reduction of nine scholarships over the next three seasons. The NCAA does not specify exactly how those scholarship losses must be broken down, which could be an oversight in the release, or a detail intentionally left out to allow Miami to choose how to distribute the losses. It does not appear that the losses impact the number of players Miami can bring in per class, either, which is a relief.
Update: According to the NCAA's release, Miami can assign its nine lost scholarships to any years it chooses over the next three. Miami has flexibility.
For those who do not deal with NCAA issues regularly, an example may be instructive.
Let's say that the scholarship losses are distributed evenly over each of the next three seasons, meaning that Miami could carry 82 instead of the normal 85 scholarship players.
That's almost no penalty at all. Miami is actually playing with 76 scholarship players this year, according to the Miami Herald. Miami is not unique in playing under the limit. In-state rival Florida State is playing at 77 players this year. Combined losses on the field of those two teams in 2013: zero.
That might surprise you, but there are a number of reasons why a school would play at less than the 85 limit. In fact, it's the norm. Most schools not named Alabama will not sign every possible recruit for which they were saving space. When that happens, the space saved typically turns into an unfilled scholarship.
And after spring, most schools typically lose a player or two to transfers, when those positions realize their positions on the depth chart following spring practice are not one likely to result in playing time come fall.
Miami football is recruiting very well right now, and is a strong favorite to land a top-10 class in 2013. These sanctions should not impact recruiting in any material way.