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Miami set to learn fate from NCAA

Image: Miami Hurricanes helmet (Kim Klement, USA Today Sports)
Miami will learn its fate from the NCAA on Tuesday.
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP)

Decision day has finally arrived for Miami.

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The NCAA will unveil the findings of its long investigation into Miami athletics and release any proposed sanctions on Tuesday, about 2 years after the probe began and more than eight months after saying the Hurricanes did not "exercise institutional control" over former booster and convicted felon Nevin Shapiro's interactions with the football and men's basketball programs.

The report will be released at 10 a.m. EDT, the NCAA said. If the case follows typical protocols, the Hurricanes will not receive their copy of the decision until Tuesday morning, shortly before the public release.

"We don't really concern ourselves with things that we can't control, such as the investigation and what people are saying," Miami running back Duke Johnson said Monday.

Miami is off to a 6-0 start, and the school's No. 7 ranking matches its highest since 2005. The school met with the infractions committee in June, leaving those two days in Indianapolis hoping a decision would come within eight weeks.

It wound up taking more than 18 weeks. The decision will answer whether the football program, by sitting out two bowl games, last season's Atlantic Coast Conference title game and making reductions in recruiting, has already paid enough of a price for the wrongdoing.

"Hopefully they just take a few scholarships off," said Miami Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon, who sat out six games of the 2011 season for his involvement with Shapiro as a member of the Hurricanes. "The school has done so much already to avoid a harsh penalty by punishing themselves, so hopefully it's not too bad."

Shapiro alleged that he spent millions between 2002 and 2010 on football and men's basketball recruits, athletes and coaches. A study of the allegations by The Associated Press found the NCAA was able to identify about $173,330 in extra benefits -- more than half of that, investigators said, going to former Hurricane players Vince Wilfork and Antrel Rolle.

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Still, the institutional control charge is considered the worst that the NCAA can bring against a member school.

The report will end another chapter in the saga, though if more sanctions against Miami are recommended, the process almost certainly doesn't end Tuesday. The Hurricanes have said they will not stand for major penalties beyond ones they have already self-imposed, and have the right to appeal.

As part of this process, according to documents reviewed by AP, the NCAA asked the Hurricanes to provide things including how many scholarships they are using in football and men's basketball this academic year, how many they plan to issue in those sports next year, details of all postseason play in the last four years, and a review of all games that the school expects to play on television in the next three years.

"We believe strongly in the principles and values of fairness and due process," university President Donna Shalala said Feb. 18, one day before the school received its allegations. "However, we have been wronged in this investigation, and we believe that this process must come to a swift resolution, which includes no additional punitive measures beyond those already self-imposed."

The saga has had countless twists, even NCAA wrongdoing.

Shapiro's allegations first started coming to light in 2010, about four months after he was charged by federal authorities with bilking investors of nearly $1 billion. The NCAA's investigation of Miami started in 2011. Some of the NCAA's would-be accusations were erased early this year, when it was found that investigators improperly cooperated with Shapiro's attorney and gleaned some of their information wrongly from her.

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NCAA President Mark Emmert acknowledged that investigators made a major mistake there, calling the moves "missteps." And when the NCAA's alliance with Shapiro attorney Maria Elena Perez -- a Miami graduate -- became public, the Hurricanes went on the offensive, with Shalala saying it proved the school was not treated fairly.

Tuesday's decision should also include what penalties several former Miami coaches, including current Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith, may face for alleged rule-breaking during their interactions with Shapiro, who is serving a 20-year sentence in federal prison for masterminding the Ponzi scheme.

Shapiro has said he went public with the accusations against Miami because he felt that members of the athletic department did not offer him enough support when his legal woes began.

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