INDIANAPOLIS -- After nearly three years of being chased around by Nevin Shapiro's web of allegations, there's only one more lap to go for the University of Miami's football and men's basketball programs.
Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m., the doors to the second-floor conference room in the back of the Westin Hotel -- hosting the NCAA's infraction committee hearings with UM -- swung open and football coach Al Golden was the first person out the door.
Are you guys done?
"Yes," Golden fired back as he raced toward the exits with a face of determination and luggage in hand.
Full Speed Ahead!
Well, not exactly. One lap remains after 16 1/2 hours of intense hearings: the decision on penalties from the eight-person panel headed by Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky, which will take at least six weeks or longer to be announced.
CBS Sports.com college football analyst Dennis Dodd, who arrived into town Friday, covered the USC hearings back in February 2010. He said those lasted three days. Should we make anything out of the fact these proceedings for UM went by faster?
Nobody really knows. The good news, though, is that this will all be in Miami's rear-view-mirror soon.
"I don't think there's any exact time frame that the committee has [to reach a decision], but we certainly hope we would be done prior to the beginning of the football season," said Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford, who attended both days of the hearings in support of Miami and was the only person to speak.
"It's been an extraordinarily long investigation. I've said it before: I think the sheer length of the investigation has been a penalty in itself."
A source said Friday it was not a pleasant experience for the parties on trial.
Another source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, described it as “a very humbling experience."
"It was an intense process that covered a lot of material," said the source. "It didn't include any surprises, just all of the same stuff we've talked about for months and months and months."
Despite admitted mistakes by the NCAA enforcement staff that led to 20 percent of the case being tossed out by an external review committee (nearly all of those were football charges pertaining to Kyle Wright and former assistant equipment manager Sean Pee "Wee" Allen according to a source), the infractions committee went hard on the other 80 percent of the case.
Because of the amount of leaks involved in the case and high volume of news reports that have come out about it, a source said everyone allowed into the hearings not only had to wear a special blue wrist band to get through the doors but also had to sign an agreement they wouldn’t discuss the case or face severe consequences.
UM hasn't and probably won't come until an announcement of penalties is made by the NCAA. If they are over the top or worse than Miami expects, I've been told Miami will likely appeal the decision.