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Sports media: ESPN keeps criticizing Canes; May calls for death penalty

 Note to readers: This will be the place where you’ll find Barry Jackson’s buzz columns on Wednesdays and Sundays; a media column on Fridays; and a few additional posts each week.

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The Hurricanes continue to be unfairly pounded by the national media, with a few exceptions.
 First, Sports Illustrated’s Alexander Wolff implored UM to cancel its season – 16 years after he advocated the program’s elimination.

Not surprisingly, UM officials believe the death penalty is not going to happen. And it shouldn’t, because the football infractions all involved one rogue booster. (A former assistant equipment manager and a few former assistant coaches also must explain their alleged role or knowledge of one or more incidents.)

Meanwhile, ESPN’s Mark May and Lou Holtz cut the Canes no slack on a national conference call on Thursday.

Holtz said, “You have to come down hard on the school and the coach.” And May advocated for UM to get the death penalty if Nevin Shapiro’s allegations hold up.

 “USC only involved two players. We’re talking about over 70 players alleged to have accepted extra benefits,” May said. “If there was ever a situation that merited the death penalty, this would be it. That’s my opinion and I stick to it.  What does it take to get the death penalty now? One hundred players? 125. It’s a culture of corruption. If it’s not going to happen with this program, then what would it take?”...

      “This university wasn’t run the correct way. We all know that… Miami is very accountable for this. When you’ve got the athletic director, the coach around this booster, you can’t tell me you don’t smell something. No one stood up and said anything. If you come from a poor background, it’s hard to turn that away [though] they should be held accountable…. But if you’re an adult and taking the money the booster is throwing out there and not asking questions when he’s hanging around 18 or 19 years olds,…”

Note to May: There is no indication that UM’s athletic directors knew what Shapiro was doing. And former coach Randy Shannon rebuffed Shapiro’s overtures.

But May said the death penalty “is not going to happen because the bottom line is dollars.”  

Holtz said NCAA rules should be changed so that student-athletes who accept inducements that result in penalties for their schools should be required to repay their entire scholarships. “The minute we start making everyone accountable, we can solve the problem,” Holtz said.

May said, “I feel sick for Al Golden. This was a coach that got blindsided.”

 ### Before Yahoo! gave a forum to Shapiro’s allegations, two networks apparently passed on the story.
Shapiro met several times with ESPN’s Kelly Naqi, but their 10 hours of conversations were off the record, and ESPN decided not to pursue it. Shapiro has said he met with HBO’s Real Sports, which a network spokesperson could not immediately confirm.

 ### Some background on our coverage: Because the story was deemed newsworthy, the Miami Herald reported last August that Shapiro was threatening to write a book alleging his involvement in NCAA rules violations at UM. But when Shapiro last fall gave The Herald specific allegations against two players (Randy Phillips and Antrel Rolle), The Herald did not report it because there was no corroboration to justify impugning two players by name.

Shapiro said he could offer only pictures of himself with the players, which did not prove NCAA violations.

Shapiro offered allegations against only the two players in his discussions with the Herald last fall because he said he was saving the rest for his book. Because The Herald did not immediately report those two unconfirmed allegations as he would have liked, Shapiro instead eventually decided to work with Yahoo!

He ultimately gave Yahoo! allegations against 72 players, earlier this year, when a book deal did not quickly materialize.

Because Shapiro reported the allegations directly to the NCAA in March, it’s safe to assume UM would have been punished regardless of whether anything had been reported by local or national media. Keep in mind that the NCAA did not begin investigating UM until Shapiro contacted the NCAA directly. And UM was not informed of the investigation until this summer.

### Former Canes quarterback Ken Dorsey left his job at WQAM-560 before he even started, but with good reason: The Carolina Panthers hired him as an NFL scout. WQAM added former Canes offensive Joaquin Gonzalez to replace him.

### Former Gators coach Urban Meyer will have the same role that Bob Griese previously held at ESPN: co-analyst on noon Saturday games, alongside Dave Pasch and Chris Spielman. Griese left ESPN after last season but will join the Dolphins radio booth beginning Sept. 12.

### Respected college football writer Bruce Feldman, who was briefly removed from ESPN platforms earlier this summer for his role in Mike Leach’s new book, left the network this week to join CBS and CBSsports.com.

### The Marlins gave Rich Waltz permission to miss six games to announce a syndicated Atlantic Coast Conference football package. Tommy Hutton will move to play-by-play for three of those games – including Friday and Saturday against Philadelphia – with Jeff Conine handling analyst duties. Hutton did some play-by-play for ESPN more than a decade ago. Frank Forte will handle play-by-play on the other three games.

### The NFL is exploring plans to add a Thursday night package over the first eight weeks of the season… NBC announced that it will make available live coverage of all events from the 2012 London Summer Olympics, though some will air live only on the Internet.