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NCAA hands out suspensions to 12 Miami football players

by Derrick Johnson on August 31, 2011

Weeks after it was revealed that athletes from the University of Miami have been receiving illegal benefits for the better part of the last decade, the NCAA has taken action against some current players. ESPN.com reports that 12 members of the football team have been punished, and eight will miss at least one game of the upcoming season.

The most severe penalty was given to Olivier Vernon, who will have to miss six games. Ray Ray Vaughn, who is considered to be among the best safeties in the country, will have to sit four, while starting quarterback Jacory Harris will have to serve a one game suspension and also pay restitution for accepting the illegal benefits.

The penalties are somewhat less than what many had originally anticipated given the scandalous Yahoo! Sports story that broke the news, as only Vernon will have to miss any Atlantic Coast Conference games.

"Clearly, whatever transpired, it wasn't as over-the-top as everybody was initially reporting and all of those things," head coach Al Golden told reporters. "The NCAA and the university felt there was mistakes made … and I've accepted that. And now we're moving forward."

The future of the Miami football program is still up in the air, however. While the punishment of current players is over, there is still the issue of whether or not the school will be penalized for the revelation of its long history of violations.

Specifically, the Yahoo! Sports story talked to a former booster named Nevin Shapiro, who is currently serving a prison sentence for being part of a Ponzi scheme. Shaprio revealed that he had given gifts and other benefits to 72 Hurricanes players as far back as 2002. Some of the gifts ranged from just cash to providing the players with prostitutes, entertainment and VIP access to clubs and restaurants.

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