Nationals

AP Sources: NCAA reviews allegations against Miami

AP Sources: NCAA reviews allegations against Miami

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) The nearly 2-year-old NCAA investigation into Miami's compliance practices may be nearing an end.

Two people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Saturday that the NCAA is scheduling meetings to discuss specific allegations with individuals who are believed to have committed violations found during the inquiry. Some meetings will take place Monday, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because neither the NCAA nor Miami authorized them to reveal the developments publicly.

The reviewing of specific findings is a sign that the investigation phase is ending, meaning Miami may finally receive its notice of allegations letter in the coming days. Typically, schools review at least one draft of the notice before it formally arrives.

The NCAA does not comment on ongoing investigations. Miami's statement throughout the investigation has been that it is cooperating and not commenting further.

Earlier this month, Miami coach Al Golden told the AP that he did not expect the university to be surprised by the NCAA's findings.

``We just want to receive the notice,'' Golden said. ``The day we do that is the day we take a big step forward. I don't think there's any question that will be a release. And the good thing there is we don't anticipate any shock or any surprise.''

Miami's receipt of the notice of allegations is simply the end of one phase of the process.

Up next would be the sanctions phase, when the actual penalties against the Hurricanes would be handed down. Typically, schools and individuals named in the notice of allegations have 90 days to file a response to the NCAA's findings, all of which would be reviewed by the committee on infractions - which operates separately from the NCAA's investigative arm.

If the notice of allegations is, in fact, looming, that means Miami may find out its punishment by perhaps May or June.

Some of the sanctions have already gone into effect, since they were self-imposed. Miami's football team has missed three postseason games - two bowl games and what would have been an appearance in this season's Atlantic Coast Conference championship game - in response to the investigation, and Golden is holding back a number of scholarships from the 2013 roster as well.

The Miami investigation may go down as one of the most complex in the NCAA's history.

For starters, the principal whistleblower is Nevin Shapiro, a former booster who's serving a 20-year sentence in federal prison for masterminding a $930 million Ponzi scheme. Virtually all of the individuals who were named by Shapiro in his detailed claims that were published by Yahoo Sports in August 2011 are no longer at the university, and several of the people to whom the NCAA wanted to talk simply refused during the inquiry.

The NCAA inquiry started several months before that August 2011 article.

Shapiro's tales were wild and sordid, with claims of him giving dozens of coaches, players and recruits things like cash, memorabilia, strip-club outings, yacht rides and even paying for prostitutes. In an interview in 2011 with Miami CBS affiliate WFOR, Shapiro predicted that his claims would lead to Miami's football program getting the ``death penalty'' - the sanction where the NCAA would basically shut down the program.

Most of Shapiro's claims involved the football program, though others also involved the Hurricanes' men's basketball team.

Quick Links

Nationals’ ridiculous three-game scoring pace unmatched in more than 20 years

Nationals’ ridiculous three-game scoring pace unmatched in more than 20 years

The Washington Nationals are on fire right now. Almost literally, as they have been ripping the baseball and breaking records as of late. 

On Monday they scored 13 runs against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a dominant shutout. Those 13 runs, paired with 16 runs scored against Milwaukee on Sunday and 14 on Saturday seem like a lot in a short period of time.

That's because they are. In fact, those 43 runs scored in a three-game stretch is a new franchise record for the club. 

That scoring pace is also the first time since 1996 that a National League team has scored 13 runs or more in three straight games.

A potency of runs is not just limited to the past three games. Over the past five games (two vs. Milwaukee on Thursday and 17 against the Reds on Wednesday), the club has scored 62 runs.

Sixty-two runs. That's 12.4 runs a game.

Also, it's a franchise record and the most in the MLB during such a span since the 2007 Yankees. 

If the Nats keep scoring runs at this unprecedented pace there will be no one able to stop them as they march to the postseason. 

MORE NATIONALS NEWS:

Quick Links

Joe Ross had a strong argument to remain in rotation before leg injury

Joe Ross had a strong argument to remain in rotation before leg injury

First the news: Joe Ross exited Monday’s start with one out in the fourth inning after a comebacker hit his right leg. Ross didn’t take any practice pitches before leaving. His conversation with Davey Martinez and trainer Paul Lessard was enough to get him off the field. 

The ball was hit 110 mph at Ross. The hardest of the night. It clanged off his leg before he threw to first. It’s also terrible timing and the only thing that has slowed him in August.

Why bad timing? Because either he or Erick Fedde is coming out of the rotation Thursday when Max Scherzer is activated. Ross has a clear case he should stay. Now, he’s hurt. To what extent is unclear. X-rays were negative, according to reports out of Pittsburgh. 

But, his August has been dominant. Not good. Or decent. Dominant. He’s thrown 21 ⅓ innings and allowed one earned run. That’s a 0.42 ERA. Monday, he was on his way to a fourth consecutive win while operating with an 11-0 lead.

The Nationals eventually won, 13-0. They have seven of eight, are five games out of first place and 12 games over .500.

What’s different for Ross? Multiple things. Ross is bringing his knee higher before delivering his pitches. He’s also altered his usage. In the three previous August starts, Ross threw 50% sinkers. The average velocity of those sinkers was 94 mph.

This is why Ross appeared to be a possible bullpen weapon. It’s an interesting arm for a manager to deploy, especially with runners on base. However, that failed, as did most of his post-Tommy John surgery starts.

Then August arrived. 

Fedde has pitched well, too. His three August starts led to a 3.18 ERA. Though, his strikeout-to-walk ratio hints he hasn’t been in command of those innings. His WHIP is also 1.53. Ross’ WHIP coming into Monday was 1.00. It hints at two things: who has the higher ceiling and who is on the better run.

Both have been crucial without Scherzer, who is finally locked in to pitch for the first time since July 25. Scherzer has made two starts since July 6. Yet, the Nationals are 23-14 in that span. He’s back on the mound Thursday in Pittsburgh.

Who shows up in Chicago is now the question. Ross was in line to start Saturday. Aníbal Sánchez - bumped to Friday by Scherzer’s return - is in a spot to open the series. Stephen Strasburg is set to close the series. 

Ross deserved the chance to keep going, a move which would likely flip Fedde into the bullpen and a veteran reliever -- possibly Javy Guerra, again -- out of it. Now it’s up to his leg cooperating by the weekend.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: