Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Palm Beach Post: Bama assistant likely to skate on Miami NCAA case

Report: NCAA to charge 2 ex-UM football assistants with unethical conduct
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Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

While Hurtt and Hill could be facing harsh NCAA sanctions, a UM source said Tuesday that former Hurricanes' offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland may avoid tough penalties because of his cooperation with the NCAA in the Shapiro case. Shapiro, a former UM booster and a convicted Ponzi schemer serving 20 years in a federal prison, implicated Hurtt, Hill, Stoutland and other UM coaches in recruiting violations. Stoutland is now the offensive line coach at Alabama.
Read the full story here.

This is good news for Stoutland, who has done an outstanding job of building one of the best offensive lines Alabama has ever put on the field. But conspicuously absent in this report is mention of Joe Pannunzio, who was also on that Miami Hurricanes staff and who was also implicated in the exhaustive report on Yahoo! Sports last summer.

Shapiro never named Pannunzio in his interviews with Charles Robinson et al.

Both Stoutland and Pannunzio were allegedly involved in an incident of improper recruiting contact between Shapiro and prospect Matt Patchan. Patchan and his family were allegedly given a tour of Shapiro's home and heard a recruiting pitch from the booster during the incident.

As Director of Football Operations at Alabama, Pannunzio has no on-field coaching responsibilities and therefore cannot recruit off-campus. It's difficult to guess what--if any--penalties the NCAA might hand to Pannunzio, should the investigation conclude that violations occurred and Pannunzio was less than forthright in addressing the issues during the enforcement probe.

While improper contact is considered a major violation, this appears to be a single incident and since the player never signed with Miami (signing with Florida instead), there was no competitive advantage gained.

Prediction: Both Stoutland and Pannunzio escape major sanctions.