UM Declares Harris, Spence Ineligible: Sources

8 Hurricanes declared ineligible by the University of Miami

By Janie Campbell
|  Friday, Aug 26, 2011  |  Updated 9:06 AM EDT
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Senior quarterback Jacory Harris and linebacker Sean Spence have been declared ineligible by the University of Miami, sources tell NBCMiami.

Six other football players have also been declared ineligible according to the Miami Herald, but don't panic yet, Canes fans: it's largely a paperwork move designed to prod the NCAA into ruling on reinstatement, and no player has been ruled ineligible by the NCAA.

All are among 15 current student-athletes being investigated in light of allegations of improper benefits by former booster and convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro.

The designation does indicate the school's internal investigators believe the players have committed NCAA violations through contact with Shapiro, though it does not indicate the severity of those violations.

Declaring the players ineligible prompts the NCAA to start reviewing each player's case individually, ideally with enough time to get an official ruling on the players' eligibility before the season opener at Maryland on September 5.

It's unthinkable that the players in question would hit the field without an eligibility review, as the football program would face further sanctions if they were later found to be ineligible.

On the bright side, other current student-athletes who are no longer at UM but are named in the allegations have been cleared -- or were at least allowed to "retain" eligibility -- by the NCAA.

But even that may not indicate what the NCAA's ruling may be: reports suggest Purdue quarterback Robert Marve, Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown, and other cleared former players and recruits may have been offered immunity in exchange for information.

At least four other players being investigated were not named ineligible, according to the Herald, because the school believes any impermissible benefit received through contact with Shapiro would add up to less than $100 -- an amount the NCAA generally allows to be paid back or worked off through charity efforts.

Yahoo! Sports' Charles Robinson, who broke the sensational details of the allegations after 100 hours of interviews with Shapiro, said Thursday night that sources have told him several active players have already been granted limited immunity in the NCAA's investigation -- and that the eight players declared ineligible are those cited as having taken benefits in excess of $100.

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