The Duke lacrosse saga that began in 2006 is an ongoing reminder that quick conclusions can be the epitome of a dangerous leap in sports.
With that in mind, far be it from me to say without reservation that Miami’s athletics program is on the verge of virtual devastation.
But if the NCAA eventually determines that this week's allegations of outrageous behavior by the school and its athletes are accurate, the ACC will forever rue the day that the Hurricanes only a few years ago were the centerpiece of expansion.
The league’s $2 billion, 12-year or so television contract with ESPN may not be compromised or downsized, but the immediate and long-range impact on the league almost surely will be far reaching. And costly.
At a time when UNC’s football program is in the NCAA’s on-deck circle and various other conference programs have been sanctioned, the potential mushroom cloud in Miami will be as bad for business as imaging.
The whole idea of bringing aboard Miami in 2004 was to add a big-hitter football commodity for TV contractual purposes. After much inspection (supposedly), the ACC pronounced the long-troubled Hurricanes a healthy, rehabilitated program that long would be an asset on and off the field for the conference.
In reality, the football team has been average – 30-26 against so-so league rivals – and anything except can’t-miss TV.
The only plus of expansion has been Virginia Tech, the “regional school” no one in the ACC wanted when the process began.
Boston College will never be a fan factor in the ACC – or in the city of Boston for that matter.
So here we are – eight years later – and the ACC is facing the prospect of forever forking over big checks from the TV bounty to a Miami program that may not be worth its weight in horse feathers when the next TV contract has to be negotiated.