Tag Archives: NCAA

I Have a Right to Be Upset

I have bled orange and green for the last thirteen years, since I saw Ken Dorsey rally his teammates vs. Boston College back in 2001.  This is the moment when I came out of the Trojan horse and became a Miami Hurricane.  I was a student there, a graduate student, and worked for the football program for nine years.  That is why this is so painful to write.

Since the “Robbery in the Desert” back in 2002, I have watched the slow demise of the football program I love.  There have been rotating coaches and a lack of commitment to the football program that put the University on the map.  Last night’s loss to a crummy Virginia team is the last straw for me.  I just have to stop caring.

The University, in an effort to “clean up” its image has essentially divorced itself from its history.  You can hope for a better future without denying the past.  Get over playing the PR game.  Embrace the us vs. the world mentality that made The U so successful in the past.  It is sickening that everybody is copying Miami’s brand of football, but we are acting like a neutered BIG-10 program.  What you have is an administration that doesn’t understand what made Miami special.  I value my degree, but I didn’t apply to The U to watch us in nail-biters vs. Duke and celebrate that win like it’s a huge achievement (#smoked – are you kidding me?).  Everything is going to be okay though because we have new uniforms (they’re stupid looking) and use hashtags for everything (#renewed – ugh!).  At least we’re winning in PR!

I have grown tired of watching the same 6-6, 7-6 (9-4 in 2013 vs. historically weak schedule including a loss to Duke – stop calling it “improvement”) effort for the past seven seasons.  The losses of recent memory weren’t just bad; they were humiliating.  Why can Duke, UCLA, and Arizona State seem to do more with so much less talent?  Only so much of this can be chalked up to the recent NCAA investigation.   Heck, USC lost thirty scholarships, and you don’t hear them whining about their sanctions.  The talent is there at Miami, maybe not to win a national title right now but at least to BEAT A LOWLY VIRGINIA TEAM!  It’s sad that we are measuring improvement as “almost beating Florida State.”

Out of respect for my past position, I will never call anyone out by name, but as an alum, I do have a right to be upset.  As an alum, my commitment to the University will outlast any coach, AD, or university president.  I don’t even know who to blame, but the lack of improvement is disturbing.

We have a saying down in Miami that “The U Invented Swagger” – I even have a t-shirt claiming the same thing.  True, they invented it, but recently they have relinquished it to the likes of Louisville.

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Egg on Their Face…Again

The bowl ban against the Penn State football program was lifted this past Monday to the joy of some and the dismay of others.  While Jerry Sandusky’s crimes were the most atrocious in college football history, the NCAA should have kept its nose out of the entire thing.  While I’m no lawyer, the Penn State case was a criminal one over which the NCAA should have no jurisdiction.

What is the role of the NCAA?  I always thought it was to protect amateurism and keep things fair in athletic competition.  By inserting itself in the Penn State case, the NCAA has said that Miami’s boats and hoes, Reggie Bush, and academic misconduct at UNC are worse than child abuse, the ultimate crime.  Miami was in NCAA purgatory for three years over dink and dunk charges.  USC made major compliance changes and their AD appealed the loss of thirty scholarships.  All this over ONE player and the worst violations were in men’s basketball!  But, the NCAA dismissed Pat Haden and told him to suck it up (main because the previous AD, Mike Garret dared to stand up to the NCAA.  I say good for him).  All the NCAA had to do was keep out of the Penn State scandal, and they would not be receiving the criticism they are today.  Side note:  I also like how they released the Penn State news the same day the NFL got egg on its face for its handling of the Ray Rice situation.

Now, some want the NCAA to come down on Famous Jameis, but they won’t because it is a criminal/civil case (and the Tallahassee Police Department has show itself to be so transparent).  I guess things have changes since the Penn State scandal in 2011.  And Jameis is good for college football right now.  Prior to Jameis, Johnny Football and Cam Newton were quickly exonerated in scandals that affected their amateurism (which is what the NCAA is supposed to patrol).  In the case of Johnny (one-half suspension, BFD), he admitted it with his subsequent behavior (see below).

johnny I guess the point of this is why are some more equal than others?

 

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A Tale of Two Coaches

This is the tale of two coaches.  This one: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/news/20140108/bobby-petrino-louisville-jurich-win-now/ and this one: http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/bruce-feldman/24372078/despite-being-cleared-in-unc-scandal-davis-still-waiting-for-next-gig

The first one was the head coach at the University of Arkansas (more recently Western Kentucky) and is an excellent coach.  This post isn’t really about him.  Coach Petrino was taken down by a motorcycle crash that included a young football office employee with whom he was having an affair.  It was revealed that he gave this young woman a $20,000 cash gift and that she received preferential treatment in the hiring process.  All this happened in the spring of 2012.  In 2013, Petrino was hired by Western Kentucky in his coaching comeback.  Last week, it was announced he would be the new head coach at Louisville, where he had previously been head coach from 2003-2006 (so much for loyalty to WKU).

Bruce Feldman tweeted “Save it with the talk abt how this is a “second chance” for Bobby Petrino.  His rep as a world class creep came from yrs of bad behavior.”  I guess that includes him bailing on the Atlanta Falcons thirteen games into he season to coach Arkansas.  Regardless, I believe in “second chances,” and it would be wonderful to see Petrino as a changed man.  “Hate the sin, not the sinner,” the say.  The one thing I don’t understand is why the second coach, Butch Davis, has gotten no such “second chance” (he really hasn’t done much wrong).

Coach Davis was the mastermind behind the greatest assembly of talent of ALL TIME, the Miami Hurricanes of the early 2000s.  He was the coach there from 1995-2000 and resurrected the Hurricanes from some of the worst sanctions in NCAA history.  The talent he recruited won two national championships (and should have played for a third) and held modern college football’s longest winning streak.  His quarterback, the one that was too skinny and not gifted enough for everybody else, went 39-1 as a starter (had to get my Dorsey plug in).  The majority of the Miami talent you see in the NFL today was his doing.  He left a bad taste in Miami fans’ mouths when he left for the NFL, but it turns out the whole issue was about a buyout clause.

After a failed NFL gig, Coach Davis landed on his feet at UNC.  The NFL talent he recruited to Carolina was unprecedented.  They were probably two seasons away from making a BCS bowl and were becoming regular contenders in the ACC.  Then, Coach Davis was fired in the summer of 2011.  There was an NCAA scandal involving improper benefits provided to UNC players by and agent via a rogue coach.  Then, there was a second investigation involving a tutor and academic misconduct.  This could have been really bad, however, Davis was cleared of any wrongdoing.  After the investigation, it would be shown that this was a widespread problem at UNC, not a football-specific issue.  I find Bruce Feldman to be very credible, and it sound like Davis had worked through these issues with the administration at UNC and was blindsided by the firing.

“There have been guys that get re-hired, who have had affairs,” Davis said to Feldman.  “Guys get re-hired that have trouble with kids and the NCAA.  Guys have gotten in trouble for being drunk, but the minute you say academics and football coach, it’s like you have leprosy.  People are terrified that I had anything to do with it, but I didn’t.  The NCAA even said as much, and I have a letter from the NCAA saying that.”

The aforementioned letter says, “This is to confirm that former University of North Carolina head football coach Paul “Butch” Davis was not alleged to have been involved in any violations of NCAA legislation in the University of North Carolina Case.” Three football seasons have passed, and Davis is still sitting on the sidelines (he was a special assistant in Tampa Bay but it sounds like he would have preferred to coach).  Davis wasn’t even given the NCAA’s dreaded show-cause penalty.  I honestly don’t understand how universities are looking past this talented, proven coach (probably for cheap!) but are willing to look past major character flaws in other coaches.  Heck, the assistant coach in the recent Miami scandal (who has a show-cause penalty) is still employed by Louisville.  Just this week, the new regime at Louisville told a commit that they were no longer honoring his commitment for no apparent reason (you don’t screw with kids, in my opinion).  I guess having your name mentioned in an academic scandal is worse than having a history of poor decision-making and unethical behavior…at least at Louisville.

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Calm the Hell Down

As much as it pains me to say it, Florida State has a really good football team this year.  They are a couple years ahead in their development plus they have a freak for a QB.

As crushing as Saturday night’s loss was for Miami fans, the reaction afterwards was really disheartening.  I could not believe the negative comments, and the people who have chosen to give up on the team based on this game.

Despite the loss, there is so much to be excited about.  I don’t think the 7-0 start was expected.  We weren’t expected to beat the Gators, but we did!  The major building block for this year is that we are winning the games we should win (I know we should beat FSU, too, but it was still a challenge even back in the good old days).  The point is, we are no longer dropping games against the mid-level ACC opponents we should beat in our sleep.  Many of those wins have been ugly, but a W is a W.  The team never put its head down, which shows leadership and character.  The talent will develop.

And just think that this has been done with one armed tied behind our back.  Now that the NCAA’s shadow has lifted, we can have a fair fight in recruiting for the first time in four cycles, starting with the class of 2015.  Imagine the possibilities!

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Hooray! It’s Over!

At long last, the 3+ year investigation in the Miami athletics program has ended.  The most visible penalties to the common fan are the loss of nine football scholarships and three basketball scholarships each over  a three year period.

1001717_10151704131571451_144344551_n I honor the confidentiality agreement I signed with the university back in 2003 and will never publicly comment on the specifics of the case or my time there, but I do have a couple opinions on the outcome.  The average sports fan is saying that we “got off easy.”  This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Those who say we didn’t get a bowl ban are morons.  In what the NCAA considered an unprecedented move, Miami declined two bowl games and a conference championship appearance.  They lost tons in revenue and national exposure from this.  Furthermore, they implemented some recruiting restrictions in a time when they needed to rebuild.  This is probably similar to the punishment the NCAA would have given us if we had not self-imposed.  The NCAA couldn’t punish good behavior and cooperation.  A third bowl ban would have been absurd.

The penalty that Miami fans should be most upset about is the fact that recruits can receive complimentary admission to only ONE home game in 2014-2015 and 2015-2016.  In the past, this was unlimited.  This does not make the coaches’ job easier; they may have only one opportunity to make an outstanding impression and communicating this to recruits and families could be a nightmare.

When the NCAA stuck its nose in the Penn State mess (where it didn’t belong – it’s a criminal case), they set themselves up for this “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” scenario.  What is worse than hurting children?  A rogue booster?  I don’t think so.

The cloud of this botched investigation has been hanging over the program for over three years now.  It was like being in purgatory – what could coaches tell kids about the future of UM?  Nothing.  Think of all the recruits that wouldn’t even consider Miami because of the investigation.  Jimbo and Muschamp are certainly crying because the source of their negative recruiting has dried up!

Now is the time to move on, enjoy the #7 ranking, and beat F$U in a prime-time match-up on November 2nd.  Go Canes!

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