Sports Illustrated came up with the issue back in 1995 why the University of Miami should drop football. Back then, the main problems involved Pell Grant scandals. Sure, the Hurricanes were known for some dirty play under Jimmie Johnson and others. And yes, a few of their players probably didn’t even record a 200 on their entrance exams. But that was an issue at many school.
Unfortunately for college athletics, not all schools are as difficult to qualify to play for as Notre Dame.
Miami always had that bad boy reputation. You could see the swagger when they walked out of the tunnel and onto the field. Yes, they were cocky. But they were so damn good for so damn long, no one could argue with their success on the field.
Off the field was often an entirely different story.
And unfortunately for ‘The U,” some things never change.
And even worse, as is the case with Miami, they often get much worse when they are never truly addressed in the first place.
When the article first came out, I thought it was a ludicrous statement. Why should Miami drop football? They are successful, they win, it helps pay for so many programs in Coral Gables, and it was not as if other schools didn’t have problems as well.
But now, 17 years later, I have a slightly different opinion of the situation involving the Hurricanes’ football program. Actually, the problem lies with the entire athletics department and their administration. It is time to finally address these issues and fix what has been broken for far too long.
Miami has had allegations of improper benefits, illegal recruiting, academic cheating, drugs and alcohol and steroid abuse and multiple other crimes and violations. Who hasn’t, right? When you look at other programs, such as Ohio State, North Carolina, USC, Auburn, Texas Tech and SMU, so many schools have had issues involving many different infractions. And I am not even mentioning Penn State, because that is one that is so different and far worse than any other that it is in an entirely different category.
But those issues often involved a handful of players and a few dirty agents. Miami has lost all of its’ credibility at this point. Over the past decade, as many as 73 players have been tied to sleazy booster Nevin Shapiro as having accepted improper benefits. What is worse is that so many of the school’s administrators and coaches were aware of what was going on well after it began. This list now allegedly includes second year head coach Al Golden.
Shapiro gave out so much to players that he should not have, and everyone allowed it to happen. That should be grounds for Miami to receive the dreaded death penalty, one that has only been given to SMU football in 1987 and 1988 for far less than the Hurricanes have been involved in for much longer.
At this point, they need a change. But I am not just talking about Golden. Yes, he and his entire staff should be immediately terminated. But this goes beyond the football team. Former head coach Randy Shannon stood up and demanded his players stay away from Shapiro, but they found ways around this demand. That means that they university needs to clean house from the very top to the very bottom.
That includes university president Donna Shalala. That includes athletic director Shawn Eichorst. Simply put, it includes everyone who has anything to do with Miami. The school needs to shut down the football program for at least one year and rebuild from the bottom to the top. They need to change their image and finally clean up a mess that has been nearly 30 years in the making.
While I once thought it was an ignorant statement to say that Miami should drop football, I now happen to agree. It should not abandon the sport permanently, but it needs to clean house and clean up the program immediately.
Sometimes, certain things can only be saved after they have first been destroyed.
Miami football needs to be fixed.
But it first needs to be destroyed.