Golden: Miami has already paid stiff penalties
So far in Al Golden’s tenure, Miami’s football program has
voluntarily forfeited the right to appear in two bowl games, along
with one trip to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game,
up to 30 practices and an undisclosed number of scholarships in
response to an unbelievably long NCAA investigation.
The Hurricanes’ coach sounds like he’s had enough.
Speaking on Wednesday shortly after the Hurricanes completed
another signing-day class that was assembled under the cloud of the
NCAA inquiry into compliance practices, Golden said in an interview
with The Associated Press that the ongoing investigation has
clearly hurt Miami’s recruiting.
He said other schools use the threat of sanctions against Miami
to steer players away, and the unknowns surrounding the probe
create questions that have no answers.
”How can anybody say it hasn’t impacted every one of us in the
organization or our families, the coaches’ families, the strength
coaches or the trainers or the players? I don’t think you can
measure,” Golden said. ”This, the life span of a college coach or
a college student-athlete is so small, to have bowls taken away
from you or practice opportunities reduced or championship games
basically deleted, that is a huge penalty. I don’t know how you
Miami signed 16 players in this year’s class, holding back a
number of scholarships. Like everything else the Hurricanes have
given up so far, Golden kept those scholarships – he did not
divulge the number he didn’t release, but it’s believed to be
around six – in anticipation of sanctions that still may be months
Miami still has not even been given its notice of allegations.
Until then, the sanction process cannot even begin.
”Not only are we silent in our defense against the NCAA, we are
silent against our opponents who are recruiting against us,”
Golden said. ”That’s a double-whammy. That’s tough to
The Miami scandal became publicly known in August 2011, when
former booster and convicted Ponzi scheme architect Nevin Shapiro’s
claims that he plied athletes, coaches and recruits with
impermissible benefits for eight years were published by Yahoo
Sports. In actuality, the probe started months earlier, and some of
Shapiro’s claims were known long before Golden was hired in
Golden was not told of Shapiro or the possibility for problems
related to his involvement with the athletic department during his
interview process with the Hurricanes.
”We were meant to be here,” Golden’s wife, Kelly Golden, told
the AP on Wednesday. ”Regardless of how it happened, what was said
or not said, we need to be here right now. He needs to be here. Not
sure who else could weather this storm the way he has. It was for a
Countless other stories related to the scandal have followed,
including ones last summer where Golden was alleged to have broken
recruiting rules, information that was alleged in a deposition
conducted by Shapiro’s attorney in December 2011.
That deposition looked damning for Miami, and now seems to be
more damning for the NCAA. The attorney, Maria Elena Perez, was in
a contractual relationship with the NCAA – which, two weeks ago,
ordered an external review of that relationship. Perez used
subpoena power to conduct depositions which were done under the
guise of Shapiro’s bankruptcy case but that the NCAA wound up
utilizing in building a case against Miami.
The NCAA does not have subpoena power, and therefore it would
appear should not have had access to the questions she asked. On
Wednesday, the NCAA said its external review was completed and a
report is expected by Feb. 15.
Miami will not receive its notice of allegations until that
report is completed.
”Putting together last year’s class was hard, but it was new,”
Golden said. ”And the kids were only exposed from August to
January. This year’s group was exposed to the toxicity for two
years, which was like having a shadow follow you, wherever you
went. You were always combating that and talking about that and
trying to keep the opposition on the facts, which got lost a
Golden also said the NCAA’s public announcement of the external
review of its own investigative practices hurt the Hurricanes –
even though, in actuality, the NCAA issues only hurt their own case
and basically helped Miami’s cause.
”The parents who have jobs or are working every day and the
young man who’s going to school every day and lifting after or
playing basketball and then going home and doing homework, all they
know after seeing that story is, `That’s a mess down there,”’
Golden said. ”They didn’t know it was a positive stroke for the
University of Miami. All they know is that that fire got stoked
again. And to have that two weeks out was an incredible impediment
to our progress and to our program.”
”Those articles, regardless of whether it’s pointing to the
positives for the University of Miami, were used as negatives by
our attackers,” Golden continued.
One positive of the NCAA situation at Miami is this: It seems to
have steeled the Hurricanes’ fan base.
A slogan – ”I Stand With The U” – started catching on around
the program since the NCAA probe was revealed publicly, and Golden
is using it as part of his mantra with recruits and players right
”There’s going to be a lot of people who didn’t stand with us
who are going to be remembered for not standing with us,” Golden
said. ”`I Stand With The U’ means this is tough right now. This is
about as tough as it gets in our business. We’ve got a bunch of
coaches and players that are digging in and rather than running are
going to fight their way out of it. Now do you stand with us or
not? And that is the truth. That is the truth. From my heart, that
is the truth.”
Soon, he hopes, the unknown will be known.
A group of prospects for the 2014 class will be on campus this
weekend. The first question they will all likely ask will be about
the NCAA inquiry.
Golden won’t have an answer for them. At least, not yet.
”I’m confident that the 2014 group will not be impacted in any
way by the current NCAA investigation,” Golden said. ”But until
the point that we make an unknown quantity known, we will continue
to be assailed by the opposition in the most talented recruiting
base in the country.”