FSU's Fisher says he wishes Miami 'the best'
Miami is getting some support from a most unlikely source: Florida State, the school's archrival.
Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said Wednesday that he wishes Miami's Al Golden ''nothing but the best'' as the Hurricanes continue dealing with the initial wave of fallout from a scandal surrounding extra benefits provided by a former booster. The NCAA said Tuesday that 12 Miami players must pay restitution, and eight need to sit out at least one game before they can return to the field.
''You don't want that to happen to anybody,'' Fisher said on the Atlantic Coast Conference weekly coaches' call.
The former Miami booster, Nevin Shapiro, is serving a 20-year prison sentence for bilking investors out of $930 million in a Ponzi scheme. Olivier Vernon must sit six games for taking benefits from Shapiro during the recruiting process, and Ray Ray Armstrong and Dyron Dye must sit four games each for similar reasons.
Jacory Harris, Sean Spence, Marcus Forston, Travis Benjamin and Adewale Ojomo will all sit one game, Monday's ACC opener at Maryland. Four other players must repay amounts of less than $100, and can play in Week 1.
From his peers around the ACC, Golden was getting no shortage of support Wednesday.
''I understand kind of what he's going through,'' said Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson, whose team had to return its 2009 ACC championship trophy after it was learned a player should have been declared ineligible. ''It's a tough deal and I think Al's a tough guy. He'll get through it.''
Outside of Miami, Maryland was likely the most interested ACC observer in the Miami matter. After all, the Terrapins have been waiting to see who the Hurricanes will have available for Monday night.
Golden and Maryland coach Randy Edsall spoke personally throughout the process, the Miami coach assuring his counterpart that as soon as the Hurricanes knew what their depth chart would say, they would let the Terrapins know.
''I've just told our guys, what we have to focus on is Maryland what we have to do in order to go out and perform to the best of our ability,'' Edsall said. ''I know Miami is very talented and they've got a lot of very good players. And even though there's going to be some of those young men that aren't going to be coming with them as they make the trip north Sunday to play Monday, those other young men who are going to step in have been very eager, very hungry.''
The NCAA's harshest penalties Tuesday went to the three Miami players who dealt with Shapiro during the recruiting process. Controlling third-party access has been a major issue across college sports for some time, and is a top concern for the NCAA.
Coaches around the ACC say the Miami story only reaffirms what they've been telling players.
''Before that Miami situation occurred, we always talked to our guys,'' Fisher said. ''We tried to educate them in every way, shape and form about the pitfalls out there that go on in the world today and the way folks get to you. Sometimes it's innocently and sometimes it's guys with a purpose. You don't ever know. That's something as a coach, you constantly have to educate your kids ... all the time.''
Added Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer: ''I think your responsibility is to educate your kids. They know what's right and wrong and they're responsible for their actions.''
Many coaches around the country have reached out to Golden in recent weeks. He was hired in Miami in December, long after Shapiro was imprisoned for bilking investors.
''It's unfortunate that he inherited that situation. He didn't cause the problem,'' Edsall said. ''I just told him, `Hey, just keep looking forward and keep doing what you're going to do and you'll be fine.' That's really all he can do.''