Golden defends Miami from latest allegations

BY foxsports • July 23, 2012

Al Golden hoped this season, his second as head coach at the University of Miami, would be different. He hoped he could concentrate on football. But it appears that won’t happen.

It’s a new year, and there are new NCAA violations alleged by a Yahoo! Sports story. Last year is repeating itself. That’s not a good thing for Golden or UM.

Golden, just as he did last year, is vowing changes will be made, telling The Associated Press on Monday that Miami is “going to operate with integrity” and “we’re going to…do things the right way.”

He also said the school needs to “get everybody away from our program,” presumably meaning Miami needs to close its ranks.

It all sounds so familiar.

Last season there were two questions you could have asked Golden every single day:

1. What’s going on with the NCAA investigation related to former booster Nevin Shapiro and the improper benefits he provided players?

2. Being a former Penn State player and assistant coach, what do you think about the latest developments in the scandal?

Variations of those two questions were asked of Golden again on Monday at the annual Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff in Greensboro, N.C.

Golden, who spoke to the Miami Herald minutes before the Penn State penalties were announced by the NCAA, said his “thoughts and prayers are with the victims first and foremost” but didn’t want to go further down that road.

As if that weren’t touchy enough, Golden found himself answering questions about new NCAA rules violations that were alleged in a story published by Yahoo! Sports on Friday. The story contends UM, after being under investigation for the Shapiro violations, committed additional NCAA violations, and this time it did so with Golden’s knowledge.

It’s an allegation that cuts to the integrity of Golden, a man who rode into town preaching that he was going to do things the right way and clean up the recent wrongs.

The Yahoo! Sports allegations also make a statement about UM’s defiance and respect toward the NCAA. If these allegations are true, the ’Canes showed a lot of defiance and very little respect.

On Monday, Golden told the Palm Beach Post he’s seen the story.

“I was disappointed,” Golden said. “I can stand on the values that I’ve exhibited and my record on compliance, the lack of violations over my 18-year career.

“People will be able to judge that and I will have a day to defend it. But in terms of commenting on the story, I really can’t. In time I’ll be able to defend and talk about it freely. I feel terribly for my family, my mom and dad – anybody in my family that’s exposed to that. But like I said, I will have time to defend it.”

NCAA investigators were on campus recently, according to a weekend story by The Associated Press. Presumably, they were asking questions related to these new allegations.

Another year, another set of charges. It’s the same song. Unfortunately for Golden and UM, very little has changed.

Golden told the Post he stands by two members of this year’s team that were named as violators in the Yahoo! Sports story – linebackers coach Michael Barrow and defensive end Anthony Chickillo.

Asked if Barrow still had his job, Golden replied, “There’s no change there.”

Asked if he expected any players named in the new charges, including Chickillo, to be suspended, Golden said, “I do not.”

By the way, in another sign this year is starting similar to last year, UM doesn’t have a starting quarterback going into fall practices. Golden said he’d likely name a starter between junior Stephen Morris and sophomore Ryan Williams by Aug. 18, the day of the Hurricanes’ second scrimmage.

As much as Golden hated talking about the quarterback battle last year, I’m guessing he’d be thrilled if that was the No. 1 topic of conversation when practice begins next month. At least he’d be talking about football.

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