The Miami Hurricanes will not be going to a bowl game for the second consecutive season in hopes of softening the blow expected by the NCAA in the case involving former UM booster Nevin Shapiro.
UM announced its decision Monday morning to self-impose a postseason ban, which also automatically means that the Hurricanes will not be eligible to represent the Coastal Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference at the ACC title game Dec. 1.
It is the first time a university has self-imposed a two-bowl penalty related to an NCAA investigation.
The Canes (6-5, 4-3 ACC) end their season Saturday at Duke, a game they originally thought could send them to Charlotte, N.C., for their first ACC title matchup should they defeat Duke.
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The ACC announced Georgia Tech will represent the Coastal in playing Florida State for the league championshipbut that UM would still share in the Coastal title if it defeats Duke.
“That was one of our goals to start the season,” said UM coach Al Golden, who talked to the team after UM interim athletic director Blake James broke the news Monday morning.
“As disappointed as we are, we’re just trying to pay tribute to the seniors, thank them for all they’ve given up,” Golden said. “Obviously, we want to play really well for them on Saturday.”
James said Monday that the administration’s decision to self-impose a postseason ban was “a decision that obviously we took very seriously and thought a lot about.
“We feel it’s a decision that’s best for us moving forward. We’re excited to move forward as a program.”
James, on a teleconference with media, said that when he met with the football team Monday morning to inform the players of the news, they, understandably, were upset.
“As anyone can imagine, there was a reaction of disappointment,” James said. “Obviously, you play to win games and to have opportunities, and this was an opportunity that they were shooting for all year.”
UM quarterback Stephen Morris, like his teammates, knew this could happen, but said “everybody was in a state of shock,” regardless.
“It’s rough,” Morris said. “It was definitely hard for the seniors, who [will play] their last game this week. We thought different, but at the end of the day, the seniors understand how this world works and the seniors understand that sometimes life isn’t fair. They’ve done a great job leading and I feel extremely sorry… and my heart goes out to them.
“I’m going to do everything in my focus to make sure that I’m ready for this game. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure the seniors go out the right way.’’
Golden indicated that he was committed to the Hurricanes, and would not be swayed by any possible job openings – or “huge offers’’ – as one reporter put it. Tennessee, for example, is looking for a new coach.
“I have a great job here,” Golden said. “I can see the end. I can see what we’re going to become. …We’re not in the business of searching for another job right now.
“Our kids are doing a heck of a job. They just need to stay the course, and I’m here to lead them. We made a commitment to the University of Miami and we want to see it through. We want to get it fixed.”
James would not elaborate on the NCAA investigation.
“It’s hard for me to speculate on the future and what that would be,” James said, regarding the possibility of UM self-imposing more penalties – such as scholarship reductions. “Obviously once we get our notice of allegations, we’ll address those issues and move forward with the NCAA.”
When asked if UM has any idea of when the NCAA would deliver its notice of allegations, James replied, “I don’t. It’s a situation where obviously we respect and understand that the process needs to take its course. I think, like everyone, we’re just anxiously looking forward to getting to the end of this process and moving forward.”
Less than an hour later, when Golden met with reporters following practice, the coach indicated he has already “factored in” scholarship reductions on National Signing Day in February. “I’m not allowed to comment on anything relative to the investigation,” Golden said, “but I’m already factoring it in to my [scholarship] count. They’re going to tell us, ultimately, but I’ve already started down that road of not taking a full group.”
Said Golden: “We’re going to add 15 or 16 new faces.”
Golden stressed that despite being “disappointed,” the players are not “discouraged.”
“There’s a difference,” he said. “Hopefully our guys will play really well this Saturday.”