Trouble in Miami
Troubling news is coming out of Florida for University of Miami fans, the few they have. After years of a runaway thuggish program that several decent coaches have tried to clean up, the machine was already installed and well oiled. The talent machine was started by the coach of two careers, Howard Schnellenberger who produced a national championship then bolted from the program. Jimmy Johnson took over a talent filled team for the 1984 season and he continued to populate the roster with the meanest thugs he could dig up. For several seasons they talked trash and played dirty trying to intimidate every team that they lined up against.
In 1985, the Hurricanes had ascended to the top of the college football world playing as well as anyone and hoped to be crowned national champions for the second time in their history if they won the Sugar Bowl as predicted against Tennessee. Jimmy Johnson went on television begging voters to vault them above Penn State who was currently number one. But not so fast — when the bowl games were played, Miami was blown out by Tennessee making Jimmy Johnson look like a fool in a 35-7 loss.
Later that night, Oklahoma upset Penn State with a solid win against the Nittany Lions in the Orange Bowl giving Switzer’s Sooners the National Championship. Miami had still not won a national championship under Johson.
A year later, it looked like Miami’s time. They would get to face off against Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl. The Canes talked a bunch of smack against Jo Pa’s disciplined squad and Johnson’s thugs got off the airplane in Arizona wearing military fatigues. They went on to embarrass themselves by being beat up by Penn State in a humiliating 14-10 loss where Miami’s talented receivers could not catch passes against a physical Penn State secondary.
Changes were made to the humbled boys from south Florida and they had to improve their dress habits in future game day appearances. They would go on to win more national championships while things seemed to be relatively okay.
New Troubles Brewing
Things seemed okay but the dark underbelly of the program began to show in 2006, as a program in decline, when under the “straight-as-an-arrow” coach Larry Coker there was a bench clearing brawl with Florida International that even got the law involved. It was as ugly an incident that ever occurred in college football even topping Ohio State’s coach Woody Hayes’ infamous sucker punch on Clemson nose guard Charlie Bauman in the 1978 Gator Bowl which got him fired. Miami pleaded they would clean things up and I believe the head coaches tried to do what was right on the surface but failed dealing with the shadows deep within the program that was really controlling the recruiting and behavior of the team members.
This year, a convicted ponzi-scheme fellow, Nevin Shapirro, has come forward claiming that he administered illegal benefits to as many as seventy-some players through the decade and the university is under an investigation that could be one of the worst infractions that the NCAA has ever encountered. All this while he is in prison seemingly upset that Miami didn’t come to his rescue when he was caught swindling folks out of their investment money and losing millions in gambling binges. Coming off the heels of USC and Ohio State violations, to be consistent, Miami is sure to get the hammer laid to them if severity of the crime matters.
So we see that all the while Miami has been hiring these supposed “character coaches” they neither produced extended wins or character. Coker won a national championship with players he inherited but it was also at the tail end of the Miami dynasty. Randy Shannon was going to turn around the character after the Florida International fiasco and instill good manners in the players but they didn’t worry about the boosters. This guy was paying players, hiring prostitutes for them, and allowing them generous benefits the whole time Miami supposedly was improving their moral standing under the fraud President Donna Shalala.
No Remorse for the “U”
The U could be done and I find no place in my heart for sympathy. So, after decades of thumbing their noses and showing disrespect to the traditional powers such as Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Penn State, and others, this dirty thug institution is getting back everything they have dished out to college football over the years. Then the coaches and administrators let this gambler-con artist Nevin Shapiro fellow roam their sidelines while he was entertaining the players with gifts like there was no tomorrow. If they do get the death penalty, good riddance.