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Miami taking heat

In Sports on September 2, 2011 at 7:32 pm
By: Drew Marshall

If the allegations turn to truth, the University of Miami football team could lose one of their best players in Jacory Harris. Photo Courtesy of Google images

The University of Miami’s athletic department is definitely feeling the pressure from the NCAA about recent infractions by 15 of their current student-athletes. The athletes are reported to have been involved with former booster Nevin Shapiro, who is now in a federal prison after being convicted for a pyramid scheme. Miama president Donna Shalala has come to realize that this issue could plague the university for many years and that the worst may still be yet to come.

            Shalala wrote a letter to the Miami Herald on Sunday, stating that “these past two weeks have been painful” for her. Shapiro is now claiming that he provided extra benefits for 72 football players. These benefits included mostly cash, cars and various gifts. He claimed that of those 72 players, 65 are current or former Miami team members. Football coach Al Golden said that the school asked the NCAA to begin a reinstatement process, hopefully before the season opener on September 5. Shapiro also implicated several former coaches and one current basketball coach at the university. The letter is the third time that Shalala has spoken about the issue, but the entire University of Miami staff is keeping silent. Shalala has not been available for questions since the scandal was released.

            Among the 12 known players involved in the scandal, the most talked about is quarterback Jacory Harris. When asked about the Hurricanes’ upcoming season, he said “I expect to play.” That confidence will be put to the test when the NCAA releases its verdict soon. Harris and other players spoke out about the scandal for the first time last Saturday. All of the players seemed hopeful that they would be reinstated and return to play by the time the season opener versus Maryland comes around. Even with these player’s confident appearances, the full list of condemnable players has not been confirmed by the University of Miami. Miami coach Al Golden stated, “I was sad for the guys, because I think we all as individuals, we hope to grow, we hope to mature, we hope to learn from mistakes.”

Despite the scandal, the Miami coaching staff hopes to go along with business as usual. The first thing the coaches must do is decide who their starting quarterback will be, if Harris is allowed to play. The coaches are still indecisive as to whether or not Stephen Morris or Harris will start in their opening game. Both players played well last season, and both have been running plays with the first team during camp.

The University of Miami football team will most likely be plagued by the accusations for many years to come. The athletic program obviously has some major flaws that need to be dealt with so that people like Shapiro cannot infiltrate the system anymore. With the large number of people being called out for taking unwarranted gifts from Shapiro, the accusations could continue for many years to come.

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