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Incredibly, Miami is still suspending over contact with a would-be agent

Matt Hinton
Dr. Saturday

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In August, Miami safety Ray-Ray Armstrong was one of eight Hurricanes suspended by the NCAA for allegedly accepting improper benefits and otherwise fraternizing with booster, soon-to-be-convicted Ponzi-schemer and aspiring sports agent Nevin Shapiro, architect of the most sprawling array of NCAA violations in a generation. In Armstrong's case, he missed the first four games of the season — one of only three 'Canes suspended more than one game — for receiving $788 worth of extra benefits from Shapiro "to entice [him] to enroll."

Given the consequences, you might reasonably assume that episode marked the end of Mr. Armstrong's association with would-be professional representation until the beginning of his professional career. But Wednesday, he was suspended again for this weekend's visit to Florida State, at minimum. The reason? Fraternizing and possibly accepting benefits from would-be professional representation:

UM confirmed that the suspension is related to a tweet Armstrong released Sunday night.

At 8:59 p.m. Sunday, Armstrong tweeted the following: "Just left Prime 112 wit @arinicolelife never seen a chicken this big" …. With it was a link to a photograph of a plate with fried chicken and waffles.

Less than a half hour later, the tweet was deleted from Twitter.

The Twitter profile @arinicolelife is for Ari Washington, "a Michigan State alum, New Yorker at heart, Publicist & owner of @dblcoveragepr representing professional athletes in their charity & foundation ventures."

Prime 112 is a Miami restaurant. @dblcoveragepr is the Twitter account for Washington's public relations firm, Double Coverage, a "Miami-based boutique public relations firm specializing in lifestyle, sports and entertainment." Among its clients: Carolina Panthers cornerback Darius Butler, former Iowa receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and Major League Soccer rookie C.J. Sapong. Aaaaaand cue the suspension.{YSP:MORE}

For the record, despite the U's swift action, hanging out with a would-be agent is not necessarily against NCAA rules: If he can prove he paid for the dinner — and if there's no evidence that Washington or her company paid for anything else — Armstrong could be cleared to return for the end of the season. (Insert standard caveats about the hypocrisy of the NCAA's "amateur" rules here.) Under the circumstances, though, it is dumb — a future draft pick not only risking a repeat of the offense that got him suspended for a third of his junior season, but personally publishing a record of it for the rest of the world. Either way, he's not playing against the Seminoles, the compliance department has another problem to worry about and his return to the team at all is in the air.

On the bright side, at least Armstrong was hanging out with a different would-be agent. So he's learned… something?

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Matt Hinton is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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