Miami didn't get to celebrate its bowl eligibility for long, because it announced Monday morning it is making itself ineligible for the postseason for a second straight year. Miami will not play in a bowl and will not play in the ACC Championship Game if it earns a spot. Georgia Tech will represent the Coastal Division in the ACC title game.
The decision, which interim athletic director Blake James announced to the team Monday morning according to Miami's announcement, is continued fallout from a Yahoo! Sports report in August of 2011 into the impermissible benefits given to Hurricanes players by booster Nevin Shapiro. The decision was made by school officials including president Donna Shalala and leaders from the athletic department.
Here's what Miami had to say in its release:
Considerable deliberation and discussion based on the status of the NCAA inquiry went into the decision-making process and, while acknowledging the impact that the decision will have on current student-athletes, coaches, alumni and fans, a determination was made that voluntarily withholding the football team from a second postseason was not only a prudent step for the University to take but will also allow for the football program and University to move forward in the most expedited manner possible.
The University and President Shalala have been clear from the start of the inquiry that Miami will cooperate fully and will seek the truth, no matter where the path might lead and that the institution will be stronger because of it.
The Miami seniors at least got a short time to enjoy Saturday's win. The Hurricanes beat South Florida 40-9 to get their sixth victory, and that made them bowl eligible. The seniors, playing their last home game, stopped to take a picture on the field together, seen at the top of this post. Now, they suddenly have just one game left in their college careers, at Duke this Saturday. That's unquestionably a stinging blow to those players.
Former Miami players DeMarcus Van Dyke, Brandon Harris and Tyler Horn didn't take long to voice their displeasure on Twitter:
Horn did explain that he wasn't blaming the coaches or administration at Miami, but thought the NCAA's process needed to be expedited.
Miami is obviously hoping that taking itself out of the postseason mix for a second straight year, and giving up a possible chance at a BCS bowl berth that it could have earned with a win in the ACC title game, will help lessen whatever penalties are handed down. The Hurricanes took themselves out of bowl consideration last year too. Two self-imposed postseason bans, something the school claimed was "unprecedented" in its announcement, should be taken into consideration by the NCAA whenever it gets around to handing out a decision.
That won't make the decision easier for the current team, especially those who just found out their careers will be over in five days.
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