Miami officials said Monday that the Hurricanes college football team is making what it called an “unprecedented decision” to self-impose a postseason ban for the second straight year, ending any chance of the university playing in either the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game or a bowl.
Just like last year, Miami’s decision was made with regard to the status of the ongoing NCAA investigation into the school’s compliance practices. The inquiry began in 2011 after a former booster went public with allegations that he provided dozens of athletes and recruits with extra benefits such as cash and gifts.
By sitting out again, Miami, which still has not been presented with its notice of allegations from the NCAA, is hoping to lessen the hit of any looming sanctions that could be handed down when the investigation ends. Schools often self-impose penalties with hope that the NCAA takes those measures into account when doling out punishment.
“Do I think it’s fair? No,” Miami coach Al Golden said, asked about punishing players who have not been accused of wrongdoing. “But that’s the system.”
Miami clearly hopes that a pair of postseason bans, especially when the Hurricanes still had a chance at a Bowl Championship Series berth this year, helps its cause with the NCAA. Whenever the process ends, sanctions against the football and men’s basketball programs are expected, with penalties likely to include probation terms and scholarship reductions.
Golden said he plans on adding about 15 recruits next year, and has already started to factor anticipated scholarship-reductions into his count.
“I’m not allowed to comment on anything relative to the investigation,” Golden said. “But I’m already factoring it in to my count. They’re going to tell us, ultimately, but I’ve already started down that road of not taking a full group.”
Interim athletic director Blake James informed the team of the decision Monday morning. University president Donna Shalala and the school’s legal counsel were also involved in the decision.
Miami’s decision effectively ends the ACC’s Coastal Division race. Georgia Tech will play Atlantic Division winner Florida State on Dec. 1 for the conference title and automatic BCS spot. By sitting out again, Miami — which still has not been presented with its notice of allegations from the NCAA — is hoping to lessen the hit of any looming sanctions that could be handed down when the investigation ends.