Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Former Miami officials have questions to answer
By Heather Dinich
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- There were police on guard Wednesday morning to help control the flow of media access to Miami’s football practice. Players, assistant coaches and university officials have declined to comment or have been instructed not to. Athletic director Shawn Eichorst declined an interview request from ESPN.com. So did university president Donna Shalala. Even one member of Miami’s marching band and a member of the cheer squad both declined to talk about the NCAA investigation hanging over Miami’s football program right now.
While silence is prevalent here on campus Wednesday, former booster Nevin Shapiro can’t seem to say enough about the U. His allegations, some of which have been supported by the research and investigation of Yahoo! Sports, could be devastating to the future of Miami football.
And yet the only person answering questions right now is first-year coach Al Golden.
While his candor is refreshing, he’s not the one who needs to answer for this mess.
Former athletic director Paul Dee, who once sat as chairman on the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions and lambasted USC for its violations, has some explaining to do. Former athletic director Kirby Hocutt, who abruptly resigned to become athletic director at Texas Tech after he hired Golden, has some questions to answer. (Hocutt did not immediately return a call to his office.) Shalala, who can be seen in a Yahoo! Sports photo accepting a donation that was allegedly comprised of illegal money, needs to address the issue beyond the statement released earlier today. And former coaches Randy Shannon and Larry Coker, under whose watch these alleged violations took place, also need to state their cases. (Shannon did not return a text message to his cellphone.)
Funny how the majority of Miami officials who are accountable for this mess are gone.
And Golden is left to clean it up -- not that you could tell from his demeanor or practice this morning.
The only difference on the practice field was a little bit of extra intensity.
“The coaches are more fired up today,” said Rob Dunning, Miami’s assistant communications director, who routinely watches the Canes practice.
Defensive line coach Jethro Franklin was not pleased with his group’s pressure on quarterback Jacory Harris.
“Keep the quarterback in the pocket!” he barked. “DON’T. BREAK. CONTAIN! Pass-rush lanes!”
The staff is doing its best to maintain a sense of normalcy, but there is nothing normal about the allegations that have been levied against the program.
How much of it is true? Who knew about any of it? How didn’t they know?
All questions that need to be answered -- and not by Golden.