There is some anger by Miami fans and coaches. There is some relief. And in the recruiting offices in Coral Gables, Fla., there is celebration.
The NCAA handed down its sanctions on the Hurricanes' program Tuesday, and the term “slap on the wrist” is being thrown around to describe the minimal impact it will have on Al Golden’s ability to recruit at Miami. Over the next three classes, Miami will lose a total of nine scholarships, a hurdle about the size of a stack of dimes.
As four-star receiver commit Braxton Berrios put it, Miami is “full speed ahead now.”
Even with the black clouds of the NCAA hovering over Miami for much of the 2014 class, Golden was able to secure 26 commitments -- 11 in the ESPN 300 -- and has the Hurricanes with the No. 4 class nationally. Golden and the Miami administration did wonders in the past couple of classes, easing recruits’ fears about any additional penalties on top of Miami’s self-imposed bowl ban. But for some targets, there was always a level of concern about significant sanctions being levied.
Those questions are now answered, and Golden and his staff can resume the role as coaches and recruiters fully instead of trying to wear the NCAA hat, too.
The Hurricanes have played second fiddle to Florida and Florida State on the recruiting front the past five years, finishing third among the big three in the rankings in the past four classes. Not since 2008, when Miami signed the No. 1 class, did the Hurricanes finish ahead of both the Gators and Seminoles in the recruiting rankings. In the past few classes, Florida and Florida State were able to tell Sunshine State prospects about the potential of the NCAA hammering Miami. These minimal sanctions almost level the recruiting field with their in-state rivals.
Miami has already been accounting for the scholarship reductions, as well. According to the Miami Herald, the Canes entered 2013 with 76 scholarship players, 19 of them seniors. If Miami signs 28, which is what the Canes hope for with Johnnie Dixon and Anthony Moten rounding out the class, that would bring Miami to 85 scholarships and would put the Canes in a good position to get down to 82 before the 2014 season.