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Board of Trustees Chairman releases letter to community

A letter from University of Miami Board of Trustees Chairman Leonard Abess to the community:

For more than eight decades, our community has embraced the Miami Hurricanes through both celebrations and commiserations. This devotion is not limited to University of Miami students and alumni—the ranks of past and present fans swells to include thousands of adopted ’Canes, many of whom have never even set foot on UM’s Coral Gables campus. This is why it is understandable that recent news of potential NCAA violations committed by current and former University of Miami student-athletes and staff have aroused such strong emotions in our community and the greater “U” family.

Without a doubt these allegations are troubling and demand a thorough and honest evaluation of Hurricane Athletics. President Shalala has taken a strong position, insisting on full cooperation with the ongoing NCAA investigation. The process will be long, and in the ensuing months the Board of Trustees and the university administration will provide both leadership and unwavering support for our great institution, which we all care so deeply about.

While attention has been rightly focused on the allegations this week, during the same time, the University has also welcomed the finest ever incoming freshman class, and campus is in the midst of the wonderful excitement surrounding move-in day and the beginning of the academic year. We must not allow our current crisis in athletics to diminish the excellence and hard work of generations in the UM family.

It is especially important that the alleged misconduct not overshadow our current leadership and institutional values. Moving forward, I ask for your support in helping to ensure that the University of Miami and Hurricane Athletics come out stronger in our continued commitment to excellence in every endeavor.

Rest assured, ultimate responsibility for the conduct of the overall athletics department lies with the UM leadership, which includes President Shalala, the Board of Trustees, and the Athletics Director.

With everyone’s support, the University of Miami will continue to be a community leader and an invaluable resource to all of us.

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