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8 posts from October 22, 2013

October 22, 2013

Former Hurricanes assistant Clint Hurtt apologizes for his rule-breaking at UM

Before he got into coaching at Miami, Clint Hurtt was a Hurricane himself. And he apologized Tuesday after practice for his role in hurting his alma mater.

Here is the video from Louisville's post-practice availability Tuesday.

Welcome To The U! Canes land DT recruit hours after NCAA sanctions announced

Full Speed Ahead. 

That's been the mantra through this whole ordeal, and it appears to be the phrase of the day now that the Hurricanes have added another big commitment to their 2014 Signing Class.

According to Canesport.com, UM landed a verbal from 6-4, 340-pound defensive tackle Michael Wyche out of East Los Angeles College. Wyche, rated a three-star recruit, had been committed to USC. 

"It's funny, because I didn't even know about the NCAA stuff today," Wyche told Canesport.com. "I committed and then the coaches told me about it.

"They were like `Today is an exciting day.' I was like `Why?' And they said `Because now we are moving forward from the NCAA.'"

Wyche told Canesport he plans to enroll in January.

In the end, Wyche told Canesport he is a Cane because "Miami just seemed like a better fit as far as what I need. They're giving me a chance to come in and compete for a starting job. And they need more help. Hopefully I can give them the help they need."

Canes hope NCAA will take into account self-imposed, internal scholarship reductions in football

University of Miami athletic director Blake James, speaking to The Miami Herald during a one-on-one interview, made it clear the program will not officially appeal any decisions made by the NCAA's Committee on Infractions Tuesday.

But that doesn't mean UM isn't going to try trim the number of football scholarships its set to lose -- nine over three years -- down a bit. For the first time Tuesday, James said UM had already "internally imposed some scholarship reductions" and the hope is the NCAA will take those measures into account. But if the NCAA doesn't, that doesn't mean Miami is going to put up a huge stink.

"We will be discussing that situation with the NCAA right now and we'll see how its best to go forward," James said. "Again, we were looking at the situation and getting an understanding of where we thought things were going to go. Again, we did think [scholarship reductions] were a possibility, but it was something we kept internal. Now that it did become a reality of our penalties we'll document with the NCAA the steps we took and work with them on checking on the possibility of that being included in this year's scholarship numbers."

The Hurricanes, currently at 74 scholarship players by the media's count, have 19 seniors on their roster and 25 oral, non-binding commitments. If the Canes' current recruiting class stays at the same number and no underclassmen depart the program, UM would have 80 scholarship players on its roster next season.

Of course, UM has the flexibility, James said, of reducing its football scholarships at the rate it sees fit. Meaning, UM doesn't have to trim three scholarships each year. It can work with any formula it sees fit. Men's basketball, set to lose one scholarship per year over the next three years, doesn't have that flexibility, James said.

"That's something I'll work with Al on," James said. "It's really going to be Al communicating with us how it best works for us to meet the penalty, at the same time what's best for the football program understanding we have that flexibility with these nine that we can allocate them over a three-year period."

> What was Blake's reaction to Tuesday's news?

"First of first reactions I was pleased to be at the end of the process," he said. "Obviously it's a process I think that's worn on all of us. It's something that as an institution we've taken very seriously. I was pleased to get to the end of the process. In terms of looking at the sanctions, we're looking at nine scholarships for football. I would say, being honest, being a part of the process, it was something I thought was in line with what I expected, but still something that was very significant.

"I would say the same with basketball -- again in line with what I was expecting based on the case. With that said, very significant along with many of the sanctions we've put in place, many of which have been very public setting up the bowl bans, two bowls and an ACC championship. And some that until today we had been working on behind the scenes and working with the NCAA on."

James said if UM had been given another bowl ban it definitely would have been something the school appealed. But he didn't sense that coming.

"I think that was something that would have been real hard," James said of another bowl ban. "We have 115 young men in our program right now that are committed to achieving their goals. In many cases you have a group that hasn't been able to play in a bowl at all. In some case you have a few individuals that maybe got a chance to be a part of the Sun Bowl and that experience there, but really weren't active members of the team and have sat out on the sidelines the next few years.

"To have our young men not have that opportunity again would have been something that would have been very hard. But again, we respected the process and understood the Committee on Infractions was going to do what was best. I didn't feel another bowl justified and I was pleased to see the COI felt the same way. So I was very pleased we were able to go forward in that front."

James said he had been on the phone all morning with UM President Donna Shalala. Her reaction wasn't much different than his, he said.

"We've been in regular communication. I would say her feelings are very similar to mine," James aid. "Obviously we're disappointed that the institution had this situation occur. We're going to do things we need to do to make changes. Many of those are already in place. We'll continue to educate our people. We'll continue to closely monitor the program and we'll move forward as the great athletic program we are representing one of the finest institutions in the country."

This obviously isn't the first time Miami has dealt with sanctions. What kind of changes has Blake seen from the athletic department when it comes to compliance since taking the athletic director job? Plenty, he said.

"I think it's a situation where I first got here we had a very established compliance program in that they were looking to do all the things they needed to do with enforcement. How we ended up missing some of the violations that occurred is the disappointing part because I think the people we had in place were professional and did the best job they could," James said.

"I think it's a situation where maybe we didn't do some of the education that we're doing now. You see those things being in place. If you look at it from my time being a senior associate to my time now I would really say the biggest change is just the educational aspect. I think we have made some structural changes and our approach on things is really trying to make everyone understand what the rules are and how we have to operate within those rules. I wouldn't say that wasn't the case here before. Obviously there's something amiss we had this going on for 10 years. Not being here for the vast majority of that time it's hard for me to speculate on that because I know people that were here before were very dedicated to putting an institution in the best light. I know I struggle with how something like this could happen."

James said UM will not cut ties with former players as USC did.

"Again, based on the COI report there wasn't any mention of any type of disassociation," James said. "I would say that isn't something at this time we need to move forward with given the results of the findings."

From a purely personal standpoint how does James feel now that this is over?

"Again, I'm happy the process is completed," he said. "Obviously I hope this is a situation I never have to go through again, and I can assure all of us I will do everything I can to put systems in place to avoid this situation again. [I'm also] disappointed our program has gone through the challenging time it has over the last few years. It's been hard on our coaches, hard our student-athletes and hard on our administration and staff. I think we all recognize that and are all happy to move full speed ahead."

Statements from Shalala, James, chair of UM board of trustees

STATEMENTS RELEASED BY THE SCHOOL

The University of Miami received the NCAA Committee on Infractions report this morning, concluding a more than three-year process that included an investigation conducted by the NCAA and an appearance by senior University officials before the Committee on Infractions in June.

The University cooperated fully with investigators and took responsibility for its actions by proactively self-imposing severe penalties, including an unprecedented two-year bowl ban in football, withholding the football program from competing in the ACC Championship Game in 2012, and instituting substantial recruiting restrictions.

The University accepts the findings and the additional penalties as detailed in the Committee on Infractions report and will not appeal. The University is grateful to the Committee for a fair and thorough hearing.

As a proud member of the NCAA, the University of Miami remains committed to its fellow institutions and to the core principles that we—the members of the association—have always believed in.

The following are statements from the Chair of the Board of Trustees Leonard Abess, President Donna E. Shalala, and Director of Athletics Blake James:

> University of Miami Board of Trustees Chair Leonard Abess:

“The University of Miami moves forward today stronger and rededicated to the high ideals that have always sustained it. I am proud of our leadership and staff, who conducted themselves throughout this process with integrity, forthrightness, and in the spirit of full cooperation.”

> President Donna E. Shalala:

“The Committee on Infractions report closes a challenging chapter in the history of the University of Miami.

“I am grateful to our coaches, staff and student-athletes for their dedication to the University and to intercollegiate athletics. I also want to thank Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford for his steadfast support.

“Finally, I want to apologize to the Hurricane family, as we have asked for your patience, faith and support during a difficult time. Thank you for standing with us.”

> Director of Athletics Blake James:

“Our honest and committed efforts to address these allegations have made us stronger. We have already taken many proactive steps to ameliorate any concerns, and we will continue to improve in all areas. Now it is time we look ahead and work diligently to support our student-athletes.”

Statements from Golden, Larranaga on NCAA news.

University of Miami Head Football Coach Al Golden:

“I want to sincerely thank our student-athletes and their families who, not only stood with the University of Miami during this unprecedented challenge, but subsequently volunteered for the mission. They shouldered the burden, exhibited class and exemplified perseverance for Hurricanes everywhere.

“Further, I would like to express heartfelt appreciation to our staff and families who did not subscribe to this challenge three years ago, yet courageously adopted it as their own. They have brought the utmost professionalism, resiliency and integrity to our program. More importantly, they continue to recruit and represent our world-class institution with class and dignity in unprecedented circumstance.

“Lastly, it is with gratitude and humility that I say thank you to our administration, U Family everywhere and the entire South Florida Community for their unyielding support of our young men and program over the last 28 months.”

University of Miami Head Basketball Coach Jim Larrañaga:

"I am a big believer that success is based on attitude. We continually remind our players that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

“We will continue to approach our work with a positive attitude as we march towards being the best we can be. I am grateful to our administration and counsel for leading us through this difficult journey and I want to thank everyone who loves this University and who has supported the young men who proudly wear the Miami uniform. We are excited about the upcoming season and we are all moving forward.”

Canes radio voice Joe Zagacki: "It's been far from a slap on the wrist."

With Hurricanes coaches and players off limit to the media the rest of the week, the closest we might get to hearing a voice on the team is the voice of the team WQAM's Joe Zagacki.

His reaction to Tuesday's news the program is losing nine football scholarships and facing no further post-season bans?

"It beats the alternative that's for sure and considering what's happened over the last three years it's a manageable situation," Zagacki said. "Al Golden is a terrific talent evaluator. He's just a great manager in terms of leading your corporation. I think this is good news for Miami because they can move forward. Al Golden can continue with his program and the damage has been done. It's been three years and I think that damage has to be taken into account."

The Hurricanes are 6-0 and ranked 7th in the latest BCS standings. Although an anvil has hung over his head since the day he arrived, Golden has done a good job blocking out the distractions in his three years here. And Zagacki thinks Tuesday's news won't throw UM off its game heading into Saturday's showdown with Wake Forest.

"I think he's done a great job keeping them focused," Zagacki said. "I think it's easier when you have a mature team that he has now. The seniors can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I also think they've shown a lot of leadership for the young players. There's still plenty of freshmen and sophomores on this team that were wondering 'Am I ever going to play in a bowl game? Did I make the right decision coming here?' And had the news been different I think it would have been a big distraction for some of those young players that would have questioned 'Why did I stay home to play for Miami?' Now, they have a resolution and they can move forward with their careers and continue playing for the University of Miami without being burdened with all this NCAA stuff."

Many outsiders are shocked UM only lost nine scholarships after this long investigation. They think the punishment is too light.

"It's been far from a slap on the wrist," Zagacki said. "Take into account not only the damage for Al Golden and what he's had to recruit against -- that's just on the football field. Take into account the average student the day the atom bomb went off. He was a freshman. He's now a junior of his college experience and he's yet to go through a college experience like everybody else in the country. You put that in there, factor that in and then everything else in the program. The damage has been done to the brand. The orange and green is one of the best brands in the country. It has to be protected. And the damage that has been done to that is immeasurable. Today is an opportunity for Miami to rebuild all that and move forward. I can't help but think of what Al Golden said in the summer. We're going to be like the explorer in Key West who kept waking up every day hunting for gold saying 'Today might be the day. Today might be the day.' Finally for Al Golden, today is the day."

Golden was scheduled to meet with the media at 12:30 today. That was obviously scratched. What does Zagacki thinks Golden reaction will be once we can hear it?

"Whatever he's going to say is going to be good," Zagacki said. "He's so articulate. The University of Miami is fortunate to have him. The way he's handled the situation, really the face of the program. He's talked with common sense. He's been pragmatic, been a great leader, shown excellent perspective. He hasn't taken the bait on following the sensationalistic side of the story. He's just stayed by the facts and guided his team. I think he's exactly what Miami has needed through this process. He really has been the calming force."

Official announcement from NCAA: 9 scholarships over 3 years for football, no more post-season bans

The news is officially out from the NCAA on UM -- and it's better than anticipated. LINK TO COMPLETE REPORT

HERE IS THE LIST OF SANCTIONS FROM THE NCAA ON UM

> Public reprimand and censure.

> Three years of probation from October 22, 2013, through October 21, 2016.

> Former assistant football coach B (Clint Hurtt) penalties: A two-year show-cause order from October 22, 2013 through October 21, 2015. The public report contains further details. The committee also adopted penalties imposed by the coach’s current employing university, which are detailed in the public report.

> Former assistant football coach C (Aubrey Hill) penalties: A two-year show-cause order from October 22, 2013, through October 21, 2015. The public report contains further details.

> Former head men’s basketball coach Frank Haith penalties: A suspension for the first five regular-season games of the 2013-14 season. Attendance at one NCAA Regional Rules seminar at the conclusion of the 2013-14 academic year.

> Former assistant men’s basketball coach B (Jorge Fernandez) penalties: A two-year show-cause order from October 22, 2013, through October 21, 2015. The public report contains further details.

Football program penalties

> Reduction of football scholarship by a combined total of nine during the 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.

> Miami may only provide a prospect on unofficial visits complementary tickets for one home game during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.

Self-imposed by the university

> Two year bowl ban following the 2011 and 2012 seasons, including the 2012 ACC Championship game.

> Reduction of official paid visits for 2012-13 by 20 percent to a total of 36 visits.

> Reduction of fall evaluations in 2012-13 by six (from 42 to 36).

> Reduction of available contact days during the 2012-13 contact period by 20 percent.

Men’s basketball program penalties

> Reduction in the number of men’s basketball scholarships by one during the each of the 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.

> Additional penalties: For all sports, any staff member who sends an impermissible text to a prospect will be fined a minimum of $100 per message, and coaches will be suspended from all recruiting activities for seven days.

> Further penalties resulting from impermissible texts and phone calls are detailed in the public report.

BREAKING NEWS: WQAM reports 3 lost scholarships per year for 3 years, no bowl bans (updated)

The results are in and it looks good for the Hurricanes.

WQAM show host Joe Rose announced earlier today on his morning show the Hurricanes will only be losing nine scholarships total (three over three years) and there will be no further post-season bans.

If true, that's obviously a huge victory for UM and a happy ending to the three-year ordeal. Well, maybe a happy ending for everyone but Nevin Shapiro.

WQAM is the Miami Hurricanes' flagship station. 

Our Michelle Kaufman reported former UM basketball coach Frank Haith (now at Missouri) will receive a five-game suspension. Former football assistant coaches Clint Hurtt (Louisville), Aubrey Hill (Carol City High) and basketball coach Jorge Fernandez have been hit with a 2-year show cause penalty, which means they will not be able to coach at the college level for two years.

Miami's basketball program, meanwhile, will lose 2-3 scholarships total.

The NCAA will make its sanctions public to the media at 10 a.m and then the head of the Committee on Infractions will speak with reporters at 11 a.m.

Stay tuned for updates throughout the day.