« Two big leaders -- Jacory Harris, Sean Spence -- among at least eight Canes seeking reinstatement | Main | Chickillo, Dorsett say UM freshmen are ready to step up if needed »

UM coach Al Golden talks eligibility, reinstatement and more Friday

CORAL GABLES -- UM coach Al Golden confirmed Friday that UM has begun the process of filing the necessary paperwork to the NCAA seeking reinstatement for players allegedly involved in taking impermissible gifts from former booster and convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro.

UM coach Al Golden The Miami Herald first reported Thursday that eight current players -- including quarterback Jacory Harris and linebacker Sean Spence -- were ruled ineligible by UM and were seeking reinstatement from the NCAA. Golden wouldn't discuss specifics or name anyone involved in that process Friday, but said he's hopeful the NCAA will work expeditiously in resolving each of those players cases.

UM opens the season Sept. 5 at Maryland and it is expected that as many as 13 players could be suspended or ruled ineligible for that game and possibly more in light of the allegations and investigation into the program. Five of those 13 players, who do not need to seek reinstatement from the NCAA because they took gifts less than a $100, could still end up being suspended by UM for their roles.

In all, 10 of the 12 players fingered by Shapiro in a Yahoo! expose done last week were back out at practice -- including Spence and Harris. The only two not out at Friday's practice were cornerback JoJo Nicolas, whose prematurely born son recently passed away and has been granted time away from the team to grieve by Golden, and tight end Dyron Dye, who wasn't at practice for an undisclosed reason.

Golden said Friday players whose eligibility status remains unclear can continue to practice.

Here's Golden's complete transcript from Friday...

Can you tell us if the status of any players involved in the NCAA investigation has changed and if they're allowed to practice?
"They're eligible to practice. We have filed paperwork to the NCAA as of late last night, which is part of the normal process. The way the process works is we deem them ineligible, file the paper work on their behalf and the only entity that can reinstate them is the NCAA. We've done our part. Of course there are going to be follow ups from the NCAA standpoint. But we've done our part from this end and it's up to the NCAA to reinstate them."

The Miami Herald reported eight players are seeking reinstatement. Can you comment?
"I don't read The Miami Herald with all due respect. I'm not going to comment on it. It's an ongoing investigation. I'm not allowed to comment on that. We've been most respectful through the process here with the NCAA and been extremely cooperative, so I'm not going to deviate from that path right now."

The players who were not eligible have been reported by NCAA. But are there others being held out with a school issue?
"Whoever we submitted was submitted last night. Names. Number. Again, that's all part of the investigation. Again, that's all been submitted. Once we hear back from the NCAA, we'll act accordingly."

With respect to the process, how much more difficult is the job getting of keeping your team focused?
"What's evolving right now is the story. The status hasn't changed for many of the guys who have been identified. The story is kind of growing on itself, it's magnified. Other than that, we're just doing what we're doing. I keep telling you, this impacts less than -- 90 percent of the guys aren't impacted by this and none of the staff is impacted by this so we're going to continue to move forward and stay focused."

The university can ask for this to process involving the eligibility of players to be expedited, do you expect that to be the case?
"I expect that. The president I believe said on Monday we've initiated that process. So that process has been initiated, maybe I'm the first one to tell you, but that paperwork has been sent to the NCAA."

A lot of supporters feel bad for you because you walked into this situation do you realize that and that they want you to stay?
"I realize the support is out there in terms of the other stuff, it has nothing to do with what we're trying to do right now. We're 10 days out from trying to beat Maryland. We're trying to get the team prepared. Again, I really appreciate the support from all levels we're receiving and I know the team does too. We'll get through this. We'll fight through this. Hurricanes always have. And we'll continue to do so. Again, it's a great place, Top 50 institution. I don't need to tell you all that. But clearly, we have some things here we have to address and move forward."

The players who have been declared ineligible by UM, what did you tell them and the team as a whole?
"Just that we don't know their status and we won't until we hear back from the NCAA. The NCAA is the only governing body in this that can render somebody eligible or ineligible based on what we've submitted. We'll find out more when that returns."

How are their spirits?
"Well, they've been as good as they can be. They're in flux a little bit. I think anybody would be in flux would have some concerns. We've been trying to keep them on task and they've been doing a good job of that."

How ready is your team for the opener?
"As ready as you can be 10 days out. Obviously you want to be ready on Sept. 5 at 8 o'clock. We've begun the process with Maryland. We're not fully on Maryland yet because we have a few things we need to improve as a team. Our focus this week has been team improvement with a twist of Maryland. Obviously next week when we get into game week it will be fully on Maryland. We don't want to just delve completely into Maryland right now. We'll get stale after nine or 10 days."

Is it a blessing you have a Monday night game and not a Saturday game in light of what's going on?
"I don't know. I think from our standpoint, it's not during the regular season, it's preseason. It's a function of when we started camp and where we are right now. It's not really a function of having extra days. We don't have extra days to prepare. We're just the last game on that opening weekend. We'll just address the schedule accordingly."

Can you clarify the situation with the ACC rules and when we might be able to see the depth chart and travel roster?
"Chris alerted me yesterday that we have a policy where you have to list all the kids that are probable or not going to play or are out for the game, those types of things and I think it would typically be on a Thursday -- so Saturday of Maryland week. Hopefully, both institutions will get together and release the depth chart hopefully by Tuesday."