CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – The University of Miami will not be going bowling for a second consecutive season as the school announced a self-imposed postseason ban Monday morning, just two days after becoming bowl-eligible.
“When I met with the team this morning, as anyone can imagine, there was a reaction of disappointment,” said Blake James, interim athletic director. “Obviously you play to win games and have opportunities and this is an opportunity that they were shooting for all year and to have that potential to not play in a bowl game is obviously disappointing.”
The self-imposed two-year postseason ban is an attempt by the University to avoid severe sanctions from the NCAA for the Nevin Shapiro scandal. The postseason ban will include the Atlantic Coast Championship game, which UM could have qualified for this year.
“This is a decision that obviously we took very seriously and thought a lot about and we feel it’s a decision that is best for us moving forward and we’re excited to move forward as a program,” James said.
The decision was agreed to by university leadership including President Donna Shalala, the Office of the General Counsel and the Department of Athletics.
The decision was especially hard on 17 players set to graduate and leave the University. Instead of playing for a championship or in a bowl, the seniors will play their final game on the road against Duke on Saturday.
The NCAA hasn’t officially notified the University of Miami of the potential charges the school may face because of the Nevin Shapiro scandal. But a self-imposed two-year bowl ban is almost unprecedented and could signal the school knows a very severe punishment is likely for the scandal.
Shapiro has alleged paying players and other NCAA violations when he was a major booster for the football program. Shapiro is currently in jail after being convicted of running a Ponzi scheme.
James was asked during a Monday teleconference if the school felt the two-year postseason ban would preclude the NCAA from imposing additional postseason restrictions.
“Nothing is guaranteed until we go through the process,” James replied.
Miami was still playing for a chance to be the Coastal Division champion on Saturday against the Duke Blue Devils. With UM pulling out of the postseason, the Coast Division champion will be the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
That means, Georgia Tech will face the Florida State Seminoles in the ACC Championship game in a couple of weeks.
UM officials haven’t announced any additional penalties for the school as of Monday morning. If the NCAA investigation is as serious as Monday’s move makes it out to be, the school will likely lose scholarships and recruiting time among other penalties which could include a multi-year probation.
UM head coach Al Golden has been rumored to be on the short-list of possible candidates at the University of Tennessee for the head coaching job on Rocky Top. Despite the bowl bans and likely NCAA sanctions, James doesn’t feel that Golden may be looking to leave Coral Gables.
On Golden’s future and being mentioned with Tennessee’s program (school talked to him Sunday)
“I will say, Al is very committed. When you look at the team that we have out on the field, you look at the young guys you have contributing to this program right now…we have a great future as a program and that credit goes to Al,” James said. “Al is very excited about, and committed to the future of the program here.”