The University of Miami won’t allow its football team to play in a postseason game for the second consecutive season as it remains under investigation for improper benefits provided by a booster.
The decision was made by university leadership, including President Donna Shalala, school lawyers and Department of Athletics leaders, according to an e-mailed statement. Interim Athletic Director Blake James told the team this morning. The university made a similar decision last season.
“While acknowledging the impact that the decision will have on current student-athletes, coaches, alumni and fans, a determination was made that voluntarily withholding the football team from a second postseason was not only a prudent step for the university to take but will also allow for the football program and university to move forward in the most expedited manner possible,” the school said in the statement.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association inquiry stems from a 2011 story on Yahoo! Sports in which former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro said he gave cash and benefits, such as cars and yacht rides, to at least 72 Hurricanes between 2002 and 2010. Such incentives are a violation of NCAA rules.
The Hurricanes, who have won at least a share of five national championships since 1983, have a 6-5 record this season and became bowl-eligible with a 40-9 victory two days ago over the University of South Florida. Miami is in contention to win the Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal division, but won’t participate in the ACC title game should it qualify, according to the statement.
The NCAA last August ordered eight Miami players to miss games and repay benefits from Shapiro, endorsing a decision initiated by the school. It hasn’t imposed any penalties on the university.
“The university and President Shalala have been clear from the start of the inquiry that Miami will cooperate fully and will seek the truth, no matter where the path might lead and that the institution will be stronger because of it,” according to the statement.