Miami’s Hopes for Orange Bowl Dashed by NCAA : College football: Hurricanes, 8-3 and co-champions of Big East, are banned from one bowl, lose 24 scholarships and get three years’ probation.
The University of Miami, which had urged that a decision on possible sanctions against it be rendered before Sunday’s bowl invitations were handed out, got its wish Friday when the NCAA stripped the Hurricane football program of 24 scholarships and banned it from playing in a bowl game for one season.
The penalties handed down by the NCAA infractions committee were for rules violated under former coaches Dennis Erickson and Jimmy Johnson.
The Hurricanes were put on three years’ probation for violations in football, baseball, women’s golf and men’s tennis.
Miami will lose 13 football scholarships in the 1996-97 academic year and 11 more in the 1997-98 academic year.
Miami President Edward T. Foote said in a statement that the school accepted the sanctions and would not appeal.
“We make no excuses,” Foote said. “Rather, we rededicate ourselves to offering a program of intercollegiate athletics known not only for its competitive teams, but also for its integrity.”
The NCAA’s pending decision and Miami’s rise in the national football rankings had left the new bowl alliance in a holding pattern.
The 22nd-ranked Hurricanes, who tied for the Big East title with a record of 8-3, were being considered as a possible opponent against Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl.
Under terms of the new alliance, the Fiesta Bowl has the first two picks, followed by the Orange with the third and fifth picks, then the Sugar with the fourth and sixth selections.
Orange Bowl officials, who saw Notre Dame-Miami as an attractive draw and a rematch of a great 1980s rivalry, say the game was far from a done deal.
“All along, Miami was just an option for us,” Orange Bowl spokeswoman Lisa Franson said. “Miami hadn’t been decided. Now, we’ll go with what options we have.”
Those plans probably still include Notre Dame, but now Big East co-champion Virginia Tech or Florida State loom as possible opponents for the Irish.
If No. 2 Florida defeats Arkansas in tonight’s Southeastern Conference championship game at the Georgia Dome, the bowl pieces will start to fall into place.
In that case, the Fiesta Bowl will get its “national championship” game between Nebraska and Florida, and the Orange and Sugar bowls will get alternating choices for the remaining four alliance teams--Notre Dame, Florida State, Virginia Tech and the winner of today’s game between Texas and Texas A&M.;
The big winner in the Miami fallout is Virginia Tech (9-2), which is now guaranteed a spot in the six-team alliance.
Although the Hokies tied for the Big East title and defeated Miami earlier this season, there was a chance they would have been passed over by the alliance because the conference does not have a tie-breaking procedure for determining a champion.
It would have been left to the alliance to choose between the Hokies and Hurricanes, with Miami probably getting the edge because of its tradition and Orange Bowl ties.
Next season, the Big East will have a tie-breaking formula to avoid such a scenario.
The NCAA’s decision also clarified the bowl future for Syracuse which, with Miami eliminated, becomes the Big East’s No. 2 team and is contractually bound to the Gator Bowl, where it will play Clemson.
The sanctions came as no surprise to Miami. The Hurricanes had admitted guilt on six of 10 NCAA allegations at a hearing before the infractions committee Nov. 10.
First-year Coach Butch Davis had hoped the NCAA would make a ruling soon so that the school could take its bowl punishment this season, rather than next.
Scott Covington, a sophomore quarterback from Dana Hills High in Orange County, said the team knew what was coming.
“These sanctions had been spelled out in the media over the past couple of days, so actually the decision was not a great surprise,” he said. “The scholarship reduction will affect our depth, but we did pretty well at the end of season without any depth anyway.”
The NCAA cited the university for a lack of institutional control in its athletic programs.
Three of the allegations involved a Pell grant scandal that prompted a federal investigation and led to the conviction of a former university academic adviser, who admitted falsifying the financial aid applications of 85 athletes.
“The infractions involving the Pell grant fraud was a very serious violation,” David Swank, chairman of the infractions committee, told the Associated Press. “It involved one of their employees who was providing substantial aid to athletes they were not entitled to.”
The committee also said that, from 1986 to 1992, numerous football players received cash awards ranging from $20 to $200 for on-field performances.
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)
A look at the action taken by the NCAA against the University of Miami Athletic Department on Friday:
* Lack of institutional control: Violations included improper distribution of financial aid and extra benefits.
* Improper benefits: From 1986 to 1992, numerous football players received cash awards ranging from $20 to $200 for their performances.
* Drug testing: From 1993 to 1995, permitted three players to compete without being subjected to the required disciplinary measures specified.
* Football program stripped of bowl berth this year.
* Three years’ probation for violations in football, baseball, women’s golf and men’s tennis.
* Loss of 13 new football scholarships for the 1996-97 academic year and 11 for 1997-98.
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)
The Bowl Picture
The situation was beginning to clear up until the NCAA put Miami on probation Friday. Virginia Tech and Syracuse aren’t that upset, however. Official invitations will be announced Sunday.
BOWL GAME: Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Dec. 14, 6 p.m. (ESPN)
Nevada (9-2) vs. Toledo (10-0-1)
BOWL GAME: Aloha
Honolulu, Dec. 25, 12:30 p.m. (ABC)
Kansas (9-2) vs. UCLA (7-4)
BOWL GAME: Copper
Tucson, Dec. 27, 6 p.m. (ESPN)
Utah (7-4) vs. Texas Tech (8-3)
BOWL GAME: Alamo
San Antonio, Dec. 28, 5 p.m. (ESPN)
Michigan (9-3) vs. Texas (9-1-1) or Texas A&M; (8-2)
BOWL GAME: Sun
El Paso, Dec. 29, 11:30 a.m. (CBS)
Washington (7-3-1) vs. Iowa (7-4)
BOWL GAME: Independence
Shreveport, La., Dec. 29, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)
LSU (6-4-1) vs. Michigan State (6-4-1)
BOWL GAME: Holiday
San Diego, Dec. 29, 6 p.m. (ESPN)
Colorado State (8-3) vs. Kansas State (9-2)
BOWL GAME: Liberty
Memphis, Tenn., Dec. 30, 9 a.m. (ESPN)
East Carolina (8-3) vs. Stanford (7-3-1)
BOWL GAME: Carquest
Miami, Dec. 30, 4:30 p.m. (TBS)
Georgia (6-5) vs. North Carolina (6-5)
BOWL GAME: Peach
Atlanta, Dec. 30, 5 p.m. (ESPN)
Virginia (8-4) vs. Auburn (8-3)
BOWL GAME: Sugar
New Orleans, Dec. 31, 4:30 p.m. (ABC)
Florida State (9-2) vs. Texas (9-1-1) or Texas A&M; (8-2)
BOWL GAME: Outback
Tampa, Fla., Jan. 1, 8 a.m. (ESPN)
Penn State (8-3) vs. Arkansas (8-3)
BOWL GAME: Gator
Jacksonville, Fla., Jan. 1, 9:30 a.m. (NBC)
Syracuse (8-3) vs. Clemson (8-3)
BOWL GAME: Citrus
Orlando, Fla., Jan. 1, 10 a.m. (ABC)
Tennessee (10-1) vs. Ohio State (11-1)
BOWL GAME: Cotton
Dallas, Jan. 1, 10:30 a.m. (CBS)
Colorado (9-2) vs. Oregon (9-2)
BOWL GAME: Rose
Pasadena, Jan. 1, 2 p.m. (ABC)
Northwestern (10-1) vs. USC (8-2-1)
BOWL GAME: Orange
Miami, Jan. 1, 5 p.m. (CBS)
Virginia Tech (9-2) vs. Notre Dame (9-2)
BOWL GAME: Fiesta
Tempe, Ariz., Jan. 2, 5:30 p.m. (CBS)
Nebraska (11-0) vs. Florida (11-0)
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