John Wayne is the Duke. Elvis is the King.

John Wayne's Holster: Where Have You Gone Butch Davis?
John Wayne's Holster
Visit my main blog at Monkey Wrench Revival. Visit my birdwatching blog at The Birding Nerd.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Where Have You Gone Butch Davis?

In case you missed it, Miami trounced FIU Saturday by a score of 35-0. But that was not the big story coming from this game. The big story was a brawl – yes, a brawl. And I am not talking about a brawl in the stands between drunkards. I am talking about a brawl on the field between the players.

Then again, if you have been casually following the University of Miami’s football program over the years, you probably assumed the players were involved.

I think this is a travesty. The Hurricanes have the talent to contend for the National title on an annual basis. But they are squandering that potential by poor recruiting decisions and a lack of accountability for their players – both on and off the field. 'Canes fans deserve better.

Brawling, thuggery and general unsportmanship have become the moniker of the Miami football program. It goes all the way back to Jimmie Johnson’s days on the Miami sidelines. Recall the off-field problems Johnson had to deal with at Miami. And of course there was the taunting and arrogance of the Miami team that JJ lead to the 1986 National Championship Game against Penn State. Fortunately, JoePa gave JJ and his thugs a spanking in that game, defeating the UM 14-10.

Miami’s problems have continued over the years. Just last year, Miami players brawled with LSU players after the Peach Bowl. Part of the credit – or more appropriately the shame - must go to the ‘Canes boosters who have encouraged and promoted the so-called bad-boy image. The UM must also bear some responsibility for tolerating it.

Last Saturday’s third-quarter brawl with FIU was sadly just another embarrassing chapter in the Miami Hurricane’s legacy. Someone - whether they be from the NCAA or the Atlantic Coast Conference or the University of Miami - has to put their foot down and put an end to this mess.

Unfortunately, that does not appear to be happening!

I have heard no official statement from the NCAA. To be fair, they may be giving the ACC or the University the opportunity to act first.

OK, so what do the ACC and UM have to say?

ACC commissioner John Swofford swiftly leveled a one-game suspension for all 13 UM players involved. That’s right! ONE GAME!!!! As Swofford stated, "These suspensions send a clear and definitive message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated…"

Surely, you jest!?

These penalties are joke – and a very bad one at that!

The UM then stepped up and announced Monday that one player was suspended indefinitely. As for the rest of the players, UM President Donna Shalala said she was “satisfied” with Swofford’s decision.

This just in: Expect more problems with the University of Miami football program!

In reality, just about every major college football program has experienced its share of problems – both on-field and off-field. How universities choose to deal with these problems is the difference! You either step in and effectively deal with the problem. If that means eliminating the culture leading up to the problem, or removing the problem-maker, then you do it. The goal is to make sure that the problem doesn't happen again. Or if making money and winning football games is the short-term goal, you take the UM approach and simply turn the other way or settle for a slap on the wrist - virtually guarenteeing that more of the same will happen again and again. In the long-run, your football program will implode.

In my opinion, UM is missing a golden opportunity to turn their football program around and shed their bad-boy image. They need to take a number of steps to ensure that this happens – and they need to do it now!

For starters, the players who actively participated in the brawl should be suspended for the remainder of the season or dismissed from the team. Next, UM needs real leadership at the top. Donna Shalala and Larry Coker must go. While I don't beleive the Coker actively calls for or condones this kind of behavior, it is clear that he has lost control of his football team - regardless of what he says. This is not the first time that Miami has been involved in this type of incident on his watch. As for Shalala, she needs to step aside. I don’t know what kind of administrator or leader Shalala is, but if the “leadership” she is displaying in this brawl incident is any indication, she is not a very good one. Miami needs someone to come in and put a new face on the football program. They need a zero-tolerance policy for poor sportsmanship – and that starts with bringing in a no-nonsense coach.

It seems that only Butch Davis was able to run a clean program down there. Maybe the university should consider bringing him back!


At 6:34 PM, Anonymous Roy said...

Good to have you back in the blogosphere Joe! I completely agree. The university, boosters and the players have created this culture at "the U" and now they must deal with it if they are going to be a respectable franchise again. I for one have liked Miami. I rooted for them in the 80's & 90's. The university needs to step in and discipline the coaching staff, athletic director and players if the athletic department refuses to. 1 game is a joke!


Post a Comment

<< Home