With last week's win over Virginia Tech, Miami is now the frontrunner to win the ACC Coastal Division title. The Hurricanes were picked by many to finish fifth in the division in the preseason but have recorded a 4-2 record in ACC play so far and have two very winnable games remaining - at Virginia and at Duke. Although Miami has a chance to win a BCS bowl this year, the looming sanctions from the Nevin Shapiro investigation are hanging over this program.
Should Miami Self-Impose a Bowl Ban for 2012?
Ryan Tice (@RyanTice), TheWolfpacker.com
Miami imposed a bowl ban on themselves last season, and there is absolutely no way they should do that to their players and coaches again this year. It had to be devastating for the players to sit out the postseason after getting to six wins in 2011, and the team promptly dropped their season finale to Boston College after the decision was announced.
This year, they are two conference wins away from clinching a berth in the school’s first ACC Championship game, and they are also on the verge of their first postseason trip under coach Al Golden. An appearance in the ACC Championship game and a big-time bowl, even if it eventually costs a postseason trip in the future — which is no guarantee — can be a boost for the entire program; nothing good can come from a second-straight year of watching the postseason from home.
David Fox (@DavidFox615):
If there’s no deadline, Miami should let the season play out before making a decision. If the Hurricanes are eliminated from their first ACC championship game, go ahead and take the bowl ban, which would likely result in a second- or third-tier bowl anyway. That’s hollow and obvious and a public relations problem, but that’s not a horrible course of action. Impose the bowl ban now, and Miami may cost itself a trip to the Orange Bowl and critical momentum for Al Golden’s program. Don’t impose it at all, and Miami’s just prolonging the inevitable. Do you think Ohio State would have preferred to take a bowl ban last season if there was a chance the Buckeyes would be eligible for this postseason?
Braden Gall (@BradenGall):
I am torn on this one. No, the kids out there fighting each and every Saturday to win the ACC Coastal had nothing to do with paying players to go to Miami over the last 10 years (or any of the other atrocities reported by Charles Robinson and Nevin Shapiro). However, the outlandish and garish style with which The U directly violated NCAA rules reeks of something much bigger than one diminutive hanger-on. How could powers that be inside and out of the University not have known about Shapiro? In that sense, watching Miami potentially play in a BCS bowl feels wrong. There isn't a good answer to this one and should the Hurricanes finish with the right to play in the ACC title game, the bowl ban punishment would fit the crime in my opinion.
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven):
With Miami on the doorstep of its first ACC Coastal title, the athletic department and administration have a huge decision to make. There’s no question the Hurricanes are going to get hit hard by NCAA sanctions. The penalties are expected to be announced sometime in the spring of 2013 and a bowl ban is likely to be included. Miami self-imposed a bowl ban last season and it has to be on the table for consideration at the end of this year. Although taking a bowl ban isn’t a bad idea to soften the blow from the NCAA, the Hurricanes should play in the postseason in 2012. If Miami does win its first Coastal title, the players and coaching staff deserve to reap the benefits and play for the ACC Championship in Charlotte. Also, even though most expect the sanctions will be harsh, what if they aren’t? Predicting the future with the NCAA is always difficult, which makes this a tricky situation for Miami. The Hurricanes have to be worried about what happens in the future, but there’s a little momentum building behind coach Al Golden and this year’s team. However, taking a bowl ban would only be another setback for a program that is just 18-16 over the last three years.
If Miami beats Virginia and Duke, the Hurricanes will represent the Coastal in the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte, N.C., and they just need one more win over their last three games to become bowl eligible. Considering any bowl ban for this season would come from the university itself, and not the NCAA, I think the powers that be at "The U" would best be served by deciding against such a strategy. The chances are highly likely that the 'Canes will receive a number of NCAA sanctions and penalties, including some form of a postseason ban, stemming from the investigation into the alleged recruiting violations related to Nevin Shapiro. Even though a self-imposed bowl ban would be an attempt to mitigate the NCAA's pending punishment, I think in this case it would do more harm than good to the program and its fan and alumni base, considering the position the Hurricanes find themselves in. If Miami wins the Coastal, not only would it play in the ACC Championship Game, it would then have a chance to earn a spot in a BCS bowl, and the other benefits associated with that. Even should the 'Canes lose in the ACC title game, they will undoubtedly receive an invitation to one of the conference's better bowls based on their second-place finish. Look, at some point the hammer is going to fall on the football program once more. There's really no reason I see for the school to be the one to swing it first, especially considering how this season could play out.
Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman):
I do not think so; unless the administration at Miami has a very solid indication from the NCAA (good luck getting a clear picture from them) of how much a self-imposed ban in 2012 would lessen sanctions in the future. The Hurricanes may have an uncertain future with the ongoing investigation, but their current standing is atop the Coastal Division with Virginia and Duke left on the league schedule. Miami has a chance to play in its first-ever ACC Championship Game, and an upset over Florida State or Clemson would equal a BCS/Orange Bowl berth. The Hurricanes imposed a bowl ban last year, and the administration should let Al Golden and his players have a shot at a big-time bowl this season.
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