Miami could be without several key players when it heads to Maryland for its season opener on September 5.
At least 13 Hurricane players, including quarterback Jacory Harris, were declared ineligible by Miami, ESPN.com reported Friday. The 13 players in question have been linked to convicted Ponzi scheme mastermind Nevin Shapiro and are under investigation by the NCAA.
Shapiro is serving a 20-year sentence for swindling investors out of $930 billion. Miami coach Al Golden wouldn’t comment on the investigation, but said the university has filed paperwork with the NCAA to expedite things. The Associated Press reported Friday that the university is waiting for a decision on the eligibility of at least eight players.
The move to make the players ineligible was a preemptive one by the Hurricanes to ensure that no games will be forfeited if it has been determined that the athletes received improper benefits from Shapiro.
This move doesn't mean the players won't play against Maryland. If the NCAA moves quickly enough, some or all of the athletes could be made eligible within the week. Former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton was ruled ineligible by the Tigers last season, but reinstated days later and allowed to play on Saturday.
It’s been a trying time for Golden, who left a successful run at Temple and unwittingly walked right into a major scandal at Miami. The coach has put on a brave face publicly.
Said Golden: “What’s evolving right now is the story. The status hasn’t changed really for any of the guys who’ve been identified. The story is kind of growing on itself. It’s magnifying. Other than that we’re doing what we’re doing…90 percent of the guys aren’t impacted by this and none of the staff is impacted by this. So we’re going to continue to move forward and stay focused.”
There has been speculation that Golden would perhaps leave the program if the NCAA were to severely punish Miami for the transgressions. Golden put a halt to that idea.
“I really appreciate the support from all levels that we’re receiving and I’m sure the team does, too,” said Golden. “We’ll get through this. We’ll fight through this. The Hurricanes always have.”
Golden reiterated that he’s there to stay.
“It’s a great place. It’s a top 50 institution. I don’t need to tell you that,” Golden continued. “Clearly, we have some things we have to address and move forward.”