Miami’s Golden addresses NCAA investigation

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For the first time since it was reported late Sunday night that the NCAA would be in town to investigate the claims of a former booster, Miami has addressed what could be a potentially serious situation for the football program.

And, to his credit, Al Golden did not shy away from the questioning and answered the queries as best he could.

Golden, who was not head coach during the time convicted felon Nevin Shapiro allegedly provided current and former Hurricanes players with impermissible benefits, told UM beat writers that Miami actually began an internal investigation into the allegations before the NCAA came to town.  Golden said he just recently learned of the NCAA’s interest in the allegations, but that he has not yet spoken to The Association.  Golden also emphasized the fact that these alleged violations occurred well before he landed the job at Miami, although he wouldn’t identify any specific players currently on the roster who may be of interest to the NCAA.

“I just found out,” Golden said. “Clearly there was some articles yesterday. But in terms of contact with NCAA, I haven’t had any. Our [athletic director] and President have. Other than that, it’s a joint effort, a cooperative effort. Once we learned of allegations, we want to make sure we’re doing our due diligence and cooperate with the NCAA on this. …

“I’m out of it. I’ll be completely out of it.  We want it that way. It’s unfortunate. It’s hard for me to stand up here and defend something that occurred three, four, five, six years ago. Again, my record with the NCAA, our staff’s record, our commitment to the student-athletes since we’ve been here speaks volumes for itself.”

The complete talk with the media can be viewed by clicking HERE.

The purpose of the visit by the NCAA Monday was to investigate claims made by Shapiro that numerous former and, most importantly, current members of the Hurricanes football program had committed major NCAA violations.  Specifically, Shapiro has alleged that he had given, the Miami Herald wrote Monday, “gifts and services – such as use of a yacht – to former Hurricane football players while they were attending UM.”

Shapiro was convicted of running a $930 million Ponzi scheme that left upwards of 60 victims with losses totaling over $80 million.  He was sentenced in June to 20 years in federal prison, and has been ordered to repay $82.7 million, which is partly the reason why he’s writing a book concerning the allegations he’s made against The U football program.

After Shapiro donated nearly $150,000 to the university, a players lounge was named in his honor at the school.  Upon his arrest in April of 2010, however, Shapiro’s name was stripped from the lounge and the university returned just over $130,000 of his donation.

In addition to Golden speaking on the issue, the school also released a statement.

“When Nevin Shapiro made his allegations nearly a year ago, he and his attorneys refused to provide any facts to the University of Miami. The University notified the NCAA Enforcement officials of these allegations. We are fully cooperating with the NCAA and are conducting a joint investigation.”

As the university cooperates with The Association, Golden has just one thing to ask of his players — tell the truth.

“There’s only one way to move here, to be honest,” Golden said

VIDEO: UCF head coach Scott Frost shows off wheels running the option as scout team QB

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In terms of accomplishments as a college football player, few coaches have the resume of Scott Frost.

After all, the now-UCF head coach won a national title back in 1997 with Nebraska and compiled a 24-2 record as a starter with the Cornhuskers. What made him so dangerous? Well, he was the perfect fit for the team’s triple option offense and was one of the best in terms of using his arm and his legs in leading the team to all those wins.

“I love option football,” Frost told the Associated Press “I lived it. I feel like option quarterbacks now are kind of like giant pandas, they only exist in zoos and military academies now.”

That’s particularly relevant this week, as his Knights are set to play Navy on Saturday in a huge AAC matchup that will have an impact on who receives this year’s Group of Five bid. Given how well the boss is at running the option, it seems he decided to put on a helmet and run the scout team offense to better prepare his defense for what they’ll see out of the Midshipmen and signal-caller Zach Abey.

From the looks of things, Frost still has it even if he’s got 20 years on his players.

Ohio State reportedly opting for all-gray alternate uniforms for Penn State game

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Recruiting never stops, even for a blue-blood like Ohio State. That’s one reason why the team is reportedly set to go with an all-gray alternate uniform for the team’s biggest game of the year when Penn State rolls into Columbus.

Team site Eleven Warriors posted that they have obtained images of the retail uniforms the Buckeyes are set to wear, which includes a top that is completely gray with only a sliver of scarlet for the team’s logo on the chest:

OSU opting for alternate uniforms in big games is nothing new for the program under Urban Meyer, especially since a new Nike deal kicked in a while back. They donned some for the Michigan game last season and have worn several versions in other contests. This latest monochrome look, which is still a report and subject to change mind you, still seems a bit bland all things considered.

If nothing else, it could make things very hard for the broadcasters despite all eyes being on the horseshoe for one of the most important Big Ten games of the year.

ESPN apologized to Washington over cupcake stunt during broadcast

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It seems that budding feud between ESPN, Washington and Huskies head coach Chris Petersen is starting to die down just a bit.

ESPN has apologized to the school for a stunt on a broadcast two weeks ago during the Washington-Cal game, in which commentators took the team’s weak non-conference schedule to task and used literal cupcakes to represent the Huskies’ opponents during the first few weeks of the season.

“I felt more like that was such a disrespectful move for the people we play,” athletic director Jen Cohen told the Seattle Times. “For those that do this, we do this because we love the kids. These are somebody’s sons, somebody’s brothers. They’re 18- to 22-year-old kids, and so I was more offended, not for us, as I was for our opponents.

“It was a class act (to apologize), and he made the right call.”

According to the Times, Cohen received a call from Peter Derzis, ESPN’s senior vice president of college sports programming and events, offering the apology.

As nice as the mea culpa was from ESPN, Cohen and Petersen were probably even more elated to hear the news that their October 28 game against UCLA was slated to be televised at 12:30 p.m. PT after an oft-criticized string of night games that made the head coach quite ornery last week. It might not make up for the fact that the team lost to Arizona State on Saturday but there are definitely a few baby steps being taken to repair the relationship between the school and one of the Pac-12’s primary broadcast partners.

Athletic director Tom Jurich officially fired by Louisville board

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It’s official: Tom Jurich is out as Louisville’s athletic director.

The Cardinals board of directors voted 10-3 to oust the embattled AD on Wednesday afternoon, completing a pair of sweeping changes in the department following the growing college basketball scandal that has enveloped the school. Once one of the most powerful people in college athletics, Jurich was fighting to remain in his job ever since he was placed on administrative leave after the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York announced details of a wide-ranging investigation.

Vincent Tyra will continue to serve as acting athletic director until a permanent hire is made.

Perhaps the biggest effect on the football program following Jurich’s ouster is on the contract of Cardinals head coach Bobby Petrino. Notably, his buyout is set to be halved if Jurich was ever fired… which means it could be more likely he leaves the school this offseason for another job. Given potential openings such as Tennessee, it’s not out of the question that the halving of the buyout will come into play for some schools if the dominoes fall in the right way to allow somebody to hire Petrino away.

Oh, and for those wondering, yes that is indeed the Papa John of the pizza chain fame who voted to fire Jurich on Wednesday.