7. A Hurricane of a Mess
In the late 1980s and early ‘90s, Miami was the most successful football programs in the nation. But rumors were constantly flying regarding a variety of violations. After the 1994 season, the 'Canes received a one-year bowl ban and a loss of 31 scholarships. What they were caught for was damning enough, but the allegations of other illegal activities going on were even worse.
They were nailed for a huge financial-aid policy scam, improper implementation of the drug testing program and the NCAA also deemed that the university had lost institutional control. A total of 57 players were given excess financial aid, which the feds called, “perhaps the largest centralized fraud upon the federal Pell Grant program ever committed.” Three players were permitted to play after testing positive for illegal substances. And as for that lack of institutional control? Here are just some of the allegations against the program:
- Players were paid for not only touchdowns but also vicious hits.
- Players were invited to drink with coaches.
- They even smoked marijuana with a secretary in the football office.
- Recruits were invited to clubs where alcohol and drugs were provided.
But perhaps Darren Handy, center on the 1994 team, said it best, following the team’s 46-3 destruction of Texas in which the Hurricanes committed a Cotton Bowl-record 16 penalties, including 10 personal fouls: “This might be embarrassing to the university and the coaches, but it's not to the players. We enjoy it."
They enjoyed many of the benefits of being a Hurricane until the NCAA came down hard on the program and The “U” began a decline that lasted until the end of the decade.