New book to allege major Miami violations; NCAA on standby

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Far enough removed from the roaring eighties and nineties to make it seem like they were nothing but strangely entertaining visitors from a distant planet, the Miami Hurricanes have done a remarkable job over the past few years reshaping their off-field image, even as they have yet to come even remotely close to duplicating the on-field success of the halcyon days of the football program.

For all of the flak Randy Shannon has taken for his won-loss record, his police record and the way his players conduct themselves both on and off the field have been a stark contrast to Jimmy Johnson‘s ‘Canes.  Now, after all of the polishing done to the brand by Shannon and company, it appears someone with both a connection to the program and a sordid past is looking to tarnish what’s been gradually built over the years.

Former UM booster and convicted criminal Nevin Shapiro, the Miami Herald writes, is writing a book about the UM football program in which he alleges former Canes players committed major NCAA violations.

Shapiro spoke to the Herald from a jail in New Jersey, where he is awaiting sentencing next month on a $900 million Ponzi scheme that reportedly left upwards of 60 victims with losses totaling $80 million.  While Shapiro refused to go into the violations contained in the first draft of a book titled The Real U: 2001 to 2010: Inside the Eye of the Hurricane, he did identify players such as Jon Beason, Devin Hester, Antrel Rolle, Randy Phillips, Robert Marve and Kyle Wright as former ‘Canes he was close with.

Additionally, Shapiro claimed he was close with with Clint Hurtt, Miami’s former recruiting coordinator and assistant coach who left for a job at Louisville this offseason.

Shapiro has been lauded by as recently as five months ago for a $150,000 contribution he made for the university.  Now, the businessman is looking to tear down something he was once a part of, due in part to what seems like hurt feelings brought on by players blowing him off once they left The U for the NFL.

“This will be a tell-all book from a fan and booster perspective,” said Shapiro, who did not attend UM. But why write a book that will hurt UM?

“I want to make the average fan aware of what really exists under that uniform,” he said. “They might be great players, but they’re certainly not great people. I’m speaking of no less than 100 former players.” 

Shapiro, 41, is angry because “once the players became pros, they turned their back on me. It made me feel like a used friend.” He was motivated by “heartbreak and disappointment on behalf of the university, which I considered to be an extended part of my family.”

The NCAA is aware that allegations are forthcoming from Shapiro, but will not decide whether an investigation will be launched until they get their hands on the specific claims Shapiro will make.  “When reasonably reliable information has been obtained indicating intentional violations may have occurred, the enforcement staff will undertake a review of the information in order to determine the credibility,” NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn said when asked if they would act on the claims of a person serving time.

Shapiro hopes to have his book published by December.  Until then, it appears a shadow will be looming over a football program that, according to some, are on the verge of bursting back onto the national title chase scene this season.

Way to cast a pall, Shapiro.  Nice going.

UAB to hire ex-NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer as head coach

Matthew Diggs/USA TODAY NETWORK
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UAB has hired former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer as its next head coach on the eve of his high school team’s state championship game, the university’s athletic director announced.

The 50-year-old Dilfer won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens in 2000 during a 14-year NFL career. He’s making a big leap to the college ranks after leading Lipscomb Academy in Nashville, Tennessee, to three state title games in four seasons as head coach.

That includes one scheduled for Thursday morning against Christ Presbyterian Academy, meaning Dilfer would have to hustle back to Chattanooga after his introductory news conference. He takes his first college job with lofty ambitions for a program set to leave Conference USA for the American Athletic Conference starting next season.

“Having the opportunity to lead such a quality program like UAB is one that I am beyond excited about,” Dilfer said in the school’s news release. “The investments the university has made for UAB football aligns with my vision of taking this program to new heights as we join the American Athletic Conference and compete annually for the highest prize of playing in the College Football Playoff.”

A former first-round draft pick for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1994, Dilfer retired in 2008 and went into broadcasting, working for ESPN as an NFL analyst until 2017.

At the same time, Dilfer became involved in the Elite 11 quarterback camp for the top high schools prospects in the country.

Lipscomb Academy, a private Christian school, is 12-0 this season and 25-1 the past two years. Dilfer has led Lipscomb to a 43-10 record overall.

“Trent is a proven winner on and off the field at all levels and will be a tremendous leader for our program,” UAB athletic director Mark Ingram said. “He is a Super Bowl-winning quarterback who played the game at its highest level for many years, and he has coached some of the top quarterbacks who are currently NFL franchise players.

“Trent’s goals and vision for our program is to lead UAB to the College Football Playoff and we have no doubt that he is the right coach to lead our transition in the American Athletic Conference.”

Early in the 2021 season, Dilfer issued a public apology after a video on social media showed him pushing and shouting at one of his players. The player was the son of a former NFL teammate of Dilfer’s, kicker Phil Dawson.

Dilfer replaces Bill Clark, who stepped down in August, citing back issues.

Offensive coordinator Bryant Vincent was named interim coach and led the Blazers to a 6-6 record this season. UAB is set to play Miami (Ohio) on Dec. 16 in the Bahamas Bowl.

No terms were announced pending formal approval of Dilfer’s contract from the Board of Trustees.

UNC’s Drake Maye rides star-making season into ACC title game

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Drake Maye has put up big numbers all season for No. 24 North Carolina. Now he has a chance to lead the Tar Heels to something more: an Atlantic Coast Conference championship.

The second-year passer has played so well that he stirred national buzz as a potential Heisman Trophy candidate. Those hopes dwindled after two straight losses for some late-season adversity, but he can still lead the program to its first ACC title in more than four decades against No. 10 Clemson in Charlotte.

“It’s just literally a dream of going out in an NFL stadium, playing against a team the caliber of Clemson – it gets you anxious,” Maye said. “At the end of the day, it’s why you play the sport of football.”

North Carolina (9-3, 6-2 ACC) opened the season with uncertainty about how much they’d get at quarterback after the departure of star quarterback Sam Howell to the NFL. But Maye beat out Jacolby Criswell in a preseason position battle, then looked nothing like a youngster in his first season as a starter.

He leads the Bowl Subdivision ranks in total offense (373.0 yards per game) and is tied for fourth in FBS with 35 touchdown passes, just two behind national leaders C.J. Stroud of Ohio State and Clayton Tune of Houston.

Maye has also thrown just five interceptions on 440 attempts – a rate of 1.1% in an aggressive offense that pushes the ball downfield – and leads his team in rushing yards.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney knows plenty about Maye. The Tigers recruited him out of Huntersville, a town about 20 minutes north of Charlotte. Swinney said he expected Maye would end up with the Tar Heels as an instate product.

Maye did so after reversing a commitment to Nick Saban at Alabama.

“He is a very creative player, and a very confident and poised player,” Swinney said.

Maye led UNC to its first-ever 6-0 road record this season – all by seven or fewer points – and the last Coastal Division title in the league’s final year in the two-division format with a win at Wake Forest. But the Tar Heels have followed with losses to Georgia Tech on Nov. 19 and rival North Carolina State.

Those losses were the only games this season Maye hasn’t thrown at least two scoring passes.

Offensive coordinator Phil Longo pointed to N.C. State’s veteran defense giving alternating looks to Maye. Sometimes it was applying more rush pressure to force Maye to get the ball out of his hands. Other times, it was dropping eight players into coverage to force Maye to be patient without as many deep looks.

“Our successful drives, I thought we did a great job of being patient,” Longo said. “And on the drives where we didn’t, I thought we weren’t patient. Maybe we forced a ball or we didn’t adjust our route the way we need to or hit the run where we needed to.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we get some of that from Clemson,” Longo continued. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we see that more in the future because it’s a way to maybe minimize explosive plays.”

UNC hasn’t won an ACC title since 1980, back when eventual NFL star Lawrence Taylor was the Tar Heels’ All-American linebacker. That was three years before Maye’s father Mark began his career as UNC’s quarterback and eight years before Mack Brown‘s first coaching tenure began in Chapel Hill.

If Maye can lead the Tar Heels past the Tigers, he’ll have a championship run of his own to brag about with his brothers.

One older brother, Cole, was part of Florida’s run to the NCAA baseball title in June 2017. That came roughly three months after another brother, Luke, hit the last-second jumper to send UNC to the Final Four and ultimately win the NCAA men’s basketball title on the way to becoming an unexpected star.

“Team success at the end of the day is what counts in the family, that we brag about,” Maye said. “So I think an ACC championship, that’s a pretty big deal.”