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Golden deserves better from 'Canes in more ways than one


Miami has to let Al Golden out of his contract. That or either extend him out so far that it's hard to see the horizon.

That's the least the school can do for its new coach of a now-embattled program. The current situation is untenable. Golden is now being asked to win during the term of a reported five-year contract worth $10 million. He cannot, will not, if the NCAA is able to prove a fraction of what Yahoo! Sports detailed on Tuesday.

Adjust that contract because either way Miami may not have a football program to coach.

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That doesn't necessarily mean the death penalty. It means it's bad enough to perhaps make Miami wish it had suffered The Big Haircut when the NCAA gets done. What's worse, having a program stripped bare so that it is non-competitive or not having a program at all?

Golden doesn't want to know the answer. Short of that, Miami needs to do the right thing. Golden already said so.

"If they [Miami] knew this was percolating, I believe they did have a responsibility to tell me," he told reporters. "I believe they have a responsibility to tell Shawn [Eichorst, the AD]."

Golden went on to say he's happy, but clearly he is laying some kind of groundwork for future action. No one knows exactly the language in his contract. Miami is a private institution so his agreement isn't public, but there has to be some boilerplate stuff in there about the employer being forthcoming.

Golden's agent, Brett Senior of Wayne, Penn., represents (according to his website) Bill Parcells and several NFL players. He did not return calls seeking comment.

The school obviously was posturing when it issued a statement saying Nevin Shapiro refused to cooperate a year ago when Miami contacted him. That's not good enough. That's when Shapiro made the original allegations. They were only a fraction of what you read on Tuesday.

That's on Miami for not following up. It had a chance to dig down deep on this thing. Shapiro's refusal to cooperate is not an excuse. The Yahoo! reporters worked long and hard to get Shapiro to sit for an interview. They didn't give up. Miami walked away.

"If they [Miami] had hired a private investigator for a day, it would have been the easiest job that guy ever had," Shapiro told Yahoo! "It would have been over in five minutes."

Schools only know what they want to know. That's been proven in case after case. Look at Ohio State, which went from two-game suspension to five-game suspension to firing to "retirement" with Jim Tressel. It's the figurative stiff arm of plausible deniability. What you don't know can't hurt you.

Except that it can. The NCAA has the unique power of asserting you should have known even if you didn't. That's why USC is in the NCAA penalty box. Wasn't it enough for Miami that the out-of-control Shapiro almost punched the school's compliance officer in the press box?

Golden's career is at stake. If he stays under the terms of the current deal, he is almost certain to fail. Five years is not enough. Ten years may not be enough. A raise may not be enough. The dynasty formerly known as The U is going to go away for a while. Get used to it.

Right now, we have what sounds like a disgruntled coach who says his employer of nine months may not have practiced full disclosure. The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the NCAA has been investigating for five months and that Shapiro's access had been approved by former AD Kirby Hocutt. Hocutt left Miami abruptly earlier this year after only three years. Did he know what was coming?

Golden took a job where, at best, he wasn't fully informed and, at worst, misled. The school had to know some of the details in the bomb dropped by Yahoo! If they didn't disclose all they knew, then Golden must be cut free.

Or be given a chance to win far into the future.

Anyone in need of a credential from all the BCS title games? Dennis Dodd has them. In three decades in the business, he's covered everything from the Olympics to Stanley Cup to conference realignment. Just get him on campus in a press box in the fall. His heart lies with college football.

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