Tag:Travis Benjamin
Posted on: August 29, 2011 10:34 am
Edited on: August 29, 2011 10:37 am
 

Golden expects to hear from NCAA within 48 hours

Posted by Chip Patterson

Miami head coach Al Golden has delayed the release of the Hurricanes' week one depth chart due to the eligibility questions surrounding eight current players and potential violations committed with former booster Nevin Shapiro. The school filed the official paperwork to declare the players ineligible late last week, with hopes the NCAA will make a ruling on their eligibility before the Hurricanes' open the season on Labor Day against Maryland.

According to CBSSports.com's Brian London, Golden was on local radio Monday morning and expects to get a ruling by the NCAA "within 48 hours." The new Hurricanes coach did say that he would coordinate with Maryland's Randy Edsall on the official release of the depth chart, but was hoping to learn the fate of the reported eight ineligible players.

Among those eight players reportedly includes senior quarterback Jacory Harris, who has engaged in a fierce position battle with sophomore Stephen Morris. Both players have received praise from coaches and teammates alike for their performances in fall camp, and Golden even described the race as a "dead heat." Harris confidently told reporters at the team's media day on Saturday , but did not elaborate further on the status of the NCAA investigation.

Posted on: August 22, 2011 4:59 pm
Edited on: August 22, 2011 5:34 pm
 

Two Guys and a Podcast: Yahoo's Charles Robinson

Posted by Chip Patterson

Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports joins Gregg Doyel and Will Brinson to talk about the Miami Hurricanes scandal, how long it took him to investigate "the U," whether there are more scandals coming down the pipe, what he thinks of the reaction to his report, Y!'s increased focus on investigative reporting, the process that goes into investigating a huge story like this and much. much more.

Subscribe to Two Guys and a Podcast on iTunes

If you are having trouble seeing the player, you can download the MP3 HERE or CLICK HERE for the Pop-Out Audio Player so you can continue browsing.



Posted on: August 18, 2011 11:58 am
Edited on: August 18, 2011 12:20 pm
 

Statement from Miami AD Shawn Eichorst

Posted by Chip Patterson

Miami athletic director Shawn Eichorst made an official statement on Thursday regarding the NCAA investigation into the football program.

When I accepted the position of Director of Athletics at Miami in April, I not only embraced a new opportunity, but also a new family; a family of Hurricane students, coaches, staff, alumni, faculty and supporters. I know our family is hurting right now and that is what has made the past few days so difficult, upsetting and disappointing for me, as I am sure it has been for many proud Canes.

But these are not times for pity and reflection. All of my efforts and energy are committed to ensuring the integrity of the NCAA investigation, demanding the full cooperation of our employees and student athletes and providing unwavering support to our more than 400 plus student-athletes and more than 150 coaches and staff. Along with our passionate and devoted supporters, they are the true essence of Miami athletics.

There are tough times ahead, challenges to overcome and serious decisions to be made, but we will be left standing and we will be stronger as a result. I understand there are unanswered questions, concerns and frustration by many but this Athletic Department will be defined now and in the future, by our core values, our integrity and our commitment to excellence, and by nothing else. The University of Miami, as an institution of higher learning, is a leader in exploration, achievement and excellence and we will work hard to do our part to live up to that standard.

In my introductory press conference back in April, I asked the community for their unconditional support in our efforts to achieve the goal of excellence. Now, the community, the coaches, the student-athlets and the University have my unconditional support as we move towards a better day. And there will be a better day.


ACC Commissioner John Swofford also offered a statement on the investigation:

"This is exactly why the NCAA has an investigative office in place. While by policy we don't comment on ongoing NCAA investigations, I do know the University of Miami is taking these allegations very seriously and will continue to work jointly with the NCAA to determine the validity of the allegations."

Click here for more coverage on the NCAA's investigation into Miami football
Posted on: August 17, 2011 11:19 am
 

VIDEO: Discussing UM report with Jorge Milian

Posted by Chip Patterson

Miami once again has found themselves in the middle of a massive scandal within the football program. CBSSports.com's Lauren Shehadi discusses the NCAA investigation and the feeling on campus with Jorge Milian of the Palm Beach Post.



Click here for all the latest on the Miami Investigation, and be sure to follow our Miami Rapid Reports
Posted on: August 17, 2011 10:51 am
Edited on: August 17, 2011 1:36 pm
 

Al Golden feels he should have been informed

Posted by Chip Patterson

Tuesday's investigative report into Miami football named 72 former and current football players, coaches, and staff members who either participated in or knew of NCAA violations. One man with no connection to former Miami booster and convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro is current head coach Al Golden.

The Miami team has not been made available to the media, but Golden spoke with reporters before practice on Tuesday and Wednesday morning. The comments, according to CBSSports.com's Brian London, were clearly much different in light of the recent allegations.

"Certainly if [our players] were exposed to Mr. Shapiro, we have to prevent that from happening again moving forward," Golden said. "We have to get the facts. If this guy was around our players, how did it get to that?"

When Golden spoke on Tuesday he confirmed that NCAA investigators were on campus this week looking into alleged claims made by Shapiro. At the time the extent of the allegations was not known, but Golden did say that he was not informed of any possible violations at the time of his hiring - which was done by current Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt. If there was knowledge of the situation, Golden feels that information should have been shared in both the head coach and athletic director transition.

"If they knew this was percolating, I believe they had a responsibility to tell me and to tell [athletic director] Shawn [Eichorst]," said Golden.

Making matters difficult for former athletic director Kirby Hocutt is the official release from the university on Tuesday stating that the University notified the NCAA of Shapiro's allegations "nearly a year ago." Miami asked Shapiro and his lawyers for facts, but Shapiro instead took his claims to Yahoo! Sports and the NCAA.

The challenge now will be to figure out exactly how much of Shapiro's claims were known to the administration that hired Golden. If it can be proven that Hocutt or university president Donna Shalala knew anything remotely close to the details in the Yahoo! report, things could get awkward and potentially legal in Coral Gables.

But for now Golden insists he's happy at Miami, and even suggested that he might have taken the job regardless of possible allegations. That could change should a NCAA investigation result in heavy sanctions against the Miami football program, but we are a long way away from knowing anything certain. Golden admits he's disappointed, but he has all 12 current players named in the report still on the field - preparing for the Hurricanes' season opener against Maryland on Labor Day.

CBSSports.com's Brian London contributed to this report 
Posted on: August 16, 2011 10:04 pm
Edited on: August 16, 2011 11:51 pm
 

Twelve current Miami players named in report

Posted by Chip Patterson

The college football world was rocked on Tuesday with Yahoo! report regarding former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro providing "thousands of impermissible benefits to at least 72 athletes" between 2002 and 2010. While the long-term damage of this report will likely not be settled anytime soon, there are some potential eligibility issues facing the 2011 Hurricanes.

Twelve current Miami players were listed in the report with varying levels of involvement with Shapiro. Among them include quarterback Jacory Harris and three members of the CBSSports.com Preseason All-ACC Team. The school has no comment, and the NCAA is already on campus in Coral Gables, so all we can do is look at the players involved and their alleged associations with NCAA violations.

S Ray-Ray Armstrong, Jr., Sanford, Fla.
Projected 2011 Role: Armstrong finished 2010 as a 2nd Team All-ACC defensive back, and is expected to start at safety along with Vaugh Telamaque. He was named to the CBSSports.com Preseason All-ACC Team and should be a vital piece of the Hurricanes defense.
Allegations: Armstrong, Andre Debose, and Dyron Dye were brought to Shaprio's $6 million mansion on a Friday night for a recruiting pitch that included a tour of the home and a ride in Shapiro's Mercedes. The booster then gave an equipment manager "approximately $2,000 to $3,000 in cash" to show the trio a good time. Booster said he paid for food, drinks, and entertainment for the group on a Sunday, and gave Armstrong one of Sean Taylor's game-worn Miami jerseys.

WR Travis Benjamin, Sr., Belle Glade, Fla.
Projected 2011 Role: As the leading returning receiver, Benjamin is just one of the players looking to step up into Leonard Hankerson's role (1156 yards, 13 TDs) as the go-to Hurricanes receiver. Benjamin pulled in 43 catches for 743 yards and 3 touchdowns in 2010.
Allegations: Shapiro told federal agents on the record that he provided "benefits to an array of Miami players from 2002 to 2010." Benjamin was one of the players named, with Shapiro claiming that the wide receiver visited his home "25 times or more" and received cash "more than one time."

DE/LB Dyron Dye, rSoph., Sanford, Fla.
Projected 2011 Role: Backup defensive end. Saw six games of action as a redshirt freshman in 2010. Al Golden had recently asked Dye to switch to tight end because of depth concerns.
Allegations: Dye was a part of the recruiting pitch with Armstrong and Debose. Shapiro said he came to the house several times, but never received cash or saw the yacht. Only that he received drinks and VIP access at nightclubs with Shapiro.

DT Marcus Forston, Jr., Miami, Fla.
Projected 2011 Role: The anchor of the defensive line. Forston has received praise from teammates and coaches for his effective and speedy recovery after a spring knee injury threatened the start of his 2011 season. When healthy Forston is a force to be reckoned with in the trenches, and was named to the CBSSports.com Preseason All-ACC team.
Allegations: Shapiro alleges Forston and several other Miami players received a dinner at Japanese steakhouse Benihana in 2008, which was followed by drinks, VIP access, and entertainment at The Cheetah strip club.

QB Jacory Harris, Sr., Miami, Fla.
Projected 2011 Role: Where to begin here? Considered a potential Heisman candidate earlier in his career, Harris could have been the face of this rejuvenated Miami team. There was no guarantee he would, in fact he still has to beat out Stephen Morris for the starting quarterback job. Harris' main criticism on the field is his decision making (15 INTs in 2010), and it might end up being his biggest off-field criticism as well.
Allegations: Harris was also named in Shapiro's interviews with federal agents. He alleges Harris came by the house "a number of times" and played in pool tournaments for cash. He also claims Harris benefited from drinks and VIP access at nightclubs on a handful of occasions.

Miami report fallout

WR Aldarius Johnson, Sr., Miami, Fla.
Projected 2011 Role: Johnson's best season at Miami was his freshman year in 2008, pulling in 31 catches for 332 yards and 3 touchdowns. Johnson has been outspoken about using his senior year to recapture that kind of performance. Johnson was limited during spring practice by injury and passed over on the depth chart by LaRon Byrd, but was still hoping to reclaim his spot as a primary member of the Hurricanes receiving corps.
Allegations: Johnson was one of the players involved in the aforementioned evening at Benihana's and The Cheetah strip club, as well as the pool tournaments for cash. Shapiro claims he gifted Johnson money "at least 10 times" ranging from $50 to $300-$400. "I'd say he took a couple grand from me over the course of time," Shapiro told Yahoo! Sports.

CB JoJo Nicolas, Sr., Homestead, Fla.
Projected 2011 Role: After 10 starts and 36 tackles in 2010, Nicolas has changed positions and is expected to be the starting cornerback heading into the season. Miami has several talented youngsters in the secondary, but Nicolas has received praise for adapting to the team's needs in the offseason.
Allegations: Nicolas does not play a big role in Shapiro's allegations, with the booster claiming the defensive back benefited from drinks and VIP access at nightclubs on multiple occasions and was in the booster's mansion "anywhere from 15, 20, 25 times."

DE Adewale Ojomo, rJr., Homestead, Fla.
Projected 2011 Role: Expected to be a reserve defensive lineman this season. Recorded 38 tackles and finished third on the team in sacks (5) in 2010.
Allegations: Shapiro lists Ojomo as another player that benefited from food, drinks, and VIP treatment at clubs as well as a visitor at the booster's home. He also recounted one specific time when Ojomo and a female companion met Shapiro a dinner at Smith & Wollensky, which was provided.

DE/LB Marcus Robinson, Sr., Homestead, Fla.
Projected 2011 Role: Robinson suffered an injury during spring practice, and was also asked to move positions this fall. Robinson was moved from the defensive line (19 tackles, 2.5 sacks in 2010) to linebacker.
Allegations: According to Shapiro, Robinson was also present for the evening at Benihana and The Cheetah strip club. Not considered as close to the booster as others, but Shapiro did say he was in the mansion "once or twice"

LB Sean Spence, Sr., Miami, Fla.
Projected 2011 Role: Spence was 1st Team All-ACC in 2010, and was also named to the CBSSports.com Preseason All-ACC team this week. Head coach Al Golden has frequently complimented the leadership of the seniors, and nearly every time he makes a point to mention Sean's name. Of all the players listed in the report, Spence is arguably one of the most valuable to the 2011 roster.
Allegations: Spence was also listed as a player for the Benihana-to-The Cheetah evening. However, Shapiro listed Spence as "one of the regular guys at my house." He also says the all-conference linebacker took part in bowling outings, where Shaprio "gave him some money."

S Vaughn Telemaque, rJr., Long Beach, Calif.
Projected 2011 Role: Telemaque started 13 games for the Hurricanes in 2010, and is the third leading tackler returning for 2011. Expected to start and play a major role in the Miami defense this season.
Allegations: Shapiro called the one out-of-state product in this group a "laid back" and "chill dude." Telemaque allegedly came by the house and to the clubs "a number of times" and took part in pool games for money.

DE Oliver Vernon, Jr., Miami, Fla.
Projected 2011 Role: The 2010 sack leader among returnees was expected to start on the defensive line. Vernon started 11 games last season, totaling 39 tackles and 6 sacks.
Allegations: In addition to many of the same food, drinks, and entertainment allegations, Shaprio alleges he played a significant role in Vernon's recruitment. The booster claims he hosted Vernon and his parents in his luxury suite for the Miami-FSU game in 2008. Shapiro also made a $1,000 donation to the booster club of Vernon's high school at the solicitation of Vernon's father.

Details of the allegations levied against all current and former Miami student-athletes and staff can be found here, courtesy of Yahoo! Sports


Posted on: July 26, 2011 5:00 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 5:09 pm
 

Miami 'buying in' to Al Golden's new culture

Posted by Chip Patterson

PINEHURST, N.C. - Miami head coach Al Golden is not an unfamiliar character to the college football scene. The former Penn State tight end has surrounded himself with football his entire life, never taking a year off from being a player, graduate assistant, assistant or head coach. But his arrival in Coral Gables to coach the Hurricanes marks his first stop as the head coach of a FBS program, not to mention one with the reputation of Miami.

Golden has no direct ties to the University of Miami, unlike his predecessor Randy Shannon. Shannon played for and coached for the Hurricanes for 21 years, most notably being a starting linebacker on the 1987 championship team. But once promoted to head coach, the Hurricanes began to slide into an uncommon mediocrity. Shannon's recruiting classes were among the best in the country, but his career record was just 28-22. Shannon was a great defensive coordinator for the Hurricanes, and will likely find himself on the sidelines again in the future. But what intangibles will Golden bring to the job to jump-start a sputtering Miami program?

"He's a disciplinarian, but he's a players' coach as well, explained senior center Tyler Horn. "He expects a lot from us, but none of his expectations are out reach. There's no reason we can't do things like go to class, and there is a zero tolerance policy."

Saying things like "going to class" seem foolish is correct, but it's also pretty foolish to be one of the most penalized teams in the nation. Last season, the Hurricanes shot themselves in the foot time and again because of a mental lapse that resulted in a costly flag. Golden is willing to accept a few holding penalties here and there, but the flagrant flags and personal fouls is where the Hurricanes' new coach draws the line. He believes that discipline is a big part of those penalties, and in order to develop proper technique and eliminate those lapses it will take some time and hard effort.

"I'm very process-oriented," Golden said. "I believe in putting my head down and going to work, doing the things that we need to do on a daily basis as an organization to improve."

For the Hurricanes, that process began in spring practice. Former Hurricanes like Michael Irvin traveled down to South Florida to help Golden kick-start the new attitude for Miami football. That hard-nosed attitude continued after spring practice as the Canes went through a rigorous offseason training program. There were horror stories floating around players' circles about guys running and working harder than ever, often pushing themselves to the point of having to stop to vomit. This kind of story happens at football camps everywhere, but it was apparently noteworthy enough to be pointed out by the players. Senior linebacker Sean Spence did not have any puke stories, but he did say on Sunday that he feels the team is in the best shape of their lives right now.

That team, particularly Spence and the senior class, is made up of All-Everything-caliber recruits. It's a class that was heralded upon arrival, but has yet to see a season with double-digit wins. Golden said that he's been through four different regime changes since he started coaching, and more than any other situation, this group of Miami seniors have shown total support for the new staff.

"The seniors are usually the ones that spit you out, who don't buy in, are skeptical and mistrust," said Golden. "This group pretty much has said 'since we got here, here's what we came here to do. We haven't done it, we're running out of time, show us how to get there. We'll do whatever you need us to do.'"

Golden's description of the seniors' attitude echoed the sentiments from Tyler Horn the day before.

"We realized last year 7-6 just wasn't going to cut it," Horn said. "Obviously we were doing something wrong. We realize that now."

So here is their chance. Players like Horn, Spence, Jacory Harris, Travis Benjamin, Harland Gunn, Ramon Buchannan and so many more won't have another chance to accomplish their goals in a Miami uniform. Since 2006, Miami has never even finished higher than 3rd place in the Coastal Division. With Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech looking to break in new quarterbacks and re-stock defenses; Miami could be a dark horse for their first Coastal Division crown in 2011.

Miami has played for, and won, more national championships than any team in the ACC. The only problem is that none of it has happened since joining the ACC. No one expects the Hurricanes to be title contenders in 2011, but competing for a conference crown can certainly be a great start.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com