Might Miami self-impose another bowl ban and take itself out of the running for the ACC championship game?
According to the Associated Press and several South Florida newspapers, it’s a possibility the Hurricanes will self-impose a second straight bowl ban in an effort to lessen future NCAA penalties related to ongoing investigations.
Here’s an excerpt from that story:
“Such a decision would be an attempt to lessen the impact of whatever sanctions ultimately get imposed against Miami. Those sanctions are likely to be handed down early next year, based on the expectation that the Hurricanes will receive their notice of allegations — in essence, the end of the investigation phase and start of the penalty phase — from the NCAA in the next few weeks.”
The NCAA often goes easier on teams that self-impose penalties, provided they go far enough. North Carolina vacated wins from 2009 and ’10 and reduced nine scholarships for violations that included academic fraud, impermissible agent benefits, participation by ineligible players under Butch Davis, but the NCAA tacked on a 2012 postseason ban and three years’ probation as well. (I mistakenly reported this as a self-imposed ban last week.)
That took the Tar Heels out of contention for the ACC division title and participation in the championship game this year. But would Miami, which is the frontrunner in the Coastal Division with a 4-2 record and only has league games against Virginia and Duke remaining, consider doing the same?
Miami officials, according to the story, will only take action once Miami becomes bowl eligible, a similar tack it took last year when it self-imposed a bowl ban in Al Golden‘s first year. The decision was made by university leaders, athletic administrators and outside counsel, without input from Golden.
But the Hurricanes were 3-5 in the league and in fourth place of the division. This year, they could make their first appearance in the ACC championship game and have a shot at playing in a BCS bowl, in their home stadium no less.
Then again, Miami has four losses already this season with a roster made up mostly of underclassmen. Would the school rather bite the bullet this year in hopes of keeping future postseason hopes alive, when it might be capable of accomplishing more in the postseason, perhaps even in a nationally relevant game?
It’d be an odd move, but take the case of Ohio State, which in the face of NCAA sanctions chose not to self-impose a bowl ban last year when it finished the regular season 6-6 and lost to Florida in the Gator Bowl. The NCAA did it for them this year. Now, the Buckeyes are 9-0 in Urban Meyer‘s first season, with no hopes of winning the Big Ten or playing in the national title game.
If Miami does self-impose a bowl ban, amazingly it would keep Virginia Tech alive in the Coastal race. Removing Miami and North Carolina — the two teams in the division to beat the Hokies — would make the race between Duke (3-2), Virginia Tech (2-3) and Georgia Tech (2-3). The Hokies hold head-to-head tiebreakers over both of them, with a 4-4 champion being a distinct possibility.
If that’s the case, there’s a chance Tech could be 6-6 and qualify for the title game, where a loss would put it under .500. That would normally eliminate a team from bowl contention.
But UCLA was in the same situation last year, playing in the inaugural Pac-12 title game at 6-6 because USC was ineligible. The Bruins filed a waiver with the NCAA to play in a bowl even if they lost to Oregon. They did and were 6-7 but had their waiver granted. They went to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.
It would probably be little consolation for a Hokies fan base despondent over what is turning out to be the school’s worst season in 20 years. But it could be a possibility.
It all depends on Miami’s decision, which could come as early as next week, once the ‘Canes become bowl eligible. As if the Coastal Division race couldn’t get any crazier.