The Miami Hurricanes, a team still waiting for the results on the Nevin Shapiro investigation, decided to cut ties with senior safety Ray-Ray Armstrong, per CBS Sports.
As Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald notes, this ends a tough year of multiple suspensions by Armstrong. The safety was suspended to start 2011 thanks to the Shapiro ordeal, then suspended in November after tweeting about a dinner that raised eyebrows.
Armstrong was cleared of any wrongdoing in the November incident and was looking to make 2012 his coming-out and coming-back party for the Canes after earning the starting free safety spot in the spring.
For Miami, this appears to be a reaction to the late June, early July rumors regarding Armstrong and a Twitter interaction with a booster, as reported by the Miami Herald.
Ultimately, the Canes seem to be cutting bait with a guy who, after running afoul of the NCAA once, does not have the same paralyzing fear of the folks in Indianapolis as the athletic department. Tweeting about dinner with a representative, albeit on the up and up, and then exchanging tweets with a booster are both apparently a bit too much for Miami.
Certainly, most fans will champion Miami for doing the right thing in kicking the kid off the team. I'm not a huge fan of robbing kids of their eligibility for the sake of caution, but I also value the kid's eligibility more than whether a team has to vacate wins retroactively.
The good thing for the Canes is that they are giving Ray-Ray Armstrong two options to help himself out. The senior has the opportunity to remain on scholarship for the academic term to finish his degree. Kudos to them for not throwing the young man to the wolves or forcing him to transfer.
Now, Armstrong has a crucial decision to make: Does he stay at Miami and graduate, or should the safety move on to an FCS school to finish his career? Players like Dez Bryant, Greg Little, Robert Quinn and Marvin Austin have recently sat out their final campaign before going to the NFL, so that is a real possibility.
Armstrong can stay in school, get his degree from Miami now and still work out and get ready for the NFL draft.
However, the difference between Armstrong and the aforementioned players is the amount of tape the NFL has on him. Unlike the listed players, he was not a day one starter who came on the scene and dominated. The former 5-star recruit only has five starts going into 2012, with 134 total tackles and just one interception in his career.
While the tools are clearly visible for Armstrong, the senior is long on talent and short on experience and game tape. 2012 at Miami was going to be about putting together tape that would take him from a talented risk in the early rounds of the draft to a sure-thing starter at the next level by proving he could be a consistent player in the Gables.
Armstrong has a tough choice to make. Ultimately, it's almost a necessity for Armstrong to accumulate more positives on tape and more time on the gridiron.
He needs to prove he is more than just a ball of potential, and the only way he can do that is by getting on the field at the FCS level.