Even Sebastian the Ibis had run-ins with the law
The Miami Hurricanes teams of the 1980s forever changed college football. Their rough and tumble, in-your-face style exuded an ultimate form of confidence. This, which became known as swagger, helped take a troubled team from a small private school in South Florida from doormat to superpower seemingly overnight.
On their climb to the top, the Canes' players developed into a family and created a culture that became "The U Family" vs. the World. They believed in themselves and played for one another. The Hurricanes played with raw emotion and intensity and were encouraged by their coaches, particularly Jimmy Johnson, to be themselves at all times.
Problems arose, however, as players began to stretch the limits of what it meant to "be yourselves." Some seemed to take the advice to mean players were free to do whatever they wished—when they wished.
Throughout the late '80s, arrests began accumulating. Then there were accusations that Luther Campell (a.k.a. Uncle Luke of 2 Live Crew), a friend of the program, was organizing a pool that paid out to players for things like scoring touchdowns and recording sacks. Campbell has all but admitted he took a part in this.
There were rumors that bounties were placed on players from opposing teams. "Hit pools" were organized and money was collected from current and former players to be dished out to whoever laid the biggest hit in a given game. Former Hurricanes linebacker and head coach Randy Shannon is alleged to have held the money for the hit pool.
The Canes also became famous for their post-play celebration. However, following a 46-3 beatdown of Texas in the 1991 Cotton Bowl (where the Canes racked up over 200 yards worth of penalties), the "Miami Rules" were instituted, which essentially banned players from having fun while playing a game.
The program was hit with major sanctions in the mid 1990s. The NCAA forced the Canes to reduce football scholarships and sit out two bowl seasons after an employee in Miami's athletic department scammed the United State government by fraudulently filling out Pell Grant loan forms for players and taking a commission in the process.
There have been several shootings involving what were former and current Hurricane players. The most notable are the murder of Canes defensive tackle Bryan Pata and the murder/robbery of former Cane and Redskins safety Sean Taylor. Whether or not these incidences have anything to do with football, they cast a bad light because of the reputation that Miami has built over time.
The brawl with FIU in 2006 was a major black eye for the Hurricanes program. What was suppossed to be a friendly game between local teams turned ugly, leading to the suspension of 31 players (18 for FIU, 13 for Miami). President Donna Shalala looked on in horror as safety Anthony Reddick swung his helmet and current Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather attempted to stomp FIU players.
The brawl led to the firing of Larry Coker and the hiring of Randy Shannon, who proceeded to completely clean up the program. Since 2007, Miami has had only one player arrested. That dubious honor belongs to Robert Marve, who has since been kicked off the team and transferred to Purdue.
A negative reputation is hard to shed. The Miami Hurricanes have been, at the same time, good and bad for college football. Randy Shannon did a great job of cleaning up the program's image. Al Golden's mission is to continute instilling discipline both in the classroom and on the field.
But sometimes, it's cool to be bad. And the bad boy image is something that Miami's student body absolutely loves to embrace.
For now, they're still Thug U. As long as the players aren't getting arrested, it's not necessarily a bad thing. It's a respect thing. Because there is no badder team in the history of college football than the Canes.
They just need to get back to playing like it on the field.