The Miami Hurricanes have declared eight of its players ineligible for breaking NCAA rules associating with booster Nevin Shapiro.
Under NCAA rules, Miami had to make the players ineligible in order to start the reinstatement process. If the Hurricanes refused to take this step and the players were found to have violated rules, the University of Miami would be forced to forfeit any wins earned with those players on the field.
Considering it has a game Sept. 5 against Maryland, all Miami can do now is hope the NCAA handles this situation in a timely manner. Although it could take a while considering each players case is handled individually and the NCAA determines when each player can play again, if at all.
These punishments stand separate from that issue that involves the University and Shapiro.
Looking at the big picture, this is going to affect the seniors the most—players like quarterback Jacory Harris, receiver Travis Benjamin, cornerback JoJo Nicolas and linebacker Sean Spence.
Out of these four seniors, it will effect Harris the most if in fact the NCAA rules he has to miss significant time. Harris has thrown for over 6,000 yards and 50 touchdown passes in his career. However, scouts question many things, including his size and decision making with the football. His senior season was more important than anybody's if he wanted any chance to play in the NFL.
All of the other players are either going to have a place in the NFL or have remaining years of eligibility.
For the team, this is a huge blow as well.
You lose your starting quarterback, who has the most experience on the depth chart. You lose your big play receiver, Travis Benjamin, who is also your electrifying punt and kick returner. You lose Sean Spence, one of the best linebackers in the ACC, and senior corner JoJo Nicolas, now being replaced by a freshman.
"We're just coaching the team, trying to move the team forward," head coach Al Golden said. "We'll make sure we practice enough guys because we really don't know what the future brings, and hopefully we'll find out pretty quickly here in the near future if there are any penalties or suspensions and we'll adjust accordingly."
It's safe to say if Miami had any chance to win the ACC, it's gone now.
What this does to the ACC is still up in the air. You still have your powerhouses in Virginia Tech and Florida State, with teams like Maryland, Boston College, and North Carolina on the rise. These teams can hold over the conference until Miami gets back on their feet.
We'll have a better answer to that once we find out what happens to the University.
But this is not a good situation for a team that was moving in the right direction.
The troubled part is, it's only the beginning.