Terms such as Convict U and Thug U are just media disguised terms for N***** U and P********** U. The media has fueled the hatred which college football fans across the nation have taken to heart.
The University of Miami should have been a Cinderella story, but instead have become the poster child for unruly behavior.
Where did the hate come from? Why did the media start the frenzy which still haunts the Miami football team until this day?
A little lesson in history perhaps will shed some light on why the U is so viciously despised by the media and college football nation.
Miami has always wanted to be the Harvard of the South. The chancellors at Miami were always jealous of top academic schools such as Duke. The problem was the university did not have the money to become a nationally prominent academic school.
The school was just too small and could not attract the type of faculty needed to become prominent in research and academia.
In 1977, Lou Saban showed promise of turning the football program into a dominant force. He abruptly resigned due to an off-field incident. The regents of the school were ready to drop football, as it had been a financial failure.
Dr. John Greene was able to convince the university to save the program and hired Howard Schnellenberger. The pipe-smoking head coach promised the school would be contending for a National Championship within five years.
The hope was if the football team could start producing on the field, then the university would reap the benefits of financial gain through the team. Not only could the team financially support itself, but it could support other areas of the university, including academia.
With a national brand-name football program, the school could feel the residual effects by becoming a national brand in academics.
Coach Schnellenberger’s task was not easy. He knew the South Florida area was abundant in football talent from all the high schools.
The coach instituted the philosophy of “State of Miami” in his recruiting policy. Basically it stated the U would get all the major talent in South Florida and go after certain talents across the nation.
The major problem was if these kids could get into school. Much of the talent was able to get into school through test scores, but Coach Schnells had to convince the board of regents to take a chance on some kids.
Academically, many kids maybe did not belong in school, but Coach Schnellenberger was willing to give these footballers a chance, as many of them if not for football would become victims of circumstance and become drug dealers and other various sorts of riff-raff.
In 1983, Miami started out slow and was defeated by Florida in the opener. They proved impressive throughout the rest of the year, winning the next 10 games, including a 20-0 rout of media favorite, Notre Dame.
Maybe this is where the hatred began. The team was ranked fifth and by chance because of other teams being obligated to certain bowls; Miami was given the Orange Bowl berth.
The team was supposed to be decimated at the hands of what many was calling the greatest college team ever, Nebraska.
Maybe the media was upset because the game should have been No. 2 Texas, No. 3 Auburn, or No. 4 Illinois playing Nebraska.
Thanks to upsets of Texas at the hands of Georgia, Illinois at the hands of UCLA, and Auburn not looking so good in a 9-7 win over No. 8 Michigan, the voters decided to give the No. 1 ranking to Miami, as no one was supposed to be able to beat the Huskers.
The media could have jumped on the bandwagon and hype up the Cinderella story which was the U. Going from a team almost losing its program to national championship. It could have looked at all the kids from an area torn apart by racial tensions and how the school was able to unite the people of all races: white, black, Hispanic.
The media could have jumped at an opportunity to promote these kids coming from drug-infested communities, one-parent families, welfare culture, and the projects.
Instead, the media fed the hatred for years to come. Terms such as Thug U and Convict U came into college football’s lexicon.
Was the hatred because Miami was not afraid to play anyone, anywhere, anytime as Miami would play top 10 teams year in and year out during the regular season when other teams did not want to face out of conference obstacles toward a National Championship.
Does the hatred come from the fact Miami have four National Championships between 1983-1991? Titles which were reserved for traditional college schools such as Notre Dame, USC, Alabama, Texas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma?
Maybe it is that damn Ibis. Miami call themselves the Hurricanes, but have a bird on the sidelines. That bird is historical as folklore states the ibis shows bravery during an approaching storm.
Other birds look to the ibis for leadership. The ibis is the first to show after the storm passes. Any fan of the U knows Sebastian is an integral part of the college football experience. Those not knowing about the U, just get irritated.
Jimmy Johnson came into the picture and told the guys we are not respected. No matter how the team played, the team was always disrespected. Rules were drawn up year after year designed specifically at Miami.
Coach Johnson used this as fuel to continue to keep his players motivated. Every coach uses different tactics to motivate their teams. So what is the problem?
Let us review the terrible infractions of the U:
1. The brawls
Every brawl has been instigated by opposing teams. Notre Dame was supposed to come out second, but decided to interfere on Miami’s entrance. FSU players decided it was best to stomp on the U at midfield. FIU decided to kick a place holder in the head.
2. Luther Campbell’s pay for play
Let’s see, a rich fan, not an alum or booster, gives money to players for touchdowns, interceptions, and big hits. Yet no one talks about Matt Leinart and how he was able to live in the lap of luxury his last two seasons.
3. Running up the score: Miami 31, Maryland 0
Not the final score, but halftime. Maryland behind Frank Reich came back to win 42-40. JJ was criticized for calling off the dogs and not closing the door.
Since that game, Johnson was not going to suffer similar embarrassments. But yet Steve Spurrier and Tom Osborne were rarely if at all criticized for doing the same things during their respected tenures.
The only time Spurrier was criticized was when he decided to have his squad bury the respected media darling, FSU and Bobby Bowden. Jimmy decided if teams had a problem with his team running up the score, then do something about it.
4. 1991 Cotton Bowl
The team was thoroughly disrespected by Texas in weeks leading up to the game. What, was Miami supposed to roll over and let the big bad Longhorns have their day in the sun?
Maybe the U went a little overboard with the celebrations. But there is no need to revamp NCAA rules, known as the “Miami Rules.”
Why do you think heavily tinted visors are illegal in the NCAA? Thank you Miami. Those cornerbacks could not be that damn good, they were cheating. It is cheating not to allow the wide receivers see the cornerback’s eyes.
C’mon now, NCAA and the media, don’t you think your reaching a little here. Gotta love how the NCAA put the spin on it, it's because the trainers could not see players' eyes during injuries.
5. 1987 Fiesta Bowl
The U shows up in fatigues as if to say they were going to war. Any other team would be given a pass as it showed unity and a war mentality. But the U was criticized as usual.
At the ensuing pregame dinner, Miami players were put off by offensive skits by the Penn State players and decided to leave. Wow. What a major reason to drop the football program.
6. Pell Grant Scandal
This was a big one. This was a serious infraction and cost the University more bad press, bowl games, sanctions, and scholarships.
7. 7th Floor Crew
Oh no, a bunch of black kids rapping and spewing out sexual lyrics to the beat of an Aaliyah song. Wow. The U needs probation and sanctions.
Sounds to me the media were having an off day for news or needed some fuel to incite a little more hatred.
How dare those boys down in Miami disrespect the hard fought traditions of college football by being too damn arrogant? How dare they celebrate a victory, a touchdown pass, sack, interception, long run touchdown, or blocked punt?
The U is just too damn arrogant and is disrespectful. Any other school it is confidence, when the U does it, its arrogance.
Every team has had issues. USC is currently on probation for early decade infractions. North Carolina and Florida are the next two being investigated.
The Sean Taylor tragedy hit the U hard, from the student body, to the alumni, to the fans. Sean had been with the Washington Redskins for a few years, but yet the media kept constantly saying how troubled Taylor was, especially during his days at the U.
The media wanted sanctions and the U to be investigated, but yet when a punter on the USC roster died, it was viewed as an isolated incident and USC did not feel the wrath.
When Michael Irvin went on trial for cocaine, the Cowboys felt the scorn, but so did the University of Miami, even though Irvin had been in the NFL for eight years.
Compiling research for the U arrest record, many players either had been arrested after playing for the Hurricanes, i.e., Sam Shields or Michael Irvin, or before they came to the U, i.e., Willie Williams.
More Notre Dame players have been arrested in the last week, 11, than Miami in the past 10 years. But yet, Notre Dame, being one of the good ole boys of college football, will never become Convict U, neither will Texas, USC, or Florida.
I expect the hatred to come and it will come from those who constantly want to view Miami as the rogue scum of the college football world.
Either those with envy, those with hate in their heart, or just the same old tired story of Convict U or Thug U, will continue to despise the U no matter how respectful Miami plays on or off the field. The hate gets really old really fast.
The best the U, no matter who plays or coaches, can do is go out on the field week after week and play up to the winning standards set by those great teams and not give a damn what others think of the Hurricanes.
The haters and the media are going to hate, no matter what Miami does academically, through research, or on the field.
Because remember, Its ALL About the U.