Congratulations, Al Golden. You’ve worked your way up the coaching ranks, including a stop as linebackers coach at Boston College, and you’ve landed a dream job as head football coach at the University of Miami.
Your likely prize? A massive crackdown from the NCAA, thanks to one of the largest scandals in college football history that took place long before your arrival.
Those rosy cheeks were smiling just a few months ago. Seems like a long time since then, doesn’t it?
An 11-month investigation by Yahoo Sports, facilitated by former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro, found that at least 72 current and former Hurricanes players — including, reportedly, Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork — received impermissible benefits while at the school. Unlike recent headlining scandals that were somewhat isolated to a single player or a handful of star players, such as Reggie Bush receiving money from USC or Ohio State players selling memoriabilia, the Miami scandal is widespread and encompassed nearly every possible activity disallowed by the NCAA.
The alleged gifts include not only the old mainstays of money, cars and jewelry, but also nightclub outings, sex parties and, in one case, an abortion for a woman impregnated by a player.
“Hell yeah, I recruited a lot of kids for Miami,” Shapiro says. “We’re talking about high school football players. Not anybody can just get into the clubs or strip joints. Who is going to pay for it and make it happen? That was me.”
Unfortunately for Golden and the Hurricanes, Yahoo’s Charles Robinson wrote a well-sourced story. It relies on a few unnamed sources, but key individuals like Shapiro and former Miami running back Tyrone Moss went on the record admitting all that took place.
This is what you walked into, Al. After toiling as a position coach at Virginia, BC and Penn State, serving as defensive coordinator at UVA and resurrecting Temple’s dilapidated program, you’ve inherited a team that may have been even dirtier than anyone realized.
The people that pay for it won’t be the ones who are accused of taking gifts or the administrators who apparently stood aside and let it happen. It’s the many players who were in middle school when it all began, and the new squad of coaches with Golden at the helm.
Hope you enjoyed leading Temple to its first bowl game in 30 years, Al, because it looks like it might be the last one you’re allowed to coach in for a while.