THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1995, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Thursday, August 31, 1995 TAG: 9508260490 SECTION: FOOTBALL '95 PAGE: Z17 EDITION: FINAL TYPE: COLLEGE FORECAST SOURCE: BY STEVE CARLSON, STAFF WRITER LENGTH: Medium: 65 lines
Rap sheets for players, rap singers run amok, a reputation for taunting and showboat players - the Miami Hurricanes are used to being in the eye of the storm.
But there's a new ill wind blowing off the coast of Miami football. Hurricane NCAA seems destined for landfall in Coral Gables. Miami could take a big hit for Pell Grant fraud, pay-for-play schemes and impropriety in the athletic department's drug-testing program.
There's no telling when the sanctions, if there are any, will be handed down. Miami turned its internal report into the NCAA in mid-summer and has asked that it be acted upon quickly. It's possible the NCAA gumshoes could bring to a halt Miami's string of 12 consecutive New Year's Day bowls as early as this season.
``That's a problem we're going to have to face,'' Miami middle linebacker Ray Lewis said. ``I can't sit here and tell you I'm going to be able to block it out, because I can't. That's something everyone on the team is going to deal with, although nobody on the team right now had anything to do with all that stuff.''
Maybe not, but the current Hurricanes aren't altar boys. The Miami Herald reported this spring that one of every seven scholarship players on last year's team had been arrested while at Miami.
Then there's the flap with rap singer Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew. Campbell had threatened to sing to the NCAA about enough violations to bring down the program if his choice for starting quarterback, Ryan Collins, didn't win the job.
``It was a good laugh,'' is how center K.C. Jones said the 'Canes reacted to that one. Collins was named the starter last week by first-year coach Butch Davis.
Presumably the NCAA is not laughing at charges that Campbell and former Hurricanes offered incentive payments for big plays.
Into this fray steps Davis, who insists he knew about almost everything he was getting into. The exception was the possible coverup of drug test results, which surfaced in connection with Warren Sapp after Davis was hired.
Davis served five years in the 1980s as a Miami assistant under Jimmy Johnson and then followed Johnson to the Dallas Cowboys, where Davis has been defensive coordinator the past two seasons.
Davis ``has a reputation as a straight arrow,'' noted Sports Illustrated in its June cover story explaining why Miami should shut down football program.
Davis said he was sad when he saw the SI article. ``Seventeen years of hard work and dedication it has taken to get Miami to the level it's at was basically tarnished in one week,'' Davis said. ``That will be one of our biggest challenges this fall - to block out distractions.''
Davis has committed himself to not only maintaining Miami's winning tradition, but to change a few other traditions - like berating opponents and the frequency of run-ins with the police. Davis has vowed there will be fewer shenanigans, both on and off the field.
``I think probably the saddest part of this job is the public perception outside the fishbowl,'' Davis said. ``We're going to do everything we can to change that perception.'' MEMO: Special Section
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