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SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
10/16/2006 03:04:00 PM

One-Game Suspensions? That's a Riot

brawl
A brawl of this magnitude deserves more than just a one-game suspension.
Marc Serota/Getty Images
I've been doing this Blog for about three months now, and what I'm about to write may qualify as my first true Angry Blog Post. I can't help it. I'm ticked.

While sitting at my gate at Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport this morning, I noticed that CNN Headline News was showing the clip of the Miami-FIU brawl seemingly every 10 minutes, as a news story, as a sports story and as a tease going into commercial. I watched as many of the travelers around me -- from businessmen to grandmothers to foreign tourists -- turned and looked, several of them gaping in amazement. And I realized that for most of these people, who may or may not even be sports fans, this was probably their only glimpse into college football this weekend -- perhaps even this season.

They didn't experience the thrill of a prime-time SEC showdown at Jordan-Hare. They have no idea 100,000 people packed into Beaver Stadium to cheer an American icon. They're not privy to the sheer joy felt on the campuses of Vanderbilt and Indiana following monumental upsets. All they know is that two college teams in South Florida staged a full-scale street riot in the middle of a football game.

Saturday night's fiasco was a complete disgrace to college football -- but that's only part of the reason I'm so angry. No, I'm furious and downright baffled as to how administrators at Miami and the ACC -- the very people that should be most embarrassed by this -- feel that a one-game suspension against Duke is an appropriate punishment for the participants.

In announcing the suspensions of 13 Miami players Sunday, ACC commissioner John Swofford said in a statement: "These suspensions send a clear and definitive message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated."

Baloney.

All you sent was a clear and definitive message that you were in such a hurry to release that statement and start spinning the story from the fight itself to the punishments that you never stopped to consider that this incident can't be treated the same as a regular fight. This was one of the worst displays of sportsmanship in the history of the sport -- and for that the players are going to miss one game? Against Duke??

Let's stop and think about this for a second. When Clemson and South Carolina had a similar incident in their game two years ago, the schools voluntarily banned themselves from their bowl games. Yes, the players only missed one game -- but they also missed the entire week of festivities that go with it, not to mention for the seniors it would have been the last game of their careers. Do you think Miami's players even care whether they get to play against Duke? Some of them are probably thrilled not to have to make the trip. They get a weekend off to relax at home.

I realize Miami can't control who's next on its schedule. And it would be an insult to Duke to say, "They're going to play this week, and then we're going to suspend them." That doesn't really matter, though, because several of the players -- in particular Brandon Merriweather (who stomped on an FIU player) and Anthony Reddick (who used his helmet as a weapon) -- should be sidelined for multiple games. If Miami really wanted to send a message, it would do something even more drastic, like forfeit games or ban itself from the postseason.

You want to know why that's not happening? Because there are a lot of people in the Miami community today who think most of the players didn't do anything wrong. Seriously. Read some of the postgame quotes from players like Kyle Wright. Listen to former 'Cane Lamar Thomas' ridiculous rant during the game broadcast. Read some of the comments from Miami fans on my own blog. Their message is the same: FIU instigated the whole thing; we had no choice but to defend ourselves; you'd do the same thing, too.

Here's the deal: I don't care that FIU started it. Do you know why? Because personally, I don't even care that FIU has a football team. I'm pretty sure the rest of the country feels the same way. FIU could cut its football program tomorrow and I'm not sure the headline would even make the front of SI.com.

Miami is held to a higher standard because Miami has set a higher standard. The 'Canes have won five national titles in 23 years. They play on national television as often as any program outside of Notre Dame. Right or wrong, they are one of the elite programs that represents college football to the rest of the country. And they just screwed it up for everyone else.

UPDATE: At about 5 p.m. today, the ACC announced it had extended Anthony Reddick's suspension to "indefinite" and that "additional disciplinary measures will be taken for all involved players, including community service and other unspecified actions."
posted by Stewart Mandel | View comments |

Comments:

Posted: 3:35 PM   by Anonymous
Amen.
Posted: 3:55 PM   by Zucker
Stewart, I could not agree with you more. Miami was given a golden opportunity to make the country think that maybe, just maybe, they're trying to turn their program around. A post-season ban, season-long suspensions, forfeiture of the game, or kicking players off the team would have sent that message.

Instead, they gave everyone a slap on the wrist and essentially validated the player's reasons for fighting! The Board of Trustees basically said, "If you wanna stomp on opponents knees or try to hit someone in the head with a 10lb hunk of plastic and metal, come play football at The U and we'll protect you from any serious punishment."

The Board of Trustees and the coaching staff need to realize just how terrible they look in the eyes of everyone outside of South Florida right now. What a joke of an institution.
Posted: 4:04 PM   by Anonymous
You are right on with this one. This is a terrible precedent to set if players knew that swinging a helmet as a weapon or stomping on guys on the ground who are defenseless only gets 1 game. Knowing a weak opponent is on next week's schedule may allow more guys to think this is a worthwhile tradeoff. No bowl. No more season for Mr. Helmetswinger and Cowardlegstomper. That also goes for FIU's Dr. Crutch.
Posted: 4:05 PM   by Anonymous
As a Canes fan who was at the game, I was ashamed of what happened. FIU fans and players are probably in a much better mood today, basking in the satisfaction that they helped bring all this negative attention to The U. To them the loss is more than offset by the aftermath. Clearly, we had far more to lose . . . and we did. UM should do three things: 1) fire Coker for not anticipating and preparing for hostilities from fourth rate players who resent not being recuited by UM 2) suspend the worst perpetrators for the remainder of the season and 3) cancel next year's game with FIU.
Posted: 4:07 PM   by Rusty98UM
Wait, what do winning national championships have to do being held to a higher standard? So since FIU is an irreverent then it's ok if they start or participate in brawls? Also, what exactly did they screw up anyhow? Didn't Clemson and South Carolina screw it up for everyone last year with their donnybrook?

Darn, I suppose they didn't. Quit with the hyperbolic language, Mandel. We're sorry you're so upset (a slightly touched) with what went on in the Orange Bowl on Saturday.
Posted: 4:14 PM   by Anonymous
Season long supensions and forfieting are all fine and well but the 2 players that stomped and used the helmet as a weapon should have thier scholarships revoked and be booted from the team, then and only then will Miami send a clear message that this is a program committed to excellence
Posted: 4:17 PM   by Dr. Dave
All the suspended players should be booted off their respective teams - who started it is irrelevant. ALL those characters in the fight showed the worst sort of role model for the viewing public. A one-game suspension is ludicrous, and the ACC, Swofford, and the Administration of "the U" lack the stones to take effective action. This will happen again, and with increasing frequency, unless this sort of action is effectively squashed NOW.
Posted: 4:19 PM   by Scott
Agree completely with you, Stewart. But why are people not asking the main question here - why aren't those who went the farthest past the line being kicked off the team, period?

I agree that the league and school punishments don't quite send the message that they care all that much about sending good citizen's out into the world (something I would expect from any so-called world-class university). But if those players who went way too far (like stomping on the back of players and their legs - something Vick up the road was tossed from VT's team for...heck even an NFL'er was suspended FIVE games for stomping on an opponent) aren't faced with something that could derail their future and the sport the work so hard at (and potential future cash cow), there will be no reason for them to make better decisions and keep the administration and league from having to go into spin control in the first place. I mean come on - if I took a helmet righ now and tries to whack the next person that ticks me off, I go to jail, plain and simple.

I know there's going to be those who whine and ask if I've played football or any other team sport (and yes, by the way, in several sports - some at the college level), but there's a line between sticking up for your teammates, and outright assault. Football is violent, and it inflames the passions, especially in the moment of competition. But by imposing one-game bans and letting them continue on the team, we're all sending the message it's all right to cross the line as long as your team brings in a lot of money for it's university.

One-game suspensions are not enough - those who can be proven to have committed severe offenses should be kicked off the team.
Posted: 4:38 PM   by Anonymous
Amazing that the media has been just waiting for any reason since Miami came back on the scene 7 years ago to show everyone they are still a bunch of "thugs" like the teams from the 80's seemed to portray. Yet in the same amount of time Tennesssee, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Florida State, Texas,USC and South Carolina players have been in 10 times more legal trouble and or NCAA violations than Miami. Did not see any penalties for those schools. However you will continue to hold Miami to an unatainable standard. They will never reach it in your eyes Stewart yet you still sit there and act so furious. Nice cop out on your part for FIU ,who started the fight, by saying the reason why it does not matter that they were in the fight is becasue they do not matter. The reason why Miami players did not get suspended more is because the tape showed that FIU started the fight. Punish the Miami players but why crucify them. Oh and by the way you think it is convenient that Miami is playing Duke next game well did Coker hesitate to suspend 4 players against FSU.
Posted: 4:40 PM   by Anonymous
How can anyone stand up for a team that has had now two full out fights in its last seven games. The first with LSU when a couple UM players had to go to the hospital, and now this one when they cleared the branch only seconds after the flight began. You have players carrying guns, when I was in school I had no need to carry a gun with me... what kind of "student" athlete (I use word student loosely) needs to carry a gun? Who are you hanging out with or what are you doing that a gun is needed. This school is in trouble unless they do something about its Football program, which to me looks like a bunch of thugs with no class. Jumping up and down after the fight like it was something to be proud of. FIU is just as wrong if not more for starting the flight. But you don't have to read about them every other week. UM has brought this on the selves from the former players to the current. I think the NCAA needs to step in and do something right for a change. They have had a good season so far allowing help for the Clemson db and his brother, now they have another chance. Both schools should have the remainder of their games canceled, and once the season is over the NCAA and the schools should decide what to do from there. One game that's a joke... must players get that for missing a class or slowing up late.
Posted: 4:40 PM   by Anonymous
I'm sorry, but as an FIU fan, I was disgusted by the behaviour on Saturday. so the comment "FIU fans and players are probably in a much better mood today, basking in the satisfaction that they helped bring all this negative attention to The U" is way off base for me.

FIU may be a small team in a big pond, but they have some big plans. Plans that now have taken a back seat to the much bigger mess that they helped to provoke.

Remember that they lost to Maryland by one point, that they were holding UM to one score until partway through the third, that before last weekend their defense was ranked in the top fifty nationally for points scored against. Now that is all gone.

BOTH teams should take a stronger stand, not just UM. Small or not, FIU HAS to stomp on this behaviour now, or they will develop a reputation for thuggery. If not, then both Coker and Don strock should start loking for new jobs at the end of the season.
Posted: 4:40 PM   by Anonymous
Yeah, this fight was embarrassing to both schools. Both teams should have players suspended, possibly even longer than one game and maybe even the season for some of them on both sides. But Miami players have to stay and watch their teammates get the crap kicked out of them just because they're Miami and if they retaliate they're a bunch of thugs? You say FIU should get absolutley NO blame for this, even though they started it? Please, Stewart. What a sad no win situation, because of people like you and also ESPN's Mark May and that hypocritical fossil, Lou Holtz(Clemson-SC brawl), among others. I guess when Florida and Florida State get into those pre game fights and/or jawing matches on the field, those are examples of a spirited rivalry and shows that that two teams are pumped up, but Miami is involved in a fight that they didn't even start, they should basically be tarred and feathered......just because they're Miami? Ok then........
Like I mentioned earlier in a message to you, this is the most insulting and assinine penalty imposed on a team. Miami's scout team could beat Duke. So those 11 guys will be nice and rested, and return just in time for their showdown with Georgia Tech.

Of course, I wouldn't expect anything less from the joke of a conference that is the ACC. A conference that thinks Florida State is more geographically and historically aligned with Boston College than it is with Miami.

What is the message they sent out to the rest of the NCAA: If you get in a fight, make sure you're playing Duke, Temple, or a similar school the following week?
Posted: 4:46 PM   by Mark Howard
We have the video of the players who exhibited the most egregious acts. Almost the entire team particpated in some fashion. Suspend the whole team one game and then start to look at who needs further discipline. Miami just needs to start fresh. Cut Coker, kick players off the team, call theis season a wash (it is already) and start new for next season right now.
Posted: 4:49 PM   by SlickBomb
This will probably signal the final nail in Larry Coker's coffin. Whether you like it or not, some of what give Miami it's mystique is its aura of lawlessness. From Luther Cambell paying money for the biggest hits back in the 80's to running up the score on teams, and hundreds of yards of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, this is "tha U."
Posted: 4:54 PM   by Anonymous
You embarass yourself by saying that you don't care that FIU has a football team and you lay all the blame and attention on the ACC. That being said, how do you know that a lot of players will only get 1 game suspensions? The fight happened Saturday night, today is Monday. Seriously, think before you jump to conclusions. Just because you don't like Miami doesn't mean that you should just fly off the handle and say ignorant things.
Death penalty for both teams.

The criminal behavior demonstrated by both teams was abhorrant. Their actions have no place in our society.

The minimizing of their actions by the universities and the ACC shows me that drastic, severe punishment is the only thing the NCAA can do to prevent this from EVER happening again.

I love college football, but cannot accept that such violent, and criminal, behavior is acceptable in our civilization.
Posted: 5:01 PM   by Mike
Miami should forfeit the game. I saw a Miami lineman shoving an FIU DB to start it. Regardless, Miami's culture of thuggery is what's in play here. This is a team that constantly cracked on Houston players in that game, putting one player out of the game. Miami is just flat dirty. Coker and the University's adminstration are responsible for this. The UM fans who egg them on should be called on the carpet as well. Even in Texas, when this type of bad blood exists, the game is played without fans.
Posted: 5:02 PM   by Anonymous
Looks like Miami is going back to that thug image they embraced under Erickson. Miami needs a new coach, one who's not only going to win, but instill a sense of pride and discipline in his players.
Posted: 5:09 PM   by Wander
Stewart, don't worry - the best cornerback you've never heard of, John Talley, will add to his interception return yardage, which is already the highest all-time in the ACC. Against a somewhat depleted offensive line, Vince Oghobasse will get a few sacks and tackles for losses. We'll make them pay.

- an Optimistic Duke fan
Wawawa stop crying how the "U" ruined college football Mandel. Like an anonymous writer posted earlier, it was only a matter of time before the UM hating started all over again. Get a life and get over it. All I say to this is...BRING-BACK-BUTCH!
Oh and real cute moderating your blog, real classy journalism...
Posted: 5:20 PM   by Anonymous
Halelujah. Somebody in football feels this isn't getting the attention it deserves. The seasons of both squads should be cancelled, and Larry Coker should be handed his pink slip. Like yesterday. This was pathetic, embarassing, and goes to show the quality of players that Miami both recruits and puts on the field.
Posted: 5:24 PM   by Anonymous
mandel, you have to remember these are still young men, so to completely strip the entire team of a season or bowl game is ridiculous. Maybe if the players involved were kicked off the team, you still would not be satisfed. You proably would say " the NCAA should get involve and put the school on probation." That's why we have the ACC commissioner and reporters like yourself, who proably never played the game on any level.
Posted: 5:26 PM   by Anonymous
I agree whole-heartedly with you. I'd also like to add, however, that although the "physical" confrontation appears to have been begun by FIU players, there was back and forth verbal exchanges throughout the entire game.

Furthermore, considering Miami's recent history of on-field antics such as the Peach Bowl Brawl and their Louisville stunt, it would be naive to call this history "coincidence." This recent pattern of on-field transgressions makes it difficult to beieve that they are the victims
Posted: 5:30 PM   by Nate
Amen brother. It sounds a lot like an email I sent you earlier today ;). I think Miami should forfeit the rest of their season, cut the players involved in this as well as Coker and the AD, and start fresh next year. What sickens me is that these players have the priviledge to a free education and best yet the exposure that playing at Miami brings. A 1 game suspension is a slap on the wrist and Swofford and Shalala should be disgraced at that punishment! Just Sad!!!
Posted: 5:30 PM   by Anonymous
Climb off your high horse, Stu. Miami's 5 national championships do not mean that they are therefore required to live up to a higher standard of conduct. FIU's on-field inadequacies do not grant them carte blanche to act like jerks.
Posted: 5:31 PM   by brhempstead
Thugs, plain and simple. Stewart you are spot on. Amazingly, I was speaking of how the Miami players are considered punks on a radio broadcast for a local high school football game on Friday Night, even before the fight. The subject was brough up due to the appearance of the visiting teams uniforms that resembled the pattern of Miami's. If the good people of Montana and a community of less that 6000 people know the reputation of a school like Miami, how does the rest of the country feel? I'll tell you one thing, it gives me great pride to be a strong follower of the University of Montana's football program and it 23,000 plus that show up for each and every home game, eventhough it is a 1-AA program. Shame on Miami, and shame on the ACC for allowing the thugs to continue to play after the Duke game.
Posted: 5:32 PM   by pine3720
A one game suspension for Saturday night's fight is way too lenient. I would fire Coker, boot any player who participated in the brawl from school and sentence them to 30 days in jail, and suspend the rest of the season for both teams. That would send a clear and decisive message to these thugs.
Posted: 5:35 PM   by Anonymous
Are these not criminal acts? They should be treated like criminals and have to face the consequences of their actions. Revoke the offenders scholarships then turn them over to the authorities and let our legal system run its course. Until "The U" is held accountable, this will reoccur forever.
Posted: 6:42 PM   by Billdemart
Could not possibly agree more. Those 2 players should be expelled from the program forever.

The rest of the people involved should serve multiple game suspensions.

Miami should be kicked out of the ACC and the NCAA.

That school is a breeding ground for gangster thugs. Look at all of the idiots that the NFL has to put up with from "The U."

(Can't wait to hear Michael freaking Irvin's spin on this /sarcasm).
Posted: 6:43 PM   by Anonymous
Stewart, you are totally off-base on your comments regarding the fight on Saturday. I will begin to insult you now, seeing as you have probably never played any organized sport in your lifetime. Anyone, and research can back me up, is capable of crazy things in the heat of the moment or in a mob scenario. Engaging in a fight during a football game, which is controlled fighting and aggression in its own right, is not an unforseen circumstance. FIU was looking for a fight, as several accounts on the internet have already surfaced of several FIU players having planned to instigate a fight with the Canes. The Canes, being the bigger and stronger players, "won" the fight, and now the perception is that Miami beat up poor old FIU.
Posted: 6:44 PM   by Anonymous
I think this is the best blog you've ever posted. What a bunch of thugs, not only them but their fans! Both schools should face serious consequences, and both players you mentioned should be kicked off the team. Vick was kicked off VT for stomping on a guys leg, why then should meriwether face any less of a charge for doing the same thing, but multiple times? Say what you want about the pac-10, yes our officials suck but we don't have crap like this going on, aside from a few water bottles being thrown on the field. I think fights are bound to happen, but a full out brawl is rediculous, then to have those behavious reinforced by the fans and lack of punishment is rediculous.
Posted: 6:46 PM   by kenji
All Miami has done is reinforced the general notion accross the nation and that is, Miami is "Thug-U".

Clearly the fight was started by FIU, but as mentioned...Miami must be held to higher standards. The fact that this is Miami's third fight is indicative of a program with serious character flaws and a coach, who dispite thinking he still maintains control, has barely if any. I'm not quite sure what to think about a coach who allows his players to stomp on another teams' logo and still thinks he has control. He has very little and it's a fact.

Both teams should be ashamed of their conduct. The penalties for the most serious offenders are incredibly light given the venom involved. Larry Coker should resign or be fired.

Miami's infamy lives on.

Thug-U.
Posted: 6:59 PM   by Anonymous
This is Bertuzzi all over again. LIke you said about people watching CNN at the airport: this is their impression. Though the Bertuzzi thing was followed by the generally ignorant sports press as relates to hockey. Interesting though, there was more than one "fight" in football over the weekend, if we include the NFL.

A slap on the wrist is all these players are going to get. Even the end of the season would be a slap on the wrist. The fact that a dozen police officers were on the field seems to have been forgotten. Doesn't their presence make this a criminal case?
Posted: 7:11 PM   by Anonymous
Stewart,

I couldn't agree more with you.
It is a total disgrace for the sport (ANY SPORT).
Posted: 7:11 PM   by Anonymous
I find your entire rant invalidated by your comments about FIU being a non-factor in this issue. It takes two parties to tangle, Stewart, but since Miami is the big dog, they serve as a nice, fat, convenient target.

I don't disagree with what you said about Miami needing to punish itself more severely (which is already happening, Reddick is out of the season) but don't use a hypocritical argument to further your view. Unfortunately, you, like all the other reactionaries, really don't give a flip about facts or actual justice at all. Go for the cheapest, easiest angle and run with it, grab all the attention and ratings/views you can, and move on to the next story.
Posted: 7:12 PM   by Douglas Ray
Why is everyone so shocked? Miami has been involved in so many dispicable incidents going back nearly twenty years that I'm surprised their even allowed to remain a member of the NCAA. How about the 1990 Cotton Bowl? The famous shoving matches with Notre Dame? Their Pell Grant scandal? This last year has just been more of the same. This is an outlaw program. No wonder they have to play FIU. No decent university would have anything to do with thme is they didn't have to.
Posted: 7:14 PM   by Anonymous
Stewart, I agree with you but must admit that you must have lost steam during your writing. This incident will be forever used as an example of what is wrong with college football. Miami has and always will be a football factory with no regard to people or standards, but more to wins and reputation. You mentioned the examples of the "program" and their behavior and if they want to send a message to handle this forever, they will suspend players for the season AND forfeit any right to a bowl game (which was going to be a lower tier at best). This program of higher education has to remember that what happened on the field will always represent their university unless they handle this correctly and no Gloria Estefan song/commerical will ever change that.
Jerome
Posted: 7:15 PM   by Anonymous
An absolute embarrassment. How can anyone suggest a one game suspension fits the crime. How can we let John Swofford know just how off base he is. This was worse than the Indiana melee in Detroit. In the NFL it was a 5 game suspension. There were multiple players looking to kick heads. Players should be expelled for this behavior. Give the scholarship $$ to someone that will actually look to advance themselves.
Posted: 7:16 PM   by Dean
Bingo. Is there any way we can un-expand my once beloved ACC?
Posted: 7:16 PM   by Anonymous
Miami apologists are funny. Miami earned its reputation as a low-brow school of thugs, it wasn't made up by the media.

Find another high profile university that would yawn at such juvenile behavior.

Notre Dame? Nope, too much class.
Michigan (the real UM)? Nope, too much class.
Penn State? Nope, too much class.
Texas? Nope, too much class.

You get the point. Miami will always be a footnote unless they get real leadership. Butch Davis's legacy of "cleaning up" the program will become less important over time.

Then again, how many programs out there need someone to come in and "clean it up"?
Posted: 7:18 PM   by Yeah
What's the big deal? SI.com has an entire section devoted to fighting so what's the problem with our other gladiators throwning around a fist or two there. It's already a violent game, and they are wearing pads and helmets. Seems like football players fighting is a helluva lot safer than boxing.
Posted: 7:33 PM   by Anonymous
The Miami player who stomped and the Miami player who swung his helmet should be immediately dismissed from the football program at the University of Miami. The video should be reveiwed extensively by both football prorgams and every number that was on the field involved in the brawl should be suspended for at the very least one game each, and told that if you ever do anything to disgrace their university again they will be dismissed from the football program. Miami along with another Florida school (Florida State) has the image of being easy on players who violate team rules or even commit criminal acts. Neither team should go to a bowl game and neither should be elgible to win any type of championship rather it be conference or national at least for this year and next year. This was the ugliest event in college football that I have ever seen. Larry Coker, if he does keep his job at the end of the season needs to take control of his football program and install a sense of discipline. If he doesn't keep his job who would want to take over the Miami football program it the shape it is in at this time? The commentator who said, "I was about to go down the elevator myself" if the University of Miami allows idiots such as himself to broadcast for them that shows what kind of university the University of Miami is. The president and athlethic director for the University of Miami and FIU should be outspoken about this incident and make stern comments and promises that if any player in any athlethic sport in their university who does anything remotely like what happened will be dissmissed from their university. It will be a long time before I even think about watching a football game in which the University of Miami is involved. Miami fans who say that "FIU" started it. It doens't matter, the University of Miami is a program like Ohio State, USC, Notre Dame, etc. The University of Miami should not stoop to the low level of someone starting a fight at a college football game. What do you think would happen if something like this happened at the some other big name universities in the country. Look at Clemson and South Carolina. Tommy Bowden and Lou Holtz come out and stated that no matter what bowl game they were selected to go they were not going. If Larry Coker wanted to gain some respect with the college football community he would step up and be very vocal about his embarassment about what happened. One way would be to punish every player involved accordingly. One game? PLEASE!!!!
Posted: 7:36 PM   by Rick Moore
Coker must go. As a fan of the Canes what I watched was disgusting. The whole program is out of control from the T.V announcer who said he wanted to join the action to the head coach who cannot seam to control the action of his players.
Posted: 7:36 PM   by Anonymous
I wonder how much of this Miami backlash is coming from fans of "traditional" college football powers (Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State, etc.) that have seen Miami win 5 National Championships in the last 23 years and are bitter that their own programs are having trouble winning National Championships. College Football is a zero sum world and a weaker Miami means more chances for their teams. Every school has its share of questionable young men. If it wasn't for one named Clarett, OSU wouldn't have won the championship back in 2002.
Posted: 7:41 PM   by Anonymous
Just as shameful and ridiculous is Comcast Sports Southeast's decision to rebroadcast the game so they can make an extra buck off the debacle and publicity. But they're the good guys since they're going to fire Lamar Thomas. At least he wasn't a hypocrite about his heated opinions from the Miami point of view.
Posted: 7:44 PM   by Anonymous
Look, I'm a Miami fan, and I don't disagree with anything you said about Miami. But it is just nonsense -- NONSENSE -- to say that FIU is held to a lesser standard. When it comes to sportsmanship, and violence, and the way these athletes conduct themselves, what does the status of the program have to do with anything? I'll tell you: it has zero to do with it. FIU and Miami should be held to the same exact standard, and its players subject to stiff suspensions (the worst of them season-long). Miami should declare itself ineligible for a bowl (FIU, too, but that's a moot point since they are 0-7). You are right to be hard on Miami -- but wrong to set a double-standard. That shouldn't be difficult to see.
Posted: 7:46 PM   by Anonymous
When does a sport cease to be a sport? What kind of message does this send to kids playing the game? Sure FIU started the brawl, but from what I understand the UM players were agitators all game long and jumped in with both feet. Engough is enough. Get tough with the coaches and players who either put up with this stuff or participate in this type of farce.
Posted: 7:51 PM   by Anonymous
That column is crap. If your teammate is being assaulted, you have an obligation to help. These are all kids, and they sometimes make mistakes. Lets not make a mountain out of a mole hill. You have no right, society has no right, to judge the actions of a man who is defending either himself or his friend. If you and I were friends, and I was getting the crap kicked out of me, what would you do? Would you just watch? Be real, the blame for this situation belongs to the young men who instigated it, no-one else.
Posted: 7:51 PM   by Anonymous
Miami did not deserve to be punished on account they did not start the fight. FIU should be punished since they started the fight. Miami is clear of the charges in my book, not onoly because I know several of the players but because Miasmi is the U and you don't mess with the U.
Posted: 7:51 PM   by redsoxron
There is something that everyone is overlooking. If that kind of fight occurs anywhere but on the football field, it is assault. Stomping someone is an assualt, which is against the law. Don't you love how in this country our athletes are held above everyone else?
Posted: 7:54 PM   by Anonymous
Miami's program is in a free fall and it won't get better anytime soon. Think any of those potential 2007 blue chip recruits are having second thoughts?
Posted: 7:54 PM   by Anonymous
If I used a helmet to hit a person in the parking lot of my work and then proceeded to stomp on them with my legs and swing away without regard to what I was hitting I would be sitting in a nice tidy jail cell today. Am sorry but assult is assult no matter who swung first. Both teams behavior was beyond the normal pushing, shoving and occasional swing that we see in some games where emotions are flowing. This was an all out riot of hate and anger which was uncontrollable by officals and coaches for 5 minutes. I am also appalled that the game was allowed to continue and the boorish celebration by the U players at the end. Time for the NCAA to show they mean it when they want to stop such fighting and unsportsmanlike conduct on teams. Both teams should be suspended for the season.
Posted: 8:03 PM   by Anonymous
I was raised in Miami and graduated from UM in 1989, having gone to many games (and bowl games) before, during and after my college years. My dad and uncle both were Miami grads.

I will cheer and support my school and teams whether they play poorly or well -- but I will NOT support them when they act like worthless hoodlums.

I say shut down the program for the rest of year, fire the all the coaches and start fresh in 2007. THAT would send a message.

The ACC should ban the offending players from every playing another college game.
Posted: 8:04 PM   by Anonymous
Since we are talking about thugs and thuggish behavior why not bring up Michael Barrett or Jason Varitek or any of the other MLB players that start and participate in the couple dozen bench clearing brawls every year. Or how about all of the "thugs" in the NHL who fight almost every game. The hypocrisy here is appalling.
Posted: 8:04 PM   by Baseball Coach
Once the Miami Placeholder was maliciously assaulted, it was not reasonable to expect no one to react. In fact, most people consider it an honourable duty to come to the defence of an assault victim.

Any action taken to get the aggressor off the victim is basically justified.

However, anyone who committed further assaults against INNOCENT people should be suspended, some even for the balance of the season.
Posted: 8:06 PM   by JB
I have the official statement from Shalala and UM over at my blog. She is mainly happy that the fans didn't join the fray! (Although i've had some 3d hand acoounts that they did!)
The University of Miami gets a "Wag of the Finger" (to quote Colbert!
Posted: 8:06 PM   by Anonymous
In one of the shots of the "brawl" I saw one player stomping repeatedly on the head of another player who had fallen to the ground. Last I heard that was a criminal act in any situation and should be treated as such.
Posted: 8:08 PM   by Anonymous
I just called and left a message with two deans at the University of Miami. I think the University should know that we do not think the suspensions were serious enough for the type of violence that was seen. The helmet thing was a full-on felony.
Posted: 8:09 PM   by Anonymous
We'll it looks like the NCAA is turning their heads and typical goonery and thuggery. This game personifies everything wrong in sports today. The image of the thug has gotten out of control. This same incident yielded 45game suspensions and a year suspension in the NBA. Yet the same out-of-control attitude is rewarded to these thugs. Dancing around after the fight showing the world that great education you recieved from Miami University. But lets be honest, most of these players, on both squads, will take their Fake degree(if they graduate) and end up like Lamar Thomas on TV just another wasted athlete, and a poor excuss for a black role model. I just wish these young children will look up to the Walter Pytons of the past instead of these thugs.
Posted: 8:10 PM   by Anonymous
The "Cane" attitude which has been established over the last fifteen years causes their fans to delight at such instances as transpired on Saturday. That is "keeping it real" and "gangsta sh*#." I assure you that there are very few followers of Miami Athletics that are really upset about this. It is a rogue program full of mercenaries pretending to be student athletes.
Posted: 8:26 PM   by Anonymous
Good to see the "U" figured out how to get back into the first SporsCenter segment. Cause their talent was going to do it.
The "U": cultivating criminals for tomorrow.
Posted: 8:36 PM   by Jack
Look Stu I am a die hard canes fan but saturday I was having a time admiting it I was embarised and I think Coker, Reddick and Meriweather should be gone by the Duke game.
Posted: 8:38 PM   by Anonymous
I played football at Princeton, not some athletic powerhouse. I do not remember any free-for-alls in my 4 years there as I bet neither do the seniors when I was a freshman and the freshmen when I was a senior of their respective 4 year careers. We just don't accept "those" types of students. Students must be of high character which apparently is something that is not one of the necessities for enrollment at both the schools involved. I can't wait to see how the rest of this plays out as it is still early and I wouldn't be surprised if more season long suspensions are imposed.
Posted: 8:38 PM   by Anonymous
The officials at the Miami-FIU game should be supended for not ending the game after the fight started. This was disgraceful and neither program should play for the rest of the year. BUT, you know this WON'T happen because of the money involved. The NCAA is spineless!
Posted: 8:39 PM   by Anonymous
you people are ridiculous. especially mandel.. how dare you try to make a point about how unbelievable the fight was simply because one team is "better" or "has a higher standard" than another. would it be a different story if UM were playing OSU? it doesn't matter what teams played.

point number 2, a fight is a fight. the team concept revolves around backing each other up, no matter what. things got out of hand. it could easily happen again, with another couple of teams. don't blame UM.
Posted: 8:39 PM   by Anonymous
Give me a break, an incident occurs and all the sudden the "U" needs to abolish its football program. This is a team sport and the players responded as a team. Was it right, no. Should the coaches have explained to the players that things could get heated with a new cross town rival and warned them beforehand, yes. You may agree or disagree with the suspensions, but the players reacted, unfortunately in an inappropriate manner. This was not Strock's nor Coker's fault. Just a heated game that got out of hand. FIU crossed the line and both teams followed. As for the scheduling of Duke, I am sure the players were thinking that Duke was next on the schedule so we can get suspended if a fight breaks out. FIU needs to receive equal blame for this matter, not signaling out Miami, both teams screwed up and now this game and season is tarnished because of it.
Posted: 8:41 PM   by Matt
Miami's reputation and history, and FIU's relative irrelevance have nothing to do with anything at all. I would be critical of FIU for not taking action if they failed to, but I don't expect to hear as much about it; because, they are a small school in a small program.

Fact of the matter is that Miami is one of the premier programs in college football, last couple years poor production not excluded, and this kind of behavior is not to be excused by anyone plain and simple. Were this to happen with my team, Michigan, against a similar opponent, say Eastern Michigan, I would expect Michigan to immediately dismiss several players, say hello Mr. Helmet Swinger and Mr. Leg Stomper. That kind of behavior is reprehensible and unexcusable.

Time to stop making excuses for Miami. Sticking up for your teammates is one thing. Acts that are legitimately criminal in nature on the field have no business in football.
Posted: 8:41 PM   by Anonymous
I agree wholeheartedly that helmet-swiniging Reddick and knee-stomping Merriweather should have their scholarships revoked and should be kicked off the team. However, to listen to everyone's reactionary comments does not surprise me one bit. Once again, everyone tries to hold college football to some sort of idealistic standard, commenting on how the image is tarnished and putting a spin on this Miami fiasco as if a fight has never been witnessed before. Do you realize what sport you're talking about? A sport that is based on violence actually spawned violence, and everyone gets their panties up in a bunch. These same fans only see and hear what they want to hear. The blogger who noted that FSU and UF go at it every year and nearly get into brawls before their annual "rivalries," but somehow this is seen as college football at its finest and most competitive hit the nail on the head. The truth is that college football is bound to bring out the best and worst out of everyone, be it fans (every university has its punks), coaches (see Woody Hayes), commentators (Lamar Thomas), and players (see every university that has ever been competitive and been involved in a rivalry. Because every university has experienced violence on or off the field in some way, shape, or form does not condone it. However, to act surprised at what ensued and to use the word "disgrace" for a sport that is inherently competitive and violent is about as hypocritical as it gets.
Posted: 10:40 PM   by Anonymous
I am not a huge football fan but I have grown up with brothers and currently have a husband and two teenage sons and many nephews. When I saw the clips of this fight - I just couldn't believe it! And what is all this finger pointing - who cares who started what - it shouldn't have happened on the football field, much less on national television.

How were these boys/men brought up? What is up with the stomping and kicking? Do you remember what our fathers always taught us? If someone hits you - you hit back but you better make sure you don't get caught. My dad sure didn't tell me (and I'm a girl) to take my hat off and hit someone with it - or kick someone. Growing up with brothers - if I did that - I would be called a sissy or be told that I'm fighting like a girly-girl (oops - not politically correct to say that) . I am just amazed that these big guys were stomping and kicking another person while knowing that it was televised. I would be so embarrased if I was them and my guess is they would have no idea what I'm talking about. Sad.

Of course, growing up-school yard spats and football games are not the same but some of the consequences would be similar. I hope the coaches of both teams pulled everyone from the game who participated in the fighting. A good coach would have done that or even stopped the game. Totally disrespectful of the game, the coach, the fans and even most importantly, their families. Players need to respect the game. Game and respect of the game comes first! NOT SELF.
Posted: 12:12 PM   by Anonymous
If there are no scholarship forfeitures as a result of this, then it sends the message to any future recruit that "hey, you may not get the start, but you could be our designated fighter against State next year". Scholarships, jobs, and post-season berths should all be on the choppingblock after this. What an embarassment to College Football.
Posted: 9:14 AM   by Anonymous
1. Actions & Consequences
Provocation is not authorization for this type of behavior. EVER.

2. Responsibility
If the U cannot police itself, then someone should. The Head Coach is accountable for his players actions, PERIOD. Coker should be the first one to say that... oh, wait, he did, didn't he? Saying you take responsibility is one thing, but actions speak louder than words. As the coach, he should be leading the charge to set the example. Punishment from him should be swift and severe. For example, anyone kicking should be out for two games. Anyone who took off their helmet should be out for the season.

The sad part of this is - if this had happend at Nebraska, Michigan, Penn State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Alabama, Auburn, just about anywhere else that has a "successful" program, heads would roll. The leaders at those other institutions understand that the instiution is successful over the long run because it doesn't tolerate such actions. Bo Shembeckler, Bear Bryant, Lou Holtz, Jim Tressell, Tom Osbourne, etc... None of them would've hesitated to yank some players off the roster, immediately. They understand the coaches role. Since Coker has not taken the lead (as any good leader should) he should resign immediately. If the coach doesn't wish to take responsibility and to do what is right, then fire him. If the U doesn't see it that way, then they should not have the priveledge of fielding a football team.

AND THE SAME goes for FIU.

3. Higher Standards
Off field incidents by other players at other institutios have been handled with equal or more severe penalties. Yet, while on the camera no less, this buch of thugs went around acting like a bunch of animals. With success comes higher standards and responsibility. This is exactly why no one else in the country respects your program - but you don't get it do you. You guys win a few championships over the past 20 years, and all of a sudden you are above the law. I think the reverse is true - when you win championships, you should set the standards, not define the lower reaches of them. Granted, your team has enjoyed success - you didn't have any problem accepting the trophies. So, why does the U have so much trouble accepting responsibility for this situaion? Oh, they play that two-year old "he hit me first" thing. If another team disrespects you in front of your fans and the entire country - fine, whop their ass on the field - let your exceptional play set the standards. Go ahead an rack up 70 or 80 points on them - oh, thats right, you can't whop anyone on the field this year. (BURN)

5. FANS RESPONSIBILITY
Anyone calling themselves a fan of the U should be totally outraged at this action - or better yet, lack of reaction. I understand that tempers flare, and things like this happen when you are dealing with 19-20 year old young men. Its not the action that is the problem, its the lack of reaction by the U coaching staff and the University itself that is the problem. No wonder this instituion attracts thugs and criminals - just look at whos running the show down there.
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