Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 11/21/11
CORAL GABLES, Fla. - For a day, the Hurricanes got to celebrate. That is, as much as one can party about a possible trip to the Music City, Independence or Military Bowl. But Sunday it was all snatched away. A day after winning 6-3 at South Florida to become bowl-eligible, University of Miami football players were told there would be no bowl. My heart just dropped, defensive back Thomas Finnie said Monday, when players returned to practice. I saw all the seniors put their head down like they were about to cry. Everybody just had a sour feeling inside. At least Finnie is a freshman. But for Miamis seniors there wont be another bowl in their futures due to school self-imposing a ban because of an ongoing NCAA and school investigation about improper gifts and payments made to athletes. "It was a pretty tough pill to swallow,'' said senior defensive back JoJo Nicolas. Ever since former booster and convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro said in a Yahoo! Sports story last August he provided payments to Miami players, there has been speculation Miami administrators would pull out of a bowl to appease the NCAA. But players had figured they had become bowl-eligible after the win over USF had raised the Hurricanes mark to 6-5. Youre looking for an angle, Hurricanes coach Al Golden when asked why the school didnt announce the self-imposed penalty earlier rather than wait until a bid had been thought to have been secured. Whatever decision is made by the president and the athletic director, we support it. Clearly, theres all a piece of selfishness in all of us that wish it was something different. But at the end of the day, this is what is best for the University of Miami and our football program. The decision was made by president Donna Shalala and athletic director Shawn Eichorst, who informed the team in a meeting Sunday. So the Hurricanes will close the season Friday at home against Boston College, a game senior quarterback Jacoby Harris called our bowl game. Everybody was down, Harris said of hearing there would be no postseason for the Hurricanes. We expected to go into a bowl game. We fought hard at USF to become eligible. But with the things that happen in the past youve got to suffer your consequences. You got to deal with them and just got to move forward. Harris, who sat out the season opener at Maryland, was among eight players suspended after being linked to the scandal. Other top players included linebacker Sean Spence, safety Ray Ray Armstrong and wide receiver Travis Benjamin. But everybody on the Hurricanes must pay a price. It starts with the bowl ban, and it remains to be seen what other penalties the NCAA adds. At least Golden said he will have a full allocation of scholarships for next seasons signing class. Hopefully, itll be just one year, redshirt sophomore running back Lamar Miller said of the team not going to a bowl. If the Hurricanes make one next season, would Miller even be around for it? Miller, who has rushed for 1,158 yards, told reporters he would consider going to the NFL if he were assured of being a first-round pick. But in an interview later with FOX Sports Florida, Miller said yeah when asked if he plans to return to school next season. Its not in my mindset, Miller said about heading to the NFL after just two seasons of playing. Junior wide receiver Tommy Streeter also vowed to return next season. But Streeter on Monday was mainly thinking about the bowl ban. Its sad and its unfortunate that we wont be able to go to a bowl, Streeter said. But well treat this last game like its our bowl game. Well go out there and play for the seniors and go out there and have fun and try to finish the season off with a W. That might not be too difficult. The Eagles are 3-8, having been eliminated Nov. 3 from bowl consideration. Golden said it hurts the Hurricanes losing 15 extra days of practice a bowl game would have provided. But he said he will use that time for the players to get into the weight room because Miami needs to be a stronger team. If you look around here, everybody expected it to be a funeral over here, and its not, Golden said of Mondays practice. Weve got kids staying late over here working. We have kids who just came off the field with a lot of energy. Thats not a faade. Thats what we are at our very core In the end, weve taken a lot of hits. Its round 15 and were still standing. And at least nobody will have to bother repainting a side of a Miami equipment truck that was parked Monday alongside the practice field. It reads, 35 Bowl Appearances for the Hurricanes, which is what it will stay at for at least another year.
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