The Miami Hurricanes are 5-5 and a win away from bowl eligibility. If the Hurricanes defeat Duke in the final week of the regular season, then they will also win the ACC Coastal Division. However, they do have the option to forfeit postseason play with a self-imposed bowl ban. If the University of Miami does decide to go with that option then it would be the second straight year that the Hurricanes have self-imposed a bowl ban. The question now is simple: should they forfeit postseason play again?
The answer depends on who you ask. The fans and the players are in all likelihood against it. However, the university and the athletic department might find it to be the best option. The reason that this is even a viable option is because of the Nevin Shapiro scandal and the future NCAA sanctions that will come as a result of it. The Shapiro case may be the worst strictly football related scandal in college football in the last 20 years and it would be smart for Miami to try to stay on the NCAA’s good side.
There is no guaranteeing that two consecutive self-imposed bowl bans will bring leniency from the NCAA, but it should help at least in regards to public perception. Self-imposed bowl bans can give the perception of the program attempting to redeem itself and that is something that the NCAA tends to notice.
This case is a unique one for many reasons, but the one reason that this is such a difficult decision for the program is that Miami has a really good chance to win the Coastal Division and to go on to the ACC Championship Game. When Miami joined the ACC in 2004, they were expected to be major contenders in the conference every year, but they have failed. The Hurricanes have never won the Coastal Division, so if Miami does impose the ban then they will be forfeiting their first ever divisional crown.
Miami can’t impose the ban until they are bowl eligible, which means until they win one more game – and that could happen this weekend when they take on South Florida. If the Hurricanes do indeed get their sixth win then there will be a very difficult decision to make. There will be backlash to the decision either way.