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On the Ryan Hill Allegations

PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 23:  Ray Graham #1 of the Pittsburgh Panthers evades a tackle by Ryan Hill #13 of the Miami Hurricanes on September 23 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 23: Ray Graham #1 of the Pittsburgh Panthers evades a tackle by Ryan Hill #13 of the Miami Hurricanes on September 23 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
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As college football fans, we should be conditioned to know that whenever something seems too good to be true in the sport, it probably is. For Ohio State, it meant that their legendary coach was actually sweeping allegations of player misdeeds under the rug while his star quarterback went about trying to turn himself into one of the largest banks in Columbus. For Auburn, it meant that a national title will always be accompanied by jokes about their star quarterback being auctioned off as openly as possible short of being placed on eBay. For West Virginia, it meant that when they snagged one of the best offensive coordinators in the country to be their coach-in-waiting, the current head coach immediately started plotting his replacement's demise. For Miami, thankfully, the truth about Randy Shannon's tenure as coach is far less severe and embarrassing. Yet, ex-CB Ryan Hill tore some fabric away yesterday, and his revelations broke down myths just the same:

"Guys would come late to meetings. They would schedule appointments and not show up or listen to iPods in class. I was always told by academic advisors to talk to [teammates]. Some kids got worse after they got here. People were purposely doing stuff to mock Randy Shannon or do their own thing.

"Coach Shannon tried to make sure guys went to class and presented themselves well. But as soon as he turned his back, they would do what they wanted. There are a lot of guys who didn’t produce, and how they act off the field has a lot to do with it. That has to change."

Shannon's one lasting legacy at Miami is that he cleaned the program up-- one arrest, an APR in the top ten, etc. Players and parents praised him for being a father figure, and though it wasn't enough to engender appropriate goodwill amongst the fanbase to salvage his job after four seasons, it was still something to hang a hat on. But, as Hill reveals, all was not as it seemed. He paints a picture of a team plagued by both immaturity (he makes a very thinly veiled reference to the clothing hijinx of Jacory Harris) and carelessness, a group that never found a leader and thusly didn't understand accountability. He confirms that marijuana use amongst players was prevalent, though as Urban Meyer (or Warren Sapp) could tell you, that can be overcome. He repeated the mantra that the current players need to "grow up":

I don’t want to name names, but there were a couple of receivers [during the Sun Bowl] having a snowball fight on the sideline when we’re down 21-0," Hill said. " Brandon Harris and I got upset. We were already upset because we’re losing, and now we’ve got to go over and break up a fight. These guys have to grow up. I hope Coach Golden is instilling that. Without growing up, you will never be successful."

This is a brave move, if even minimally so, by Hill, who threw some dirty laundry out of the Hecht Athletic Center days after ex-Ohio State WR Ray Small was berated heavily by ex-teammates, alumni and fans for telling his tales of trading memorabilia for tats. Though this is quite obviously on a smaller scale, the fact that there have been no such reactions from the UM community signals that everyone was waiting for someone to speak up.

To Al Golden, these allegations-- one would hope-- should come as no surprise. He should have by now realized which players aren't used to playing, practicing or acting up to championship standards. The onus is squarely on him to remedy these faults, at the very least so that a standard is set for the younger players that will be soon receiving the buck. There can be no cycle of immaturity. Coaching changes are always said to be culture changes too, and often we see that evidenced in superficial ways, from different scrimmage locations to different practice jerseys. But now we know just how much of the culture has to be changed. The hole that Golden and his staff must dig out of is deep, and it doesn't begin, or end, at Dolphins Stadium.