For many years now, the focus on Miami football has always been centered around making terrible hires at head coach, which is the truth. However, I’m here to point out the real problem; the administration. Specifically, athletic director Blake James, who has done absolutely nothing impressive for Miami athletics across the board since he has been hired.
All three major sports — football, baseball, and basketball — are mediocre at best and have been for a long time now. I could get into specifics for all three and make this article 20 pages long, but the cold hard truth is that they’re not good.
But the big one is obviously football. Miami is a football school, and the administration can try and deflect it all they want, but it’s true. Miami is a football school, and it has a loyal fan base that deserves much better than what they have been getting for 15+ years. Miami can also lie all it wants about “being committed to athletic” excellence — #BuildingChampions— but the jig is up on that too. The notion that “Miami does not have the money to compete” in today’s landscape is a falsehood started long ago that the administration wanted fans to believe. Cry poor and that’ll take the heat off. Basically, the jig is up across the board. Strike 3, you’re out. Time to start actually caring about the reason the school is even on the map in the first place; football.
First and foremost, I want to thank Kirk Herbsteit. I believe that when he called out the Miami administration on national TV earlier this season, it genuinely created a whirlwind of trouble (in a good way) at Miami. Miami’s Administration had never been called out like that before and it bothered them (oh no, our secret is out. They know!) The people who make the hires for athletics at Miami simply are not committed enough, they are not “cut throat” enough for this business. Miami fans have all *assumed* this to be the case for years, but it hits different when it actually comes out to be the truth.
When Herbstreit called out the Miami admin, I don’t remember that ever being done before on such a national scale, especially because Kirk was 110% right in his words. It’s disturbing that Herbstreit, who is an Ohio State grad, is more upset about Miami being mediocre for so many years than the people at Miami whose job it is to make sure athletics are top tier. Miami being great again is so important for college football in a sport that desperately needs more parity, and national analysts like Herbstreit recognize that. I’m not sure Miami does, though.
The higher ups at Miami simply don’t respect that the University of Miami is on the map because of its football history, which is obviously a massive problem. It’s disturbing to me that the PRESIDENT of the University was rumored to have told Blake James, “you’re on your own with athletics”. Well that’s nice, that’s exactly what I want to hear out of the University President. Really calms the fan base down knowing we are in such good hands.
What an absolute joke Miami football has been. Nobody takes this program seriously, and why should they? The people who control it aren’t even serious about it. Mid-tier ACC teams (Miami is one of them now) salivate at the chance to play us because they know Miami folds under pressure and will probably miss 100 tackles a game. Blake James can shout “building champions” all he wants, but the reality is no sports team at Miami has won anything of significance in a long time. Editor’s Note: Estela Perez-Somarriba won the NCAA Women’s Tennis Singles National Championship in 2018-19 and was the runner-up in 2020-21, but no team has won a championship, as stated.
And no Blake, we aren’t talking about an 8-3 season in 2020, which he called a “great year” in his most recent interview with the Miami Herald when asked about football. A “great year” Blake? A “great year” is competing for the ACC Championship at LEAST, and then moving on to compete for a national title. I don’t think he quite understands that. Blake has a “win some games” mentality, not a “I want to win every game” mentality. Simply put, he’s not the kind of winner, or person focused on winning, that should be leading Miami Athletics.
Quite honestly, I’ve been disappointed in the Miami Board of Trustees as well, but that’s another story. If it were me, and I was investing my money into a program that doesn’t care, I’d be extremely upset and want changes made. And I don’t mean just coaching changes, I mean athletic director changes. Essentially you are just giving money away to a program who’s not committed to reaching national relevance again. Might as well flush your money down the toilet instead; it would be the same difference. “Here’s 2 million, put it towards the new locker room so I can watch us go 7-5 every year”. I’m not sure if anyone at Miami is aware, but being a top tier college football team in this new era brings in a ton of money. Much more than winning 7-9 games per year (we likely won't even reach that this year). If you invest large sums of money into football, you are going to get large sums of money in return. Big time bowl games, coaching bonuses, more national recognition, more fans buying merchandise, more fans paying to attend football games. For competing in the Orange Bowl, which is played in Miami’s home stadium, the conference that plays earns 6 million dollars (for conferences that have contracts for their champions to participate in the Orange, Rose, or Sugar Bowl, the base combined with the full academic performance pool will be approximately 66 million dollar for each conference). Probably a lot more than you get for playing in the annual Louisiana Hot Sauce Bowl. Really not a hard concept to grasp.
Here is the thing that drives me most nuts: none of this is a big ask, and it’s really not THAT hard to win at Miami. Miami has the history, the NFL success, the recruiting base, a beautiful campus, and believe it or not, the facilities (especially after the new football locker room is built) to compete for and win championships. This current roster? It is an absolute failure to not win AT LEAST 10 games with that group and right now we are on pace to win maybe 4. The ACC Coastal could very well be one of the worst divisions in the sport and Miami struggles to win it yearly. A division that the older Canes teams could sleep-walk through and win every game the current generation of the program can’t win outright more than once in 15 years. What is the use of building a 34-million dollar indoor facility, a new locker room that will probably be upwards of 10-million dollars, and an estimated 240-million dollar dorm project if you aren’t going to spend the money on an elite coaching staff?
My advice to Blake James on how to right the ship? Resign. You aren't capable of it, Blake. In his tenure at Miami, Blake has shown he is not built to get Miami’s athletics back to elite status. In fact, we are below average status, and that’s looking at a bigger group of programs than just football. By the looks of it he will never have respect among the fan base, so I don’t see any reason for him to stick around unless he wants to be boo’d at every single event he attends for the remainder of his time at Miami. He will never be able to win the fan base over. That’s done. And Blake’s tenure as Athletic Director should be done right along with it.
I truly think that now, in 2021 and early 2022, there has never been more pressure on Miami to finally prove that it wants to be great at football again. And the bottom line is they aren’t going to get many more shots to get this right, in fact this might be the last chance. If there aren’t SERIOUS moves made this time around, they will be in danger of losing a lot of the fanbase until something is done for real. This hasn’t been one bad year, or even a few bad years of football, it has been FIFTEEN years of garbage, and Miami fans are simply tired and fed up. What national power who claims to be serious about football is bad for that long? None, because they haven't been committed for many years now. It’s unheard of.
Here’s to hoping Manny Diaz AND Blake James are out of the door by the end of 2021....because if nothing changes, and the BOT and administration don't get very serious about football like the fans so truly deserve, it will be another decade plus of below average football. God Bless.