The attorney for former University of Miami safety Ray-Ray Armstrong said Wednesday he is still drafting a legal document that would seek an injunction to get Armstrong back with the Hurricanes, but also is exploring options to determine whether transferring would be in Ray-Rays best interest.
Matt Morgan, Armstrongs Orlando-based attorney, said he and Armstrong will attempt to amicably resolve this matter by reaching out to University of Miami officials in hopes of coming to a favorable agreement for Ray-Ray before it gets to the point where we are compelled to file a court document.
Morgan said he has not filed a written appeal with the university, which would normally precede any legal action.
Were taking this step by step, said Morgan, who added that he is working closely with Armstrong and his family to determine if its in the players best interest to transfer or remain with the Hurricanes this season. Our primary focus is that Ray-Ray has the ability to play [major college] football this season, Morgan said.
DISMISSED LAST MONTH
Armstrong, who would be a fourth-year senior, was dismissed from the team July 18 for undisclosed reasons. He was given the option to continue to be enrolled as a scholarship student at UM to complete his degree or be granted a full release should he elect to transfer, UM released in a statement that day.
The players father, Albert Armstrong, told the Miami Herald less than a week after his son was dismissed that it was because Ray-Ray stayed in a Miami Beach hotel with his girlfriend, who owns a public-relations company that represents professional athletes. He then disseminated photos of the hotel room via Instagram, a social network vehicle, the father said.
UM confronted Armstrong, who initially lied about being with the woman because he felt pressured to be untruthful and did not want to be suspended for the third time in less than a year, Albert said. He eventually told the truth, but his father said it was too late by then.
Morgan said he believes Miami is offering up a sacrificial lamb in Ray-Ray to make a statement to the NCAA without even being told what he did was an NCAA violation. I believe they just kicked him off the team to show the NCAA their program is not one where any conduct of this sort will be tolerated.
Armstrong was suspended the first four games of last season in connection to the ongoing NCAA case involving UMs relationship with former booster and convicted felon Nevin Shapiro, who allegedly showered dozens of UM players with impermissible benefits over several years. He later was suspended for one game in November 2011 after going to dinner at a Miami Beach steakhouse with his girlfriend, then tweeting about the dinner. He was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing.
UM football coach Al Golden distanced himself from the newest part of Armstrongs saga Wednesday.
I feel like a dope because Im in the building and Im 24-7 with the team and Im engrossed in that, Golden said. Im sure whatever is going on there is being handled by the administration.
If Armstrong transfers to a Football Bowl Subdivision school, he would have to sit out one year per NCAA rules. But Morgan said he wants to play immediately and then enter the NFL Draft.
He could play immediately at a smaller Football Championship Subdivision program.
Miami attorney Jason Setchen successfully represented UM basketball player DeQuan Jones in his effort to return to competition in late December after UM suspended him for the season in connection to the Shapiro case.
Unlike Armstrong, Jones was allowed to practice with the team and was never dismissed. The case was decided before the scheduled internal appellate hearing.
The university may be well within their right to dismiss Armstrong, as long as they are following their own internal procedures and those procedures are adequate and fair, and they are not acting maliciously, arbitrarily or in bad faith, Setchen said Wednesday. In order for him to have any type of a claim with the courts, he will have had to exhausted the universitys internal procedure for appeal.