Bernie Kosar, back in town to be honored alongside his national championship-winning Miami Hurricanes teammates, opened eyes Friday night when he said the school held back10 football scholarships last season in response to the ongoing NCAA probe.
But shortly after Kosar spoke before the game, Hurricanes spokesman Chris Yandle said the statement was incorrect.
“UM denies the allegations made by Bernie Kosar related to the self-imposed sanctions,” Yandle said.
When Kosar, a Miami trustee, was speaking with reporters he was specifically talking about how the self-imposed sanctions had been hurting the program.
“To go the last two years and self-impose the bowl bans, and then not having 10 scholarships last year … when you’re that thin with your number of scholarships and you have that many gifted players in our community, it’s really hard to get out to every one that you’d really like to have,” Kosar said.
Miami is expected to hear from the NCAA soon. School officials last met with the NCAA Committee of Infractions in Indianapolis more than 11 weeks ago. It usually takes eight to 12 weeks for sanctions to be handed down after that.
1983 CANES HONORED
UM president Donna Shalala honored the 1983 Hurricanes by presenting them and coach Howard Schnellenberger with a modern-day replica of the crystal national championship trophy.
Schnellenberger, who started FAU’s program, called it: “A joyous day — football and paradise.”
“I’m delighted to be here. I think I’m the first and only honorary co-captain for both teams. Isn’t that amazing — to be honorary co-captains for each of these teams,” Schnellenberger said.
Former Hurricanes linebacker Jay Brophy and offensive tackle David Heffernan were among the 73 former players and coaches to return for the ceremony.
“It’s like you haven’t seen somebody in about a year,” Brophy said. “It’s a fraternity that’s unbelievable. These guys, this rag-tag bunch, we laugh now to see how far ‘The U’ has come.
“I wanted to cut Coach Schnellenberger off [Thursday night]. He said, ‘We had the practice field, we had the Hecht Center.’ That was it. The dorm should have been blown up at the time. We didn’t have anything else. That was it. We were sold on a dream. When that dream became a reality, Hurricanes football was born.”
Brophy, who now lives in Akron, Ohio, and coached Heat star LeBron James in football when he was in high school, said he doesn’t think the 1983 team gets enough respect for what it accomplished.
Heffernan, whose son is a linebacker at North Carolina, said to this day he still wears his championship ring often. He calls it “a great conversation starter.”
The memories of that 1983 season, Heffernan says, remain fresh in his mind. He recalled a story in which he, Brophy and Albert Bentley once approached Schnellenberger “during three-a-days” and complained that they were being worked too hard.
“[Schnellenberger] was puffing on his pipe,” Heffernan said. “We finished, and he said, ‘I appreciate you coming up. But that’s B.S. Now get your butts back on the field.’ We said, ‘Yes sir and scampered back to the field.’ It’s easy to believe in that guy. And that’s why this program got to where it got.”