University of Miami athletic director Blake James told the Miami Herald on Monday that the school was investigating a complaint from a student at Appalachian State who claims UM football players “blind sided, groped and swore” at band and color guard members as the Hurricanes ran onto the field Saturday.
In a text message, James said Miami would "take action if our students did engage in this type of behavior" and that he had been in touch with Appalachian State as well as "spoken to individuals and reviewed video" of the alleged incident.
“At this point,” James wrote, “there is no indication of inappropriate conduct but we are continuing our review.”
On Saturday night, hours after Miami’s 45-10 victory over the host Mountaineers in Boone, North Carolina, Sophie Randleman — a member of the Appalachian State color guard — wrote on her Facebook page that she witnessed one of her teammates get run over by an unidentified UM player as he made his way from the tunnel to the far end zone.
Randleman wrote that although most football teams have hisorically avoided, or at least apologized to band members if they “get in our way” during pregame ceremonies, that was not the case with the Hurricanes.
She added that in talks with other band and color guard members there were other incidents with the Miami players.
“Today, Miami’s football team decided to blind side one of our members on the corner of the field,” Randleman’s post read. “She was shoved by several very large, intentionally aggressive, football players. No apologies were made regarding this incident, and the member who was hit had severe pain and had to sit for most of the game. I turned around just as this was happening, and was immediately furious and upset.
“Leaving the field, I thought that this was the only incident that occurred. It turns out that several other members were groped, sworn at, taunted, and touched in ways that were definitely not asked for.”
Randleman continued: “I will not sit back and allow this to happen because I am a woman or because ‘it's all in good fun.’ At its simplest form, it's assault, and I will not tolerate it.”
Attempts to contact Randleman through Facebook messenger have so far been unsuccessful.
In viewing cellphone video taken of the Hurricanes rushing onto the field taken by staff writers of the Herald and Palm Beach Post – which initially posted the story of the alleged incident – it appears some Miami players cross through the band. which takes up much of the field during pregame activities.
Saturday’s game was called the biggest sporting event in the history of tiny Boone, North Carolina, with the Hurricanes being not only the first ranked football team to visit the Mountaineers, but first Power 5 program to do so as well.
Miami ran out to a 24-3 lead and cruised to its third win of the season.
The Hurricanes (3-0) jumped 10 spots in the AP poll following the blowout and are currently ranked No. 15.
Appalachian State’s football program was a former I-AA powerhouse best known for upsetting host Michigan nine seasons ago.
The Mountaineers made the jump to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in 2014 and are currently members of the Sun Belt Conference.