We Got The Message, Sun Life Was Dead

miami hurricanes sparse crowd sun life stadiumIt gets tiring writing this type of piece over and over, but when the outsiders choose to pile on “The U”, someone in-the-know needs to speak up for this program, setting the record straight.

Yahoo! Sports continued their obsession with all things University of Miami-related this past weekend, dedicating a story, headline and front-page real estate to a piece on the sparse crowd that showed up to see the Hurricanes in the season opener against Bethune-Cookman.

The “article” was just shy of 150 words, took cheap shots and in the end, like anything you’d find on TMZ.com, said absolutely nothing. Sensationalism has taken over college football. Lovely.

As a Miami native and supporter of the program, you hate to see this on every level, but in the same breath have come to terms with pledging your allegiance to a unique program like UM. Some things just come with the territory.

To an outsider, this is a story, but to long-time fans, it’s nothing new – despite how Yahoo! or anyone else tries to spin it. Blame the Kansas State loss. Put it on the overall recent decline of the program. Shake a fist about missing the confines of the ghetto-cozy Orange Bowl. Rant and rave about an off-campus stadium so far away it’s literally on the county line. Unfortunately none of that has anything to do with poor attendance for UM games.

This is the way it is, the way it has been and the way it always will be. When Miami lines up against a much lesser opponent – for a noon kickoff, no less – this will be the expected result.

Still need proof? Grab a media guide or pop in a VHS tape from November 3rd, 2001.

Best In The Land Team STILL Couldn’t Draw A Crowd

miami hurricanes team 2001The Miami Hurricanes were the top-ranked team in the polls.. The record sat at 6-0. It was homecoming weekend, the game was at the beloved Orange Bowl and Temple was on the other sideline.

Announced crowd – 31,128.

Three games prior. Mid-October. Sitting at 3-0 and back at home, number one Miami welcomes Troy to the Orange Bowl.

Announced crowd – 36,617.

First home game of the year in 2001? A top the rankings and coming off a 33-7 win at Penn State, 39,804 tickets were sold (or given away) for a 61-0 beat down of Rutgers – again, at the Orange Bowl fans so desperately miss.

One game that fans did get up for that season? A home showdown against No. 12 Washington in November.

The Huskies lacked star power and weren’t a marquee program or a conference / state rival. No, they were simply a team that derailed Miami’s chances at a championship game berth the previous season, so it instantly went on the calendar, marked in red as a ‘revenge’ game – which gets juices flowing and chests puffed out in South Florida. (Think Notre Dame visiting the OB in ’89, the year after the phantom Cleveland Gary fumble and Irish national title.)

78,114 were on hand to witness the 65-7 massacre and unlike when top-ranked Florida State visited the previous year –  80,905 were in attendance – the Canes-Huskies crowd was all Miami, whereas Canes-Noles always features a hefty does of FSU faithful.

A few years prior Miami welcomed No. 2 UCLA to the Orange Bowl on the heels of a 66-13 loss at Syracuse the week prior. The Canes lost a shot at the Big East title and despite the opportunity to derail the undefeated Bruins and their title dream, only a reported 46,819 were on hand to witness a true “turning point” game for the program.

This past weekend a 1-1 Miami team welcomed lowly Bethune-Cookman and the ‘announced’ crowd was 39,435. It obviously was much, much less – but in the same breath, such was probably the case for those attendance numbers against Rutgers, Temple and Troy in 2001, as well.

This season hasn’t (yet) been a nightmare, outside those four quarters at Kansas State and winding up on the wrong end of a 52-13 whooping week two. Still, the frustration is more than just one game-fueled as UM has seemingly been beaten down as a program for years.

No conference title since 2003, winning the Big East one last time before defecting to the ACC. No BCS game in equally as long. The Canes haven’t even sniffed a three-loss season since 2005 — going an embarrassing 43-36, to date, since.

“The U” : Nowhere Near As Big As Its Image

university of miami campusPoll a random number of college football enthusiasts and you’ll be surprised by how many have no idea that the University of Miami is a private school. Tell them “The U” has just over 10,000 undergraduates and watch the jaws drop.

“I always thought Miami was huge — 30,000 or 40,000 undergrads like other big schools?”

Nope. Not even close.

Beyond that, the University of Miami is in … Miami. Over 2.5M residents. A major metropolitan city full of transplants. A place with so, so much more going on than just a world revolving around college football.

The majority of Canes fans didn’t attend UM, which is viewed as some type of scarlet letter amongst fans and alumni of typical rah-rah programs – cities where there’s absolutely nothing to do except sell your soul to college football and the lone hometown team.

My first year of college was spent at the University of Alabama and after hopping around, I closed out my the final years of my formal education at the University of Florida. Three combined years spent in Tuscaloosa and Gainesville, both the heart of SEC country, I’ve seen people that drank the Kool-Aid and know nothing outside of twelve Saturdays in fall.

Born and raised in Miami, seeing four Hurricanes national championships between fourth grade and my senior year of high school and spending my Saturdays at the Orange Bowl, mowing down arepas, celebrating wins and hearing cries of ‘no blockie’ upon arrival and house lights shut out when returning to the family car six rows deep – to me, THAT was college football.

It was an era when the Dolphins were down, both the Panthers and Marlins were not-yet-existent and the Heat only showed up when the Canes were two titles in, an upstart franchise with little virtually no star power.

In a word, your Miami Hurricanes were truly the only show in town — and they were winning big, winning often and winning with style, which is the only way you keep anyone’s attention in the 3-0-5.

UM was doing it with attitude, too – thumbing a nose at the establishment, which earned the Canes some street cred and bonus points with proud, local fans.

Magic City : Never Been A College Town, Never Will Be

south beach miami hurricanesWhat the University of Miami never has – and never will – benefit from, is true support from a large, football-minded alumni base with deep pockets and a win-at-all-costs mentality – and that difference between a true alum who bleeds for the program, as opposed to casual local fan? The ‘fan’ can shut down when times get tough as there’s no true allegiance or reason to be true to one’s school.

The ‘fan’ can check out when the going gets tough. The ‘fan’ can spend their entertainment dollar elsewhere, be it South Beach and a rowdy nightlife, or seats at American Airlines Arena to watch LeBron James and Dwyane Wade bringing home hardware.

That lack of true star-power in 80s-era South Florida? No mas. Miami sizzles with big name athletes and celebrities. Countless reality programs showcase the glitz and glam of the city.

It’s a vibrant town, full of energy and there’s always something going on, which explains locals coming down with selective A.D.D. during football season, as well as fans turning their noses up at 12pm kickoffs in the dead of September – especially against an FCS-caliber opponent.

Deep South? The complete opposite.

My dorm at Mary Burke East was two blocks from Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa and come Wednesday mornings I didn’t need an alarm close as the sound of RVs rolling into the parking lot was enough to wake any hungover college student.

Wednesdays. Games were Saturdays.

Cars, trucks and Winnebagos decked out in crimson and white, packed full of fans tailgating for days.

Home games that season were Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Ole Miss (other ‘home’ games were at Legion Field in Birmingham) and the crowds were 70,123 for the Commodores, 70,123 for the Gamecocks and 70,123 or the Rebels — all the same number because all were a packed house, despite being pitted against unranked nobodies.

In Tuscaloosa it’s football … and nothing else.

During my time in Tuscaloosa there were a few bars on the main drag, a mall that supposedly was supposedly blown up when Burt Reynolds filmed “Hooper” back in ’78, a bigger-and-fancier mall forty-five minutes away and college freshmen Friday nights were usually spent drinking beers in the dark, on bridges where the Civil War was fought, according the bullet-ridden historical signs affixed to them.

During the day we’d cliff-jump into a murky lake, would mow down ribs at Dreamland BBQ or would pay $2 to visit the Bryant Museum, just to get out of the heat.

The entertainment dollar? Not too many other ways to spend outside of football in real-deal college towns.

As for Gainesville, a metropolis compared to Tuscaloosa, but for a Miamian, still slow-paced and one-dimensional.

Come Saturdays in fall, its the Gator football or you were in solitude.

Head to toe orange and blue. Pandemonium up and down University Avenue at the frat houses and bars near the stadium. Same for any restaurant with a TV over on Archer Road. If Florida won, Gainesville’s downtown became a mini Mardi Gras for the night. A loss and it was a ghost town.

jortsville usa gainesville floridaThe Gators won their first football title in January 1997. When I graduated in summer 1998, there were still car and apartment windows with “52-20” done up with faded white shoe polish – the score of the national championship game where Florida demolished Florida State in the Sugar.

The next time the two teams met, almost a year later, the Gators outlasted the top-ranked Noles, 32-29 in The Swamp.

My then-barber Jimmy at “Gator Cuts” had the next morning’s Gainesville Sun taped to the mirror in front of his chair, partly for the win over a rival, but more so because he was features in the page-sized image – a police officer’s boot in the back of his neck as he was face down and cuffed on the grass for rushing the field post-game.

To some, an embarrassing moment. To the ultimate fan, a true badge of honor.

What Other College Program Has So Much In-City Competition?

Every fan base has their diehards versus their bandwagoners, but it’s truly about the bigger picture and the overall sports culture in a town. A large metropolitan city like Miami has the Hurricanes, but the program will always play second-fiddle to the Dolphins as the NFL franchise remains the fair-haired team, despite the lack of success the past four decades.

The Heat remains the toast of the town, and will as long as the James / Wade show continues taking the franchise deep into the playoffs, and while the Marlins and Panthers appear to be afterthoughts, both have a core fan base and remain competition for UM athletics, on some level.

College towns simply don’t deal with four professional sports franchises and a world-class night life – South Beach, a playground from folks all over the globe, is Miami’s backyard. Further south, The Keys and when looking east, nothing blue the crystal blue Atlantic.

duke johnson miami hurricanesDoes that forgive the awful showing against Bethune-Cookman on Saturday? Absolutely not.

Out of 2.5M residents, you’d think there were enough Hurricane fans in town to pack two-thirds of that stadium simply to see freshman phenom Duke Johnson in his first home game – where he would up dazzling and scoring four touchdowns.

There weren’t. Not at 1-1. Not after getting thumped by Kansas State a week ago. Not when this program has struggled for half a decade and not when one beloved off-campus stadium was bulldozed in favor of a loathed concrete jungle twice as far away from Coral Gables.

For UM, a program with a fan base made up predominantly of locals with no allegiance, in a city with way-too-many distractions, it’s going to take fielding an exciting product and a winner-with-attitude again. Even then, the crowds will remain paltry for lesser foes – see 2001 for proof – but the overall mindset towards the program and game day attitude will be much more positive.

Everyone knows this. Even second-year head coach Al Golden.

“I don’t worry about the crowd,” Golden said post-game.

“I understand. I understand the market we’re in, and there’s going to be a day when we’re delivering. There’s going to be a day when we’re delivering and they’re going to come out and see guys like Duke Johnson and Malcolm Lewis, and those guys. And we’re going to grow up together. I promise you this team is going to grow up together.”

As a long-time enthusiast, you know he’s right and you long for the day it finally arrives and his prediction comes true.

You just shudder at the time frame as you want it both here and now, with showings like last Saturday’s a thing of the distant past.

And so “The Process” goes.

Christian Bello has been covering Miami Hurricanes athletics since the mid-1990s. After spending almost a decade as a columnist for CanesTime, he launched allCanesBlog.com. – the official blog for allCanes.com : The #1 Canes Shop Since 1959. Bello has joined up with XOFan.com and will be a guest columnist at CaneInsider.com this fall. Follow him on Twitter @ChristianRBello.



25 thoughts on “We Got The Message, Sun Life Was Dead

  1. Wow! That was an awesome piece. I grew up in Gainesville but enjoyed my college years at University of Miami for undergrad and grad school. You hit the nail on the head for sure. My first semester at “the U” was 97. I was shocked at the attendance at the OB. But I quickly figured it out. The bigger games were amazing, UCLA, FSU, etc…

    I believe in Golden. I truly think we are headed in the right direction. It is a tad frustrating though to see so few at the games. But it does make it easier to get tickets for me and my kids. My sons love Duke Johnson and could care less about the other people in the stands.

    Again, great write up. Keep up the good work. Love this blog.

    1. Best thing I heard T, was Golden saying that he knows this is the way it is in Miami. This guy knew what he was buying into and didn’t come south with any delusions. He knows that if you lose at Miami, you see what he’s seen this past year. But he also knows that turn it around and the Canes can be the biggest show in town again – which is what he’s working towards doing. It will just take time.

      1. Also, Florida may have poor educational systems but these kids aren’t dumb..

        When they sign on the dotted lines to play for the University of Miami they already KNOW that people don’t want to see garbage on the field. They knew that in highschool. If you were to ask some of the players on this team what they thought about it I’m pretty sure the response would be “win, and they’ll come”.

        Also, F*** YAHOO SPORTS.

  2. I grew up in Miami and attended FSU. I always stayed a Miami fan even after graduating from their rival school. A good chunk of my childhood was going to Hurricanes football games every fall. Miami as a town is a fairweather sports town. It always will be because there are way too many things that people can do for fun. My ultimate wish would be that the Canes had a stadium on campus. At least that would be more traditional than having to drive to Joe Robbie Stadium, I mean Sun Life Stadium.

    1. Unfortunately there will NEVER be an on-campus option. Never in a million years. Not with that Coral Gables zip code. Ask longtime residents some of the quirky rules and zoning issues should you try to do anything to your property. Furthermore, there simply aren’t the roads to handle in and out traffic on game day. No chance whatsoever. It’d be a zoo.

      Best-case scenario would be Tamiami Park … or hoping the Marlins el foldo and something can be tweaked there.

      As for ‘fairweathered’ … sort of, but not really. More of a front-runner mentality, which I think is a little different. It’s not like fans get hot or cold on the team, with a fair-weathered mentality. People simply change the channel, disconnect and focus on one of many other things to do when the program is down.

      To me, fairweathered was what you saw in Gainesville last year when Florida went 7-6, attendance dropped and fans were bailing at halftime during losses. Those people aren’t “checking out” on their Gators as UF is the only show in town. They turn out in droves and are world-class loudmouths when winning AND they beat the drum that they’re some big-time superfans, but then embarrassingly shuffle out and stop showing up when the program has a little hiccup after years of recent success.

  3. Here,s a legit question.

    Should we play wet cupcake junior college, pay them show-up money ($250000 or more). Get the win and have very low attendance.

    Or should we schedule a home-and-home (or a 2 for 1) with a decent school, pay no or very little money, possibly lose but get better home attendance.

    UF, this year has a pretty bad lollipop junior college schedule. It,s costing then show-up money, costing them at the gate, and yes, they get the win before a 50% attendance crowd.

    A lot of fans really don,t want the hassle to go see Flat Rock academy, and quite frankly, i don,t blame them – – –

    Why not “up” the schedule. So we go 5-6 vs 6-5 but what difference does it make. We still get ACC revenue sharing and were not going BIG bowling for quite a while anyways.

    1. Ken – Bigger schools like an Alabama or Florida, mentioned in the piece … and Ohio State, Texas, et al … they can afford to get Nobody U, to write the fat check, to have a glorified scrimmage, the guaranteed win and to live to see another day.

      Florida State had 70,047 for the opener against Murray State. A week later there were 71, 126 on hand for the cut-short blowout of Savannah State.

      That’s simply the way it works for rah-rah college towns but send either of those programs to Miami to play and no one is showing up.

      Again, per the article, add the attendance in 2001 of Troy and Temple and you STILL don’t get what Florida State each of the first two weekends for Sisters Of The Poor.

      The only thing Miami did wrong here was (1) scheduling two road games of that nature and (2) playing a low-market program like Kansas State. Manhattan isn’t fertile recruiting ground for Miami so that is a pointless game, win or lose. (A noon kickoff on the FX network? Please. Go schedule games in Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Ohio, Arizona or California. There is absolutely zero reason to ever play a freakin’ game in Kansas if you’re UM.

  4. Yea – agree. With cheap airfares you can probably fly to california cheaper than manhattan kansas (wherever the hell that is) and get a chance to expose the UM program to california high school NFL style passing QB,s (which we need lots of).

    Oh well, i,m (obviously) not in charge of scheduling.

    But, they all make this type of mistake. This week UVA (just down the street) plays TCU. At mickleydoos this am, i had to explain just exactly where it is. Nobody gives a damn. At least it,s not home.

  5. Great perspective. I’ll have to check out the Yahoo! hack piece. As I have said before, the only university that can really compare to what we are facing is USC. Even there, it’s not equal because they have no pro football team and have a bigger alumni/booster base. I have never been to a home Miami game, being up here in Ohio (went to the Kick-off Classic years ago), but I feel bad for the kids who are putting it all on the field, the coaching staff and for any recruits who may be in attendence. At the same time, the school needs to do a better job of marketing the team and drumming up interest in this competitive economy for the fan dollar. I watched some Heat games this year and there were almost always empty seats there as well, so it’s just how it is. I appreciate the historical perspective and know the true players won’t be swayed by how many fans are in the seats but by how many players we graduate and put in the League.

  6. Going to Atlanta for the game saturday. Does anybody know what street is good to tailgate at it and where Canes fans will be?


  7. Good article but I don’t think it tells the entire story. You have to look beyond the 2.5 million residents of Dade. Within a 4 hour car ride of the stadium there are probably 7-8 million people. Granted a noon kickoff v. Bethune isn’t going to draw many in mid Sept. I also get there are other things to do in S.Fla. But what about Washington, D.C.? VT fans in the greater D.C. area have tons of things to do (Redskins, Nationals, Caps, Ravens and O’s not far away and all the amenities of a big city and big area where there is always something going on.) Those VT fans will leave the D.C. area by the thousands and drive 4 hours over the mountains to see VT host Austin-Peay or host anyone. VT can go 0-12 and those same fans will leave the big city to travel to see their team in a sold out stadium. The next day many of those fans will go see the Redskins or Ravens. Last year UM crushes OSU and everyone is happy. The very next week UM host K.St. and drew a paltry crowd. That weekend the Phins were away so UM was the only game in town. and still couldn’t draw a proper crowd even though everyone was happy as a clam from beaing OSU. Is everyone in S.Fla going to the beach, boating, fishing, etc.? Out of 7 million people UM couldn’t muster 45K fans (K.St. brought a huge contingent)? I mean, geez, you normally have nice weather and you can BUY as many beers as you want while watching football yet even that doesn’t bring the fans!! (all other fans would give their right arms to be able to buy a beer at their home games) Look, I get the immigrant population by and large isn’t into UM football. That’s fine. That population aside, we have to address a simple, painful fact. While there are many cool, solid people in S.Fla, there is a HUGE segment of the population which are not exactly the salt of the earth (Translation: they’re nimrods and dillweeds). We all know this but few want to accept it or even talk about it. S.Fla, more so than most other parts of the country, is literally overrun with nimrods. Until there’s a culture change we’re basically stuck with crummy attendance.

    1. – Yes there are lots of “fans” within a four-hour ride of the stadium, but that still doesn’t deal with the fact that Miami is a small alumni base and the further you go up the state, the more orange / blue or garnet / gold it gets. The key to the argument here is that Miami is a private school with a small alumni base. Folks who are ‘fans’ and not alumni don’t have the same loyalty to the program.

      – Virginia Tech is a state school with 24K undergrads. Miami is a private school with 10K undergrads.

      – The Sunshine State has several major programs with top-flight football programs – Miami, Florida and Florida State, while South Florida, Central Florida, Florida Atlantic and Florida International are on the rise. The Commonwealth State truly only has two major programs – Virginia Tech and Virginia. Loyalty is theoretically split 50 / 50 instead of much lesser odds for the seven Florida colleges. Miami may have more success, but Central Florida and South Florida have more alumni and booster money, scary as that may be.

      – Virginia Tech may be near Washington D.C. but it’s still a ‘rah-rah’ college program in a ‘rah-rah’ college town with an on-campus stadium. For the 24K undergrads and all the local alumni, not hard to pack that stadium as it’s the only show in town. Out of town alum will make the drive to Blacksburg, being true to their school, which again simply isn’t the case at UM, nor will it ever be. The fact that Sun Life is a stale concrete jungle doesn’t help, either. It will forever take a solid opponent and a decent ranking to get people interested.

      – Note that a lot of Miami’s alumni is from the Northeast and many head back home after graduating from UM.

      – Packed house for night game against Ohio State last year (66,279), again, like the article stated, was a ‘revenge’ game, a la Washington in 2001. Kansas State is a big national program, but is not a marquee program and there was no real draw for Miami locals, unfortunately. The Wildcats weren’t yet on the map but got better as the year went on, which is why the draw was small (43,786).

      – Don’t really want to touch the “nimrods” comment. Will leave that to you, but will say this — when you look at fans at West Virginia setting couches on fire or Ohio State fans in general (head to YouTube and check out the post-game riots after the ’02 win over Michigan – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7lYOJ2uA4Q – that seems more like the definition of overly fanatical nimrods. Would you necessarily call those folk, or Alabama fans … Florida fans …. Tennessee fans … etc. … “salt of the earth”?

      Difference is, most college programs have on-campus stadiums and are the only show in town, therefore fans tune in. Toss in the fact that many of the football factories are big money and win a lot of games, and it explains the level of fanaticism.

      At the end of the day, despite the Canes’ success, it is a metropolitan city and a pro-sports town. The Dolphins, their two Super Bowls and their undefeated season will always make them the favorite son over The U. Simply not enough University of Miami alumni (and an on-campus stadium) to help overcome that.

      1. That’s an interesting reply. WVU fans are arguably the most violent and obnoxious in the country. If WVU wins, the state burns. If they lose, the state burns. They treat their guests like garbage. OSU fans aren’t any cake walk either. I mean Herbstreit moved to TN to get away from his fellow OSU fans. (and perhaps for other reasons).

        The good news is that UM fans show up strong on away games. I was at MD and UNC last year. The UM section at MD was sold out and at UNC nearly sold out and we were loud. I could hear the UM fans at BC very clearly on my tv. UM nearly sells out our section at UVA and we’re not shy about expressing ourselves. I’m flying to Chicago and am expecting a very respectable showing even though Soldier Field is only 2 hours away from S. Bend. I just get very frustrated and disheartened by the lack of support in S.Fla. Consistent winning aside, there’s got to be a way to attract more fans to home games.

  8. Great article! Its so difficult trying to explain to my state school friends the concept that UM is not a “diploma factory”. We have a total of approximately 11,000 undergrad and graduate students at any given time, meaning each graduating class is around 2500-3000 students. UCF and FSU graduate around 11K people per semester! Over the decades, that adds up to a gigantic alumni base, with which to create a positive fan atmosphere. No wonder we can’t compete!

    Secondly, our stadium is atrocious. The city of Miami should be ashamed for tearing down the OB, and for colluding with an awful franchise like the Marlins to give them a stadium, as opposed to us. No student wants to wait an hour and a half in a bus to take them all the way up north to the middle of no where.


    1. The stadium situation is garbage and unfortunately the fans and city are partly to blame as there should’ve been a movement to renovate and preserve the Orange Bowl back in the nineties, as well as getting other tenants during the off-season. Once it became a dilapidated stadium that hosted flea markets, occasional soccer games and five to six football throwdowns in fall — the obvious choice was to get rid of it.

      Miami honestly need to look into Tamiami Park, or some other closer option. Sun Life is a concrete jungle. I would struggle to get amped up for a national title Orange Bowl game there, let alone home games against Bethune-Cookman.

  9. Been explaining these factors to people for years. No one knows how small UMiami is, how unfriendly to college football the culture is, how Canes fans have never consistently showed up, etc. etc.

    You hit the nail on the head. This is an incredible piece. You really hit so many nails on the head. Bravo.

    1. Thanks, man. Feels like I write a variation of this every few years, or have repeated chunks of it in emails back and forth with opposing fans.

      Sadly, it is what it is. Winning helps cure … but with the Canes, it still doesn’t cure all. UM will always be a bit of a tough draw. Especially at Sun Life.

  10. And while 24k and 10k are only 14k apart, if they get 10k more students at a game than we do, that is a much different atmosphere already than what we have going. Non-student fans will show up for the atmosphere too.

    One of the commonly overlooked reasons why Miami doesn’t have packed crowds for a lot of games is, because Miami doesn’t have packed crowds for a lot of games. Meaning that, if the atmosphere isn’t there, and has never been there, why would people want to go? It’s a vicious cycle.

    Something as small as 15k students going to the games vs. 7.5k students going could make a world of difference.

    Also, in response to Richmond, you’re comparing apples and oranges. At the end of the day, Miami just isn’t a great sports town. I don’t even think the majority of the Heat fanbase is good. It’s almost like everyone goes to the game, because everyone goes to the game. Heat fans, in my experience, know the least about their team, and the least about the sport, bar none.

    I’m from the DC area (on the other side of the beltway) and I can honestly say that DC is a great sports town. While it took a little while for the city to jump onto the Nats train, they eventually did. Sure the fans are fairweather as hell right now, but in DC, fans are fans to stay. Redskins fans are loyal as any fans I’ve ever met. I’m not a skins fan, but I respect the hell out of my buddies who have stood by them forever.

    Long story short, Miami isn’t a good sports town, DC is. In Miami, it takes fans to get fans. And right now, we don’t have ’em.

    1. Miami isn’t a good sports town and Washington D.C. is. No argument there.

      Still think that the biggest issue here is Miami being a private school with an off-campus stadium, versus Virginia Tech, with Blacksburg a big college town and a rabid fan base as the Hokies really are the only show in town. UM simply doesn’t have a big alum base and a safe bet there are A TON of VT alum in that D.C. region.

  11. I,ve been around a little longer that most on this blog. So some obversations.

    1. When schelly took over the program he pushedfor a 35000-40000 on-campus facility. He said we could rent a bigger place for the FSU and UF games. Probably a pretty good idea and could have been made to happen back then.

    2. The Herald did a atory many moons ago on declining friday note high school football attendance. It correlated pretty closely with the increased hispanic population in dade county. They made the point that there is no friday night high school football tradition where these folks came from. Maybe a (free) saturday basbol or soccer but no pay-to-get-in football. I think at the time the story was written there was 1 (one) hispanic player in the NFL.

    So, whatt,ya going to do? Move the school to Jacksonville, wait forthe potential fan base to get americanized, or de-emphasize the sport.

    I,m convinced that the UM administration does not want a really top-notch football and the other sport program. Otherwise, why the inaction on non-performing coaches. Just one good ,enuf to stay in the ACC.

    I,ll continue to support the program. But we fell (or were allowedi to fall) off the mountaintop and it will take a long time – – –

    1. Ken – You oft push the angle that UM doesn’t want top-notch sports programs, which really makes no sense. Whatever one’s personal feeling are on Donna Shalala, it cannot be denied that she’s a smart and savvy woman. That being the case, it doesn’t take a dummy to know that a a solid football, baseball and basketball program are HUGE revenue drivers.

      When the University of Miami was dominant in football back in the 1980s, a winning football program actually boosted enrollment. It helps morale, it puts the city on the map, it drives merchandise sales, ticket sales, ad revenue, etc.

      To your points:

      1. Schnelly pushed but there area million reasons that didn’t happen back then – most-notably the city of Coral Gables and the Gestapos that run the show there. Zoning issues have always been the case — even at allCanes. You have no idea the issues we’ve had over the past several decades trying to make changes to our building. Any little thing we’ve tried to do to our building, the Gables has been up our ass – which is how it’s always been.

      Even thirty years ago, San Amaro Drive and Ponce de Leon Boulevard couldn’t have handled the traffic that would’ve been kicked off by an on-campus stadium. Easy now to say it might’ve been easier to make happen then, but there really is no room for a stadium in that part of town.

      2. To your point about the local culture, again, it is what it is – and yes, UM needs to get better at marketing its product. Hard to sell the brand when the team is in the toilet – but they still need to do something to avoid embarrassing showings like the recent Bethune-Cookman outing.

      You keep talking about non-performing coaches, which stems from your issues with Jim Morris — which are well-documented here. How is Al Golden not performing a few days into season two? How does UM not give a shit about men’s basketball when they hire a coach like Jim Larranaga, who will soon turn things around? A women’s basketball coach like Katie Meier, one of the best in the sport? A track coach like Amy Deem, who just returned from coaching in the Olympics?

      I’m sorry, but this notion that UM doesn’t care about athletics is downright foolish.

      Miami football is in a hole because of back-to-back lame duck coaches. Larry Coker put UM in a hole and Randy Shannon tried to dig the Canes out, but made things worse. Such is life. Golden was a great hire and now needs time to right the ship.

      As for Morris, again, no program in the country is running a two-time national champion out of town because of a few down years. His overall body of work is impressive and yes, while his team haven’t performed up to par the last few years, sending him packing — just not going to happen. Look at Florida State. Mike Martin is entering his thirty-third year coaching the Seminoles and remains ringless. You think he’s going to get shit-bagged up there anytime soon? Absolutely not.

      Florida has an up and comer in Kevin O’Sullivan and again, good for them. They have an insane athletic budget, huge alumni support and rabid fans, as there’s absolutely NOTHING else to do in Gainesville.

      UF is paying Will Muschamp upwards of $3M a year — and is even paying OC Brent Pease around $2M this year — because they’re Florida and that’s what they can afford to do. That doesn’t Miami cheap. That doesn’t mean UM’s top brass doesn’t care about sports. It’s simply business. UF is a completely different monster.

      Lastly, out of curiosity, you say you’ll “continue to support the program” and I’d like to know what that means. Not in an antagonistic way, but when we as fans sit around banging our heads, complaining about losses and saying that the administration “doesn’t care about athletics”, what are fans doing to change that?

      You live in Virginia so you can’t go to home games — but how do you “support” the program? Are you a booster? Do you donate back to the program? Are you an alum? Do you meet with other local alum on game days and help build fans support?

      Again, just curious. A lot of folks on the sidelines bitching about what’s wrong these days — case in point, that idiot Dan Sileo screaming from behind a microphone — but how are fans being part of the SOLUTION?

      1. Great points Chris. While I never went to UM, my father played QB there in the 1960’s with George Mira Sr, so I was raised a Cane. We’ve written before about some of the issues surrounding UM, but I do not believe for an instant that the administration and athletic department are content with the current state of the football or baseball program. The money and prestige that the major athletic programs bring to a highly-respected academic institution is without question. Given time, I think Al Golden can turn things around in Coral Gables. I remain hopeful (yet skeptical) that Jim Morris can fix the baseball program, but your point is well-taken. Barring a major scandal, he’s not going anywhere. Hopefully both can bring success back to UM. Go Canes!

        – Jake (stationed in Japan and still watching Canes football at 1:00 am for kick off!)

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