The Last Cane Entitled To Opinion, Has One

olivier vernon miami hurricanes bowl banThe quote almost reads like a parody from for those who actually know the history of Olivier Vernon, his suspension last season and the eventual early departure from the University of Miami, if favor of last spring’s NFL Draft.

Vernon was suspended six games in 2011; two more than any other Hurricane and five games longer than most.

The verdict – that Vernon received ‘substantial benefits’ from Nevin Shapiro, and athletics personnel, in effort to entice him to enroll at Miami. Meals, transportation, access to a game day suite, drinks and night club cover charges totaling over $1,200.

A drop in the bucket compared to what goes on nationwide in college athletics, but wrong nonetheless – and Vernon got caught.

Upon his return the junior posted eighteen total tackles (three-and-a-half for loss) and one-and-a-half sacks.

Vernon only started the final three games of the season, yet still decided to take his talents to the NFL, where he was drafted in the third round – seventy-second overall – by the Miami Dolphins. He scored a touchdown on a blocked kick against the New York Jets earlier this season, punctuated with a ‘Gangnam Style’ celebration dance.

Of course his most memorable play of the year will most-likely be his comments in the wake of UM self-imposing a bowl ban for a second straight season.

“Sometimes I guess you feel like the school doesn’t have your back,” said Vernon, who sat out a bowl ban last season with the Canes.

“You work so hard in the season to get to a bowl game, get to ACC championship, and to know that your school gave up a bowl bid kinda hurts a little bit, but I’m not there so I ain’t worrying about it right now.”

Blaming the school for the mistakes of past players and punctuating the thought with an air of, I-don’t-give-a-shit-not-my-problem.

Welcome precisely to how the University of Miami ended up on this mess; selfish, me-first players like Vernon.

Guys who took more than they gave. Another athlete who felt they were owed something, opposed to focusing on the legacy left behind and the impact on those coming up in the rear-view.

The high school recruiting high jinks? Forgivable. Eighteen-year old entitled athletes are nothing new and the system is broken. In a word, it happens. Plus, Vernon made right regarding the money and missed half of last season as punishment. His debt was paid and repaid.

Leaving early? Again, the name of the game. Third round talent usually returns, but if the kid was done with the college game and wanted to move, it’s his right and his life.

Wrongly directing pot-shots at his alma mater (who gave him a shot, an education and more than ‘had his back’), instead of the NCAA or the former U players who created this mess? Ridiculously immature and showing zero growth since those mistakes made on his recruiting trip as a high school senior.

Was nothing learned through age, growth and experience, these past four years, Olivier? Should an opportunity like this arise again, a simple “no comment” would best help all parties involved.

Honestly, this is precisely the self-absorbed culture head coach Al Golden needs to rid of as he rebuilds a damaged program and broken culture in Coral Gables.

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



8 thoughts on “The Last Cane Entitled To Opinion, Has One

  1. Personally, I think any of these former Canes who took Shapiro’s dirty money and “favors” and contributed to this mess should not be recognized as Canes’ alumni. They knew what they were doing was against NCAA rules, but they selfishly broke those rules anyway. As a result, good kids like Mike James are missing out on bowl games and future teams will be impacted negatively because of scholarship reductions. Kids like Vernon were all about themselves, not the team or the program. Render them “nonpersons” as far as the Miami Hurricanes are concerned.

    1. Tough call on that. Unfortunately this stuff is rampant in college ball and if we drew that line in the sand, there would be a SLEW of Miami greats that would be persona non grata.

      I do feel for a kid like Mike James — but do so in the same way I feel for some of the kids who rolled into Miami around 2004 and expected to be part of a great team, instead of those lesser teams of 2004 to 2007. Timing sucked for those guys, the way it does for James. Still, he had a great career and a bright future. Wish him the best and thankful for all he did.

      Agree that guys like Vernon were all about themselves. Gave NOTHING to this program (in the grand scheme of things), and definitely did more damage than good.

      Running his mouth from the NFL while current guys accepted the bowl ban WITH CLASS …. tells you all you need to know as to WHY this UM program became a shit-show the past few years.

  2. So now the NCAA has sent letters to former players who have refused to cooperate stating that if they do not speak with them by Friday, the NCAA will consider their silence an admission of guilt re: Shapiro’s claims. Considering that the NCAA does not have jurisdiction over former players I would say that this is turning into a witch hunt and they are pulling out all the stops in an effort to seriously hammer, if not cripple the program. This does not bode well:

  3. ” ### My opinion: Regardless of whether it’s bluffing or not, the NCAA – by sending this letter to former players – is being heavy-handed and manipulative. Considering the NCAA has no jurisdiction over former players, it’s offensive that it would threaten to believe a convicted felon without additional corroboration. A felon, for that matter, who’s in jail for a crime involving lying (a Ponzi scheme. ) Barry Jackson, Miami Herald Sports
    And this here Cane MOD and the VAST MAJORITY of Hurricane fandom, STILL BELIEVE the N.C.A.A. doesn’t have a DECADES-LONG bloody axe to grind with the University of Miami, Florida Hurricane football program!!! Puhleezzzee!!!!

    Yeah, yeah I do BLOVIATE bout’ bloody CONSPIRACY THEORIES involving the Hurricanes and Mike James and what not. SO WHAT!!!!

    Again, I’ll continue to bloody well BLOVIATE about the N.C.ORRUPT A.A. and it’s MALICE, intentions with the Canes. Eh. What say.

    Bottom line is when the N.C.A.A., finally, comes to it’s conclusion with the University of Miami, Florida Hurricanes, the bloody HAMMER IS GOING TO COME DOWN on the football program.

    Bloody aU contraire to what this Cane MOD and the vast majority of Miami fandom wanna’ believe!!!!

    Bon jour et Bon soir

  4. He should be apologizing to the kids on the current team. It was his (and other past players) mistakes they are paying for. Once again taking the easy way out. Way to stay classy Vernon.

  5. You hit the nail on the head with the entitled athlete comment. So many of these kids are told how great they are from an early age that they actually start to believe it.
    Clearly young Mr. Vernon is an ungrateful punk who learned nothing by going to college.
    I’d love to see how some of these slugs would have turned out had they not been given the incredible opportunity that a university experience has to offer, and instead stayed out of school. My guess is that would be a lot more very large people working behind the counter of McD’s.

  6. What a knucklehead. Yeah just shut up Olivier. Where is this kid’s parents or guidance counselors telling him to keep crap to himself…?

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