We've theorized that the main reason University of Miami hasn't called basketball coach Frank Martin yet is because of his scandalous past at a Miami High School. Well, today an off-the-record source tells The Miami Herald that those skeletons in the closet may very well in fact be the main reason no one in Coral Gables has given Martin a ring despite his obvious hints he'd be open to the possibility of coaching the school's team.
Here's the report from Barry Jackson's Herald column:
A UM official said the reluctance so far to pursue Kansas State's Frank Martin relates to concerns about his past: Miami High vacated two of his state titles because of school employees' and boosters' recruiting violations, and two Kansas State players had NCAA suspensions last season. "You don't need someone tainted," the official said. "Our reputation is too good for that." New athletic director Shawn Eichorst now takes over the search.
That scandal was brought to light back in 1998 by former New Times scribe Robert Andrew Powell. He found that as many as a third of Martin's players, including current Miami Heat player Udonis Haslem, on the Miami Senior High School were potentially ineligible and/or living outside of the school's district.
A New Times investigation has revealed that as many as one-third of Miami High's players are of dubious eligibility. Glaring violations of FHSAA rules abound.
According to student records maintained by Dade County Public Schools, five of the fifteen players on the current Miami High varsity roster live with either a school employee, a coach, or a team booster. All three of those arrangements violate the FHSAA's policy on recruiting. Some of those students don't actually live at their given addresses, despite information to the contrary on the school district's computer system, preferring instead to live with their families many miles outside the school's attendance boundaries. The remaining ten players traveled a variety of circuitous paths to the Asylum, Miami High's home gym. At least two players transferred to participate in the school's education magnet program. Six players transferred via the county's Minority to Majority (M&M) program, which allows black students to transfer to predominately Hispanic Miami High, located on Flagler Street in Little Havana. One moved in with his grandmother.
To get an idea just how far Miami High will go to bring talented players into the fold, consider the case of three marquee talents: Haslem, who transferred last year; forward Antonio Latimer, a Puerto Rican who played at the Florida Air Academy in Melbourne; and Steven Blake, one of the best guards in Dade County and a leader on the Killian team that reached last season's state semifinals.
According to school district records, when the current season began Latimer and Haslem supposedly shared an efficiency apartment with a man who describes himself as an unpaid assistant coach for the team. Blake and his father, again according to district records, supposedly lived with a booster named Joyce Lund.
Martin was never formally penalized directly for the violations, but was fired.
Though, Martin hasn't run into any similar controversies during his college coaching career, and this scandal went down more than a decade ago. We may have helped bring him down, but Martin deserves all the credit for building himself back up with credibility. We wonder what new athletic director Shawn Eichorst has to think about the situation.
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