In 1995, on the heels of the Hurricanes' Pell Grant scandal,Sports Illustrated
published one of its most minimalist but powerful covers: a plain green background featuring the headline "Why the University of Miami should drop football."
To many Canes fans -- most of whom believed up until last week that the program's ethics had not only turned the corner but also become something of a model of good behavior -- the cover was a symbol of over-reactionary Canes persecution. Of course, on the heels of Nevin Shapiro's allegations, the magazine is once again asking UM to drop football.
Unfortunately for design nerds, the cover of next week's issue isn't a rehash of the iconic cover. The Milwaukee Brewers dominate that spot, but SI reprints a thumbnail of the classic cover at the top, with a banner that reads, "16 Years Later It's Time to Get Real."
Alexander Wolff, the scribe who wrote the original letter to then-president Tadd Foote, this time aims his pen at Donna Shalala. He predicts that the NCAA won't levy the death penalty on Miami, but he pleads Shalala to impose the penalty herself.
"You should do what President Foote didn't and drop football, at least temporarily," Wolff writes. "But you should do more. In its most scandal-addled hour, college sports needs you. You served on the original Knight Commission, set up more than two decades ago to make sure athletic programs reflected their universities' educational mission. During your five years as chancellor, you both turned Wisconsin into a winner and helped create an environment in which the NCAA would make three major infractions findings. But all that then, and all this now, is precisely why you're the person to lead a new cleanup effort. You'll have the credibility of a Scared Straight! testifier among juvenile delinquents. By making clear that you would have accepted the death penalty for Miami if you hadn't chosen the harder route of taking the hemlock yourself, you will have the clout to lead the calls for systemic reform."
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Wolff also gives props to former coach Randy Shannon, "the only person in Coral Gables who wanted nothing to do with Shapiro."
Unlike his original letter, however, Wolff condemns not only the University of Miami but also the NCAA. He implores Shalala to lead calls for major reforms of college sports.
Though he has come to the same conclusion, it's good to know that in 16 years, Wolff has realized that the NCAA is the true cancer and that the problems at Miami are merely a recurring symptom.