University of Miami self-imposes postseason ban

CORAL GABLES — It came a day later than last year, but the expected decision was made official Monday morning.

For an unprecedented second straight season, the University of Miami will forgo the opportunity of a football postseason in the face of the ongoing NCAA investigation. 

UM interim athletic director Blake James delivered the news in the regularly-scheduled team meeting Monday morning. He'll address reporters at 10 a.m., though school president was said to have final decision-making power on the matter.

A spokesperson for Shalala declined a Sun Sentinel request for comment Monday morning.

The move eliminates the Hurricanes from the potential of playing in their first ACC Championship Game. Miami plays Duke at 12:30 p.m. Saturday for the Coastal Division title, but today's announcement officially made it the final game of Miami's 2012 season.

It is believed to be the first time in NCAA history a school has self-imposed a postseason ban in consecutive years. Through tie-breakers, Miami's decision sets up a Florida State-Georgia Tech meeting in the Dec. 1 ACC Championship Game in Charlotte.

A statement from UM read in part:

"The unprecedented decision to voluntarily withhold the football team from a second consecutive postseason was made by University leadership, including President Shalala, the Office of the General Counsel and Department of Athletics leaders. 

"Considerable deliberation and discussion based on the status of the NCAA inquiry went into the decision-making process and, while acknowledging the impact that the decision will have on current student-athletes, coaches, alumni and fans, a determination was made that voluntarily withholding the football team from a second postseason was not only a prudent step for the University to take but will also allow for the football program and University to move forward in the most expedited manner possible.

"The University and President Shalala have been clear from the start of the inquiry that Miami will cooperate fully and will seek the truth, no matter where the path might lead and that the institution will be stronger because of it.  The University has already taken proactive measures to ensure more strict compliance with NCAA rules and continues to evaluate further steps.

"No other self-imposed penalties have been issued at this time and to continue to protect the integrity of the inquiry, the University will have no further comment."

Last year, the school self-imposed a postseason ban a day after winning its sixth game to reach eligibility. This year, the announcement was made two days after pounding USF 40-9 in Sun Life Stadium.

The decision wasn't an easy one and is tough to swallow for the 17 departing players.

"To tell you the truth, I don't want it to happen,'' senior receiver Kendal Thompkins said after his season-high three catch game Saturday against USF. "But they have to do what's best for the program. This is my senior year, so I would like to play in a bowl game."

On Twitter, current players have been silent. But a few former Hurricanes commented on the decision.

"I couldn't feel any worse for those guys on the team who have to deal with another bowl ban. Too much work gets put in for this to happen," former UM linebacker Sean Goldstein posted .

The idea behind self-imposing the ban is to lessen the anticipated sanctions handed down by the NCAA. The investigation that began in March of 2011 could be nearing an end, so putting the past in the past and taking the medicine now is the idea.

With 20 starters returning and the bulk of the roster consisting of freshmen and sophomores, the future could be bright for the program. But it can't get there until the punishment is known.

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