Miami Hurricanes trustee Bernie Kosar said the school held back 10 football scholarships last season in response to an ongoing NCAA probe, a claim that was quickly denied by athletic department officials.
Kosar, the former Hurricanes and NFL quarterback, made the comment before Miami's season-opener against Florida Atlantic and said the move hampered the school's recruiting efforts in South Florida. Shortly after Kosar spoke, Miami spokesman Chris Yandle said the statement was incorrect, though it was not made clear if Kosar erred on the number or if any scholarship sanction was self-imposed at all.
"To go the last two years and self-impose the bowl bans, and then not having 10 scholarships last year ... when you're that thin with your number of scholarships and you have that many gifted players in our community, it's really hard to get out to everyone that you'd really like to have," Kosar said.
It's not the first time Kosar, a Miami trustee for about the past decade, has made an eye-raising statement in recent weeks.
Earlier this month, the former Cleveland quarterback angered St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher for criticizing players while working as a commentator for a broadcast of a preseason Browns-Rams game, and Kosar — who was at Miami on Friday with many former teammates as part of the school's 30th anniversary celebration of the 1983 national championship squad — even quipped Friday night that he had to be careful with his words.
Miami has self-imposed some sanctions in response to the NCAA investigation, most notably two postseason bans that kept the Hurricanes from a bowl in 2011, along with a bowl and the Atlantic Coast Conference title game last year.
The NCAA investigation revolves around the actions of former booster and convicted felon Nevin Shapiro, who provided dozens of Miami athletes, coaches and recruits impermissible benefits between 2002 and 2010. Miami got the notice of the allegations against it in February, appeared before the NCAA's Committee on Infractions in June and wanted the case resolved by now.
The most damning charge against the school is that it failed to exercise institutional control when it came to monitoring Shapiro.
And the scholarship issue is significant. According to documents reviewed by The Associated Press, the NCAA — as part of the response to the institutional-control charge — asked Miami to provide a detailed breakdown of the number of scholarships awarded in the last four years, how many it is currently using, and how many it plans to use in the next academic year.
Such a request has been considered a strong sign that the NCAA is trying to limit the number of scholarships Miami will have available as one of the still-unannounced sanctions that could be coming against the Hurricanes.