Saturday, December 13, 2014

ESPN Films 30 for 30 Vol II: The 'U' Part II

With Sharon out to Dinner with Janie for their annual Christmas dinner, I watched The 'U' Part 2. This is the twentieth-sixth installment of ESPN's 30 for 30 Vol II. An episode guide for Vol II is here.

Five years ago, I watched the 'U' as part of the original 30 for 30 series. Part Two picks up where the original film ended. In the late 1990's, the University of Miami football program received a number of sanctions from the NCAA, including the loss of 31 scholarships and bowl game ban.

Under Butch Davis, the program was rebuilt. In the 2002 Rose Bowl, the Hurricanes took a 34–0 halftime lead and cruised to a 37–14 win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers to capture their fifth national championship and put the finishing touches on a perfect 12–0 season. There is an interesting FiveThirtyEight post that this was the most talented college football team in history.

In 2003, the #1 ranked and unbeaten Hurricanes faced Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. On a controversial pass interference call in overtime, Ohio State upset Miami by the score of 31 to 24. The Ohio State team featured Maurice Clarrett and was coached Jim Tressel! They are the topic for another 30 for 30 Volume 2 film.

In a macabre incident of history repeating itself, the program gets into trouble again in the late 2000's due to the involvement of Nevin Shapiro. Shapiro is a former University of Miami football booster who is currently imprisoned for orchestrating a $930 million Ponzi scheme. According to interviews, he engaged in rampant violations of NCAA rules over eight years as a booster for University of Miami athletes. Shapiro allegedly provided cash, goods, prostitutes, assorted favors and on one occasion, an abortion to University of Miami football players.

The story flips once more when the NCAA came under fire for methods that they used to investigate the University of Miami football program. Apparently, the NCAA made payments to Shapiro's attorney to subpoena people for dispositions in an ongoing bankruptcy case as a way to ask questions under oath.

In spite of all the turmoil highlighted in the two films, the football program has had amazing record. The accomplishments included:
  • From 2000 to 2002, the U won 34 consecutive games.
  • From 1979 to 2008, the U had more NFL first-round draft picks than any other school [49].
  • From 1979 to 2008, the U had more players drafted to the NFL than any other school [180].
  • From 1983 to 2002, the U won more national championships than any other school [5].
While I didn't find it as compeling as Part One, this is an interesting documentary. All of these films make me very jaded about college football. It is a big business whose rules needed to be badly overhauled.

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