CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Miami coach Al Golden’s second season at the school is beginning much like his first one, with new accusations of rule breaking, the looming threat of serious NCAA sanctions and no apparent end in sight for the long probe into the Hurricanes’ compliance practices.
Citing unidentified sources, Yahoo Sports reported Friday that former Miami football employee Sean Allen – who has been linked to one-time booster and now convicted Ponzi scheme architect Nevin Shapiro through the improper-benefits scandal that broke last year – assisted members of Golden’s coaching staff with recruiting.
If true, that could be a major NCAA violation by the troubled program, despite Golden’s repeated insistence that he wants to “get it fixed.”
“The inferences and suggestions in the Yahoo Sports story that my conduct was anything but ethical are simply false, ” Golden said.
Golden also said that he has been a college football coach for more than 18 years and stands by his record of compliance.
Earlier Friday, two people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that NCAA investigators visited Miami for several days earlier this month, just the latest round of the lengthy inquiry into the Hurricanes’ athletic department. Shapiro’s claims that he provided dozens of Miami athletes and recruits with extra benefits over an eight-year span were published by Yahoo Sports last August.
Golden is scheduled to discuss the coming season at the Atlantic Coast Conference media days in North Carolina early next week.
Earlier this week, safety Ray-Ray Armstrong was dismissed for undisclosed rules violations. Armstrong was suspended for four games last year after acknowledging he took money from Shapiro and then missed another game while the school checked to see if he broke other rules after he interacted with a person who works with professional athletes.
VIRGINIA TECH: Reinstated placekicker Cody Journell, who was suspended in December after being charged with felony breaking and entering.
Journell pleaded guilty in May to a reduced charge of misdemeanor trespassing. He was sentenced to a year in jail, with all but 10 days suspended, and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.
Journell made 14 of 17 field goals and 43 of 44 extra points last season.
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL: Signed coach Mario Cristobal to a one-year extension, now putting him under contract through June 2017.
Cristobal signed a five-year contract last summer. School officials did not immediately release all financial details, other than saying Cristobal’s base salary is “above $450,000” and that he could make more than $100,000 in performance bonuses.
PENN STATE: Ex-assistant coach Joe Sarra died on Thursday. He was 75.
Sarra coached the linebackers and the defensive interior line across a Nittany Lions career that spanned 21 seasons. In 2000, he was promoted to assistant to the head coach for special projects, a position he held through 2004, when he retired.
Penn State confirmed his death in a Friday press release.
As an assistant, Sarra helped Penn State to 15 bowl appearances, and was a part of the 12-0 Rose Bowl team in 1994. The Nittany Lions won nine bowls during his tenure.
Sarra is survived by his wife, Barbara, sons, Joe, Jr., and Scott, and three grandchildren.
‘’He was a great coach, but an even better person,” former Penn State cornerback Adam Taliaferro said. “Coach Sarra had a heart of gold, was a special person and will be missed.”