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Monday, April 23, 2018

Mark May: Miami ‘Is Not a Marquee Program,’ Not Playing for Championships

Media commentators often say crazy, off-the-wall things just to get attention and rile up fan bases. If that was ESPN analyst Mark May’s objective on Saturday night, he certainly succeeded, but at the cost of his credibility.

Maybe he was just assigned to defend Randy Shannon, who was fired Saturday as Miami’s head coach, but May’s position was absurd. On College Football Final, May said “I think for the Miami administration their expectations are too high right now. Randy Shannon was brought in to right the ship, to be a disciplinarian, to make sure that these kids stay out of trouble, and to turn the program around. That’s exactly what he did. This is the 4th year of his administration. This is the third bowl game in the fourth year he’s been there.

Yes, they’re not playing for national championships, but look at the Miami situation — they don’t have great facilities, they’re playing in a stadium 20 miles away, in a 73,000 seat stadium, they only have 27,000 fans on average in the stadium. So when you look at the entire situation, this is not a marquee program. This is not 2001. This is not 2002. This is 2010. … the fans think they are better than they are.”

May is wrong on every single level of his argument. Miami has always played far away from campus and without a strong home fan base, yet that never stopped them from being successful in the past. Not having great facilities never stopped them from recruiting great players and churning out pro prospects either. Those are just secondary factors that are immaterial. The bottom line is Miami is a powerhouse program that should be winning conference championships and contending for BCS bowl games every single year. They went 5-7, 7-6, 9-3, and 7-5 under Shannon, lost two bowl games, and didn’t contend for even an ACC title.

Shannon by all accounts seemed like an endearing person and a good man, but he wasn’t getting it done as Miami’s football coach. They need to get back to being a powerhouse, and it’s difficult to argue with making a change.

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