Thug is a harsh word. It is a word used to describe a criminal who treats others violently and roughly.
Miami has long had the reputation of being called "Thug U". This reputation stems from the 80's when the Canes high stepped their way to three national titles and went on to set a record for a fifty-eight game home win streak.
The Canes rep as convicts or thugs was further cemented when the ‘87 Canes arrived in Arizona for the Fiesta Bowl dressed in military fatigues. The current rule for excessive celebration and taunting is called the "Miami rule", so named after Miami had nine unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in the ‘91 Cotton Bowl.
The rep as Thug U still lingers today, but is this perception of Miami still accurate? Recently, graduation rates were released and Miami was ranked number two in BCS schools with a graduation rate of 81%, behind only Stanford. This compared to only 53% in 2004. Currently sixteen of the top twenty five in the BCS fall below the four year national average. Yet, Miami still carries the name Thug U.
Graduation rates are not the only way to judge a program. Since taking over Miami in 2007, Randy Shannon has had one player arrested, and he has since transferred to Purdue. Compare arrest rates to in state rival Florida and there is a tremendous difference in the number of arrests. Under Urban Meyer, there have been thirty-one arrests, including a dozen with initial charges of felonies or violent misdemeanors. Just recently, Chris Rainey was arrested on a felony charge of aggravated stalking, yet after a month suspension he is back with the team. Apparently texting your girlfriend "it's time to die bitch" only warrants a month suspension. Somehow, Meyer still claims that they do it the right way at Florida.
What does Miami have to do to shed this stereotype? Have zero arrests and a 100% graduation rate, or will that still not be good enough to finally improve their national image. When players celebrated after an interception in a 33-10 win over North Carolina, the announcers immediately started talking about the swagger and cockiness of Miami. Can't the players have some fun without being called thugs?
Shannon has instilled responsibility and discipline off the field in his players and does try to get his players to do things the right way. Canes fans may not be thrilled with the results on the field, but should be proud of how the student athletes have conducted themselves off it. Winning is not the only thing that matters at Miami. Clearly, with almost one arrest for every two wins, this is not the case a few hundred miles north in Gainesville. It's time for perception to reflect reality. Maybe it's also time to start calling Florida "Thug UF". - Dr. David Silver
Dr. David Silver uses his skills as a practicing optometrist to see things clearly as it pertains to the world of football. A University of Michigan graduate, David can be found rooting for the Big Blue on Saturdays and the Dolphins on Sundays.
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