If you haven’t seen the ESPN documentary chronicling University of Miami football during the 80’s and early 90’s, stop what you’re doing immediately and find yourself a TV, especially if you’re a student.
The film was superb and will make any ‘Canes fan proud of the program’s past, which makes the University of Miami’s official stance against the production so surprising and disappointing.
Instead of assisting director and UM alum Billy Corben in the making of the film the university turned a blind eye to one of its own, and in turn to an important era of the school’s history.
There was absolutely no promotion for the documentary on campus. Even the early viewing of the picture that was made available to students at Cosford Cinema spread by word of mouth and Facebook, not by school efforts.
No one is saying that the school should have expended all of its resources in facilitating the film’s needs, but some basic mention of its existence would have been nice.
Regardless, Corben certainly proved that he didn’t need any help in creating a powerful window into UM’s past, but for the administration to basically denounce the entire thing as if it were a black sheep is straight up hypocritical.
This coming from a school that prides itself on its sports, that recently made the orange and green U, something that was literally started and made famous by the football program, part of its official school logo. From a school that, whether anyone wants to admit it, would not be ranked 50th in the nation academically without the money brought in from those teams of the 80’s and early 90’s.
The prominent villain in the documentary is former UM president Edward T. Foote, who, instead of pledging his support for the program when the rest of the country was condemning it, went right along with the mainstream opinion of Miami. The administration doesn’t look that much different from Foote in taking its current stance, and it’s a shame.
For obvious reasons however, the University of Miami could not officially endorse the film. There certainly are some things highlighted in the documentary that any school would have a hard time celebrating.
Still, that doesn’t mean the school should have barred Randy Shannon from participating in the documentary. That doesn’t mean the school should have asked former players, coaches and athletic directors not to speak to Corben. And certainly that doesn’t mean that the university should have acted as if that entire era of football and UM history didn’t happen, because it did.
This film is something to be proud of, not ashamed of. Embrace your past Miami.
Adam Berger may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.