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Miami Hurricanes football coach Randy Shannon should be above pettiness over Robert Marve transfer

Former Plant High quarterback Robert Marve started 11 of 13 games for Miami this season but was suspended twice.

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Former Plant High quarterback Robert Marve started 11 of 13 games for Miami this season but was suspended twice.

As a football coach, Randy Shannon cannot afford to be sentimental.

He has to make tough decisions, he has to step on toes, he has to put the University of Miami's interests front and center whenever emotions threaten to get in the way.

As a father, Randy Shannon might want to lighten up a bit.

You may have caught the news that former Plant High quarterback Robert Marve has decided to transfer after his redshirt freshman season at UM. And you might have heard Shannon has thrown a few roadblocks in Marve's way.

The basic issue is that the NCAA does not like football players moving willy-nilly from school to school, so it puts certain restrictions on transfers. For instance, a player typically has to sit out one season before he's eligible to play for his new school. That's not the problem here. Players also have to receive a release from the school they want to leave before receiving athletic scholarship money anywhere else. This is where Shannon has gone overboard.

According to the Marve family, Shannon issued Robert's release on the condition he does not enroll at another school in the Atlantic Coast Conference. That's not an unreasonable request, and it's pretty common throughout college football. But Shannon supposedly has also put restrictions on Southeastern Conference schools, as well as any school in Florida.

That decision seems a tad petty. And vindictive. And maybe hypocritical.

It was just about a year ago that an offensive lineman at Florida International University decided to transfer to UM. Because he had redshirted one season and was a three-year starter, he had only one season of eligibility remaining. That meant he had to receive a special waiver from the NCAA to be able to play for the 'Canes in 2008. He got the waiver and finished his college career as Miami's starting center.

His name, by the way, is Xavier Shannon.

His father is Randy Shannon.

The cases obviously are different. Xavier Shannon is an outstanding student who had graduated from FIU and did not need an athletic scholarship at UM because his father's job entitled him to free tuition in graduate school.

The point is, Randy Shannon had no problem with a college football player receiving a transfer to switch schools just miles apart when it served his purposes. Yet he wants to keep Marve from playing at any school in this state, and dozens of other schools around the country.

This is Shannon's right, but it doesn't mean he is right.

Honestly, neither side is looking too sympathetic in this divorce. If Shannon appears catty, Marve comes off as petulant. He has encountered a few too many problems and whined a little too loudly during his time at Miami.

Had Marve handled himself more maturely in Coral Gables, there is a chance Shannon would not have been quite so coldhearted as the quarterback looked for the nearest exit.

And it's not like Shannon is the first major-college coach to be stingy in these matters. Florida State's Bobby Bowden and USC's Pete Carroll have encountered similar situations in recent seasons. Bowden and Carroll both refused to grant transfers because they believed other schools had been tampering with their players. In both cases, the players appealed and were granted releases by the NCAA.

So it is possible Marve will get some relief from the NCAA, and he may end up at Florida, USF, LSU or Tennessee, all schools he is supposedly considering. It's also possible Shannon will rethink his position and give Marve his release with fewer conditions.

Another option for Marve is attending a junior college, which would give him the freedom to enroll anywhere in 2010. This is how Matt Moore went from UCLA to Oregon State to the Carolina Panthers as a backup quarterback.

No matter how this plays out, Marve and Shannon should both consider the damage being done to their reputations.

Marve needs to understand the need to accept responsibility and quit blaming his troubles on others. Shannon had better recognize that future recruits and parents are going to take notice of a coach with an apparent vindictive streak.

Marve does not gain anything by bad-mouthing his former coach, and Shannon is not going to lose a major competitive advantage by letting Marve go to a school outside the ACC.

They clearly did not enjoy their time together, so why prolong it? One needs to be quiet, the other needs to be compassionate, and they both need to go their own ways.

John Romano can be reached at romano@sptimes.com.

Miami Hurricanes football coach Randy Shannon should be above pettiness over Robert Marve transfer 12/31/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 7, 2009 12:37pm]
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