The Washington Times - August 17, 2011, 08:20AM

By now, most folks have seen the fine work of Yahoo’s Charles Robinson, a scorching look at accusations (and, more significantly, documentation) of massive rule-breaking at Miami over the last decade.

The potential long-term consequences mean prayer is probably Miami’s best strategy, especially since there are a limited number of sacrificial lambs to offer up. This isn’t North Carolina, where a renegade assistant coach, a head coach who claimed to know too little and an athletic director nearing the end of his career could all be nudged aside, politely or otherwise, as evidence the school took matters seriously.

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Miami’s athletic director, football coach and men’s basketball coach were all hired since December. This mess isn’t their fault.

The short-term issues, of course, include the potential for suspensions. A dozen current Hurricanes were named in the Yahoo report; a year ago, North Carolina held out anyone who it thought might be ineligible. If Miami does the same, the look of its opener against Maryland (and, of course, subsequent games) alters dramatically.

The accused group includes nine guys who left spring practice listed as starters (if quarterback Jacory Harris, who was listed as a co-starter with Stephen Morris, is included). That’s seven defensive starters, plus the the ACC’s most experienced (if interception-prone) quarterback and the team’s top returning receiver.

Of the eight players listed as defensive linemen, four were named by Yahoo.

Thus, Miami gets the double-whammy – the specter of the NCAA hammer falling eventually, and the possibility of a derailment of the current team as well. Massive suspensions (should they occur) can only favor a Maryland bunch that nearly beat the Hurricanes on the road last year – and would have if not for Leonard Hankerson’s impressive touchdown reception late in the fourth quarter.

One other thing: Maryland routinely struggles to fill Byrd Stadium, but the Labor Day opener against a marquee name figured to solve that problem. Likewise, the Terrapins’ press box rarely is brimming to capacity; chances are, Miami has ensured a crowded scene there as well come Sept. 5.

Patrick Stevens