(CBS) — Al Golden wasn’t the name UCLA Bruin fans were interested in before the team hired Rick Neuheisel.
But Golden, then coach of Temple, still got an interview and impressed most of the UCLA brass, just not the boosters.
UCLA went on to hire Neuheisel, while Golden eventually got hired at the University of Miami.
Once at Miami, sanctions blindsided the coach, and now there may be a way out of his contract at “The U
The agent for Miami coach Al Golden told CBSSports.com Tuesday there have been “overtures made” by the school about adjusting his client’s contract in the wake of the current NCAA scandal.
Golden had expressed frustration about not being told about the full scope of the scandal involving former booster Nevin Shapiro. Brett Senior, Golden’s long-time representative, said at least one Miami official has reached out to Golden specifically about the contract.
Golden is in the first year of a reported five-year deal worth $10 million.
“I’ve got the feeling they’ll [Miami] do the right thing,” said Senior who has represented Golden since he came out of Penn State in 1991.
Asked about an escape clause in the current deal that would allow Golden to leave Miami based on the severity of NCAA sanctions, Senior added: “I will say this. We’ve got options available to us.”
That’s believed to be the first time there has been some kind of acknowledgment that Golden could get out of his deal. Senior added that NCAA penalties “that would cripple a program for five years,” would be tough for Golden.
“We’ll evaluate all options,” Senior said. “You only have so many bites at the apple.”
“We’ve got to get sort of a feel for what the NCAA implications might be,” Senior added. “Those kind of things may take a fairly long time … [You] certainly expect that something is going to come down. It certainly can debilitate a program at least a couple of years.”
Senior also said that any contract issues will be addressed after the season. Golden is 4-4 in his first season with Miami, tied for fourth in the ACC Coastal Division, having had to deal with several players suspensions emerging from the Shapiro scandal. Yahoo Sports reported in August that Shapiro had been providing extra benefits for years to at least 65 current and former Miami players as well as Miami recruits who went to other schools.
“Frankly, we’ve not done anything formal or direct to this point,” in contacting the Miami administration Senior said. “I don’t know how well you know Al. He’s hunkered down. He was prepping for the season and dealing with skeletons in the closet.
“The university acknowledged there is something that needs to be done. Initial overtures came from them. It’s the right thing to do. It wasn’t handled well in the initial [stages].”
Senior did not specify where the overtures had come from including AD Shawn Eichorst and/or president Donna Shalala. Golden said at the time the scandal broke: “If they [Miami] knew this was percolating, I believe they did have a responsibility tell Shawn [Eichorst].”
The AD who hired Golden, Kirby Hocutt, left abruptly in March and is now at Texas Tech. Eichorst was hired from Wisconsin in April. The NCAA said it had been investigating the Shapiro case since March. Hocutt approved Shapiro’s access to the program according to an August wire report.
Shapiro is serving 20 years in federal prison for his role in a $930 million Ponzi scheme.
“He takes it as another challenge,” Senior said of Golden. “I know he was teed off. He had come there with great aspirations, the way recruiting class was shaping up. He likes to coach football and likes to lead young men. This is something he shouldn’t have had to deal with and should have been made aware of. It was tough. You get distractions you don’t need. To compete at that level, is tough enough. You don’t need one hand tied behind our back.”
Through a spokesman, Miami had no comment.