Nov 18, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes running back Travis Homer (24) celebrates while wearing the turnover chain after recovering a fumble Virginia Cavaliers during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

University of Miami Fires Athletic Director Blake James Following Loss to Florida State

The University of Miami (UM) has fired its Athletic Director Blake James.

The school stated James’ departure was a mutual agreement to part ways and that the program’s national search for a replacement would start immediately.

James’ firing came two days following the Miami football loss to rival Florida State with 26 seconds left on the clock. This move also came six weeks after Miami school president Julio Frenk released a letter to the school’s community expressing his intent to become more involved in the school’s athletics.

James accepted the job in February 2013, while the NCAA was investigating the actions of rogue former booster Shapiro. Shapiro was convicted and imprisoned for orchestrating a $930 million Ponzi scheme, as he violated NCAA rules for over eight years as a booster for University of Miami athletes.

Following the Shapiro decision, James and the rest of the UM athletic organization overcame scholarship limitations and probation, along with helping the school complete a number of facilities projects. Some of these projects include a baseball player development center, a football indoor practice facility, and a nutrition center.

Football has been the biggest part of the UM brand, but over recent years the program has struggled. Miami has a record of 19-15 for head coach Manny Diaz’s three seasons, and the team is 5-5 so far this season.

On Saturday, the Hurricanes gave up an eight-point lead in the final minute of their rivalry matchup against Florida State. The Hurricanes lost to the Seminoles by the score of 31-28.

Diaz’s Pending Future with Miami

The future of Diaz with the UM football program is unknown at the moment. With the firing of James, there could be a higher chance of coaching changes letting go of Diaz.

James chose Diaz to replace former head coach Mark Richt just 10 hours after Richt announced his retirement on Dec. 30, 2018. James’ decision was highly criticized for being too hasty and for not conducting a full search for a new head coach.

UM is now 5-5 and 3-3 in the ACC. The Hurricanes need one victory in its last two regular-season games to qualify for a bowl. Miami’s loss to rival FSU took the team out of ACC contention.

What’s Next

The Hurricanes will host the Virginia Tech Hokies at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Both teams are currently 5-5. Miami is the seven-point favorite heading into this matchup.

The Hurricanes and Hokies have both played Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Pittsburgh so far this season, and are both 2-1 for those matchups.

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