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A Message from the Athletic Director: November 2020

A Message from the Athletic Director: November 2020

Hurricane Fans,

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, there is much to be thankful for at Miami Athletics, particularly in such an unprecedented year.

Our staff has worked tirelessly to help conduct collegiate athletics safely in the midst of a pandemic. Our coaches have taken on even more of a leadership role to help guide their teams through extraordinary circumstances. Our student-athletes have done a remarkable job following our health and safety protocols to continue their studies and compete in the sports they love. And our fans have continued their unwavering support of the Canes, even when circumstances dictate they might not be able do so in person. To all of you I say thank you!

The NCAA released its annual Graduation Success Rate (GSR) numbers last week and once again Miami posted outstanding numbers. Our overall rate of 91 percent was three points above the national average and marked the eighth time we have posted a GSR rating of 90 or higher. We have posted 90 or higher every year since 2016 and eight of the last nine years overall. A school-record 10 programs posted perfect scores of 100 percent: men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s cross country/track and field, golf, soccer, men’s diving, women’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and volleyball. I couldn’t prouder of our latest GSR numbers. It’s a tribute to the continued hard work of our student-athletes, coaches and academic support staff. Congratulations to all!

Our football team has a 7-1 record after four consecutive conference wins and is currently ranked ninth in the country in the Coaches poll and 10th in the AP poll. The Canes are tied for second in the ACC standings with Clemson, one game behind undefeated Notre Dame.

The ACC announced last week that our three remaining regular season football games have been rescheduled due to positive tests and subsequent quarantining of student-athletes within our team. We will now return to action on Saturday, December 5 at Wake Forest. We then return to Hard Rock Stadium to host North Carolina on Saturday, December 12, followed by Georgia Tech on Saturday, December 19. The game against the Yellow Jackets will be played if the Canes are not in the ACC Championship Game and if the result of the game would not directly impact the determination of which two teams do play in the championship game.

We are disappointed that we had to reschedule the games, but this decision was made in the best interests of the health and safety of all teams. We look forward to resuming the stretch run of our season on December 5.

Our swimming team captured its first home meet of the season last week, topping Vanderbilt 946-892 at the Miami Invite at Whitten Pool. Aino Otava paced the Canes, winning the 1650 freestyle, 500 freestyle and 400 IM and posting Top 10 UM times in the latter two events. Emma Sundstrand posted the third-fastest 100 breaststroke time in school history. Congratulations to our swimmers!

We’re excited about the start of Canes basketball as both our men’s and women’s teams open their seasons this week. Katie Meier’s squad tips off against Jacksonville at Watsco Center on Wednesday at 1 p.m. Jim Larrañaga’s team, led by Preseason All-ACC selection Chris Lykes, opens with North Florida at Watsco Center this Sunday at 6 p.m. Good luck to our basketball squads!

As a reminder, fans will not be permitted to attend games at Watsco Center for the months of November and December. We will continue to work with our medical experts, University leadership, state and local government officials to determine if fans will be allowed to attend games at Watsco Center this season. Our goal is to have fans attend games starting January 1.

One of Miami’s all-time baseball greats announced his retirement from Major League Baseball last week. Yonder Alonso played 10 years in the majors with seven teams, amassing 100 home runs and 426 RBIs over his sparkling career, which included an appearance in the 2017 All-Star Game. Yonder played first base at UM from 2006-08 and was an All-ACC selection in 2008. Congratulations to Yonder on an outstanding pro career and best of luck with your next venture!

We recently launched the Canes United COVID-19 Relief Initiative to help the athletics department navigate the significant financial ramifications of the pandemic. We want to do everything that we can to minimize the impact of this pandemic on our student-athletes and their overall athletics, academic and cultural experiences at The U and this initiative gives our supporters a chance to make an immediate difference in helping us to continue our mission of Building Champions. For more information please visit the official website at umcanesunited.com.

If you have any questions or need any assistance, please feel free to contact a member of our staff. For the latest information on UM Athletics, please be sure to visit our website — miamihurricanes.com – download our Miami Hurricanes app or follow us on our various social media channels. I hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy. Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy this month’s magazine!

Go Canes!

Blake James