Ryan Chartrand

Two tickets to an NBA game – $100. Team shirt and a hat – $45. Two hot dogs at halftime – $14.

Watching the guy in the seat next to you get beat up by an NBA superstar – one hell of a story to tell your grandkids.

No, Ron Artest does not play football for the University of Miami, but it does bring up the point of violence and its correlation with sports.

With the influence of the media in today’s society, any mistake high-profile athletes make these days will be put under a microscope. It seems even with every aspect of every game being televised and members of the media hanging out everywhere possible just waiting for mistakes, certain athletes have just not been able to figure it out.

When Artest ran into the stands two years ago attempting and succeeding to beat up anyone in his way, he showed that no one is safe at sporting events anymore. It may not be safe on the field anymore either.

I must give Artest a little praise. Since his trade to Sacramento, he has calmed down and showed a mature side that many didn’t believe he had. I imagine after Artest spent a couple of late nights rapping with K-Fed at Joe and Gavin Maloof’s Casino, he figured he should shape up. To his credit, he has flown under the radar lately. That can’t be said for the Miami football program.

The only difference between the WWE Royal Rumble and Florida International vs. Miami football game Saturday night was that this fighting was real.

It’s hard to put blame on either side because like the old saying goes, “it takes two to tango.” At the same time, anyone who has followed college football over the last decade knows that Miami’s football program is one that embraces a tough street nature. Head coach Larry Coker did not create this stigma by any means, but did not destroy it either.

Coker is responsible for all the players on the roster because he recruited them. At the end of the day, these are still college students. Their actions ultimately reflect the lack of respect they have for the people running this program.

Miami football has been involved in many controversial altercations over the last couple of years. After last season’s embarrassing 40-3 Peach Bowl loss to LSU, Miami players were involved in a fight in the tunnel after the game. Earlier this season, players stomped up and down on the Louisville logo before the game.

Miami ended up losing that game by 24 points. Back when Miami was actually tough, they backed it up with wins on the field. Now the program is turning into a joke that wasn’t very funny Saturday night.

Players were swinging helmets and using their cleats as weapons to try a hurt the other team.

Miami’s commentator, former Hurricanes player Lamar Thomas, had this to say while the fight broke out to his audience: “Now, that’s what I’m talking about. I was about to go down the elevator to get into that thing.”

I imagine rule No. 1 of broadcasting is don’t say you want in on a riot when one breaks out on the field. He was fired Monday.

Miami needs to make substantial changes and they have to happen fast if the program wants to save face. Currently, 13 Miami players were given one-game suspensions and one indefinitely for their upcoming game against Duke. This punishment couldn’t be any less meaningless because Duke probably couldn’t beat San Luis Obispo High.

Obviously the Atlantic Coast Conference generates millions of dollars off this program and is very careful the way it disciplines it. It’s time for the NCAA to step up and punch the bully in the mouth.

If Coker has any inclination of keeping his job, it’s time for him to take a stand. He needs to suspend players for the entire season and possibly contemplate revoking scholarships. Miami used to be the most feared program in the nation because it dominated you between the hash marks. Now it’s because if you look at any of them the wrong way you’re getting a helmet to the dome.

Miami is a football program in need of a serious makeover. The university should take a stand and not let the football team determine who will be eligible or participate in a bowl game. The sad thing is this will never happen because bowl games generate millions of dollars for a school like Miami, and we all know money talks.

Unlike money, hopefully the players can just stop talking and start playing football.

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