Williams Official!

After a long and uncertain legal process, Willie Williams was officially accepted to the Univeristy of Miami today. Williams was present at a press conference with Head Coach Larry Coker and Athletic Director Paul Dee. All three spoke and we have the full quotes from the press conference.

ATHLETIC DIRECTOR PAUL DEE

Opening statement…

"First of all, on behalf of the university and athletic department I want to express my confidence in the extensive admissions process and the ultimate decision to accept Willie Williams. With the information provided to us as a university to deduct an extensive process of due diligent and work through each and every step of the application process to assure the university community that the correct decision was made. UM is difficult and demanding academically and Willie will have academic conditions placed on his enrollment. However we do expect him to compete sometime this year. We want you to know this process is a very rigorous process that is worked on for an extensive amount of time and that a tremendous amount of work at all levels of the university. I believe the correct decision and we very pleased that Willie Williams will matriculate and become a student at the University of Miami."

WILLIE WILLAMS

Opening statement…

"First of all, I would like to thank everyone for coming here on my behalf. I am very excited to be here today. I am very excited about the University of Miami and accepting my application of admission. I would like to thank God, my family, friends, the UM family, my lawyers, and the whole UM staff period. I know in the past I have made some mistakes—in the past, but I have learned from these mistakes. Having grown up in Miami I am really excited for the chance to play for the hometown team. Because I now want to devote all of my attention to being a student and to being an athlete I will not be doing any media interviews for the foreseeable future. I ask you the members of the media to please respect my wishes. Thank you for coming."

HEAD COACH LARRY COKER

Opening statement…

"I appreciate that and I appreciate you being here. I do want to recognize that his mother, auntie, sister, grandmother are here and all of the members of the family. We want to thank them for supporting Willie. We all need support and we definitely appreciate that. We appreciate the decision the admissions office to give Willie the opportunity. I think it is the right decision. We certainly feel pleased and excited about moving past this long process and moving onto the future. I think it will be a tremendous challenge. I think now Willie has to prove himself academically and prove himself on the football field like each of our athletes are involved in the process."

ATHLETIC DIRECTOR PAUL DEE

On a timetable with Willie's playing time…

"There is no plan to redshirt as of this point so he can 'have his act together.' There is a possibly that he will redshirt this year, but there is no restrictions on him."

On Williams' academic conditions…

"We have academic conditions for every student and every student athlete. In this case there will be certain academic conditions that I am not at the liberty to get into, but there are some additional academic conditions."

On Williams having certain guidelines to follow…

"Willie comes here like any other student comes here as a student at the University of Miami that regulate behavior as far as academically, socially and athletically. He will follow all of those are policies and hopefully this is the last time I will comment on those policies."

On whether or not Williams was admitted solely on because he is a football player…

"I think anytime you look at the admissions process at this university and at any other universities the admissions decisions are individual. They look at all of the parameters and make a decision. There is not a formula by which decisions are based. Like president Shalala said today about how there are some perfect people out there—I don't know any perfect people there, but their application process is very easy."

On the perception that Miami is making a return to the bad days of the program…

"The face of the matter is that I can't control what people think. No there is no return to the day of ‘misunderstandings'—as I like to call it. There is no return to that. Coach Coker is a good coach and has tremendous control over the team and his coaching staff. I just believe that this is not the case of us and as we move forward we will be able to sustain people's perception."

HEAD COACH LARRY COKER

On a timetable with Willie's playing time…

"We don't know the timetable with Willie and we will see how things fall into place with him. There is definitely a possibility that he will play this year, but we don't guarantee anybody that they will play. It will depend on how he progresses and how the season progresses."

On how much impact he had on the decision with the admissions office…

"The input I had was the recruitment and recommendation, but I was not at all involved with the admissions process. I never waived on whether or not I believed in this man or the recommendation to Mr. Dee."

On if he was expecting the admissions office to accept Williams…

"I was expecting it because it was the right thing to do. Again that was not my decision."

On where Williams will be living and if he will have a curfew…

"He will be living on campus like the rest of our incoming freshmen as a student at the University of Miami. All of the students have policies that they will have to go by as a student living on campus. We also have different football rules that he will have to go by that is more stringent than a normal student. I am excited to get him involved with myself, coach Shannon, our defensive staff, coach Hargreaves, and coach Swasey. I think there is a great group here that will be able to create a family atmosphere."

On the Williams that you know as an individual

"There are a number of athletes that would love to play football for the University of Miami, but we don't recommend them to be admitted because we don't care to invite them to our program. I never felt that way about Willie. I did a lot of research with people that know him—teammates, secretaries, counselors, coach, and on, and on, and on. All of which was very positive. That is the Willie Williams that I know. He is going to be a tremendous contributor to the university and to our football program. I think he is a good person and needs a good support group. He wants to be a part of that family and to continue that support."

On the perception that Miami is making a return to the bad days of the program…

"There is so much time and tribulation put into this program from a coach's standpoint. Butch Davis came in here and talked about our character, image, and all of those types of things. Again I did not waiver on my decision with the recommendation of Williams into this university even though he had made some mistakes in the past, but it is in the past. My recommendation of Williams means a lot to me to be right, because we are trying to make sure a team of class, character, and dignity. Over the weekend at the ACC media conference someone brought up the point that over the last 15 years we have graduated over 70% of our players. All 18 of our seniors graduated this year. On our 2001 National Championship team all but two players have graduated—one is finishing up and one is in NFL Europe. Those are the things we are trying to let people know what we are all about."

On if current players would make recommendations about their thoughts on Williams…

"On an informal basis a number of players would come in and ask if we are getting him. They would say that they would love to have him here and the things in the newspapers are not the Willie they know as a person. They were supportive on an informal basis."

On if this recommendation is putting his reputation on the line and if the coaches will be tougher on him…

"On a personal level I feel that my reputation is on the line with all of our players--I do feel that way. Will we treat Willie different than any other player—no. He is a student and a football player for us on our team. He will be treated with respect when he comes here and he will get his backside worked off. I do take this very personal with my reputation on the line, but not just with Willie—with all of our players.

Christopher Stock is a Staff Writer for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com.

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