Throughout the 1980s, Miami, Florida, was at the center of a racial and cultural shift taking place throughout the country. Overwhelmed by riots and tensions, Miami was a city in flux, and the University of Miami football team served as a microcosm for this evolution.
The image of the predominantly white university was forever changed when coach Howard Schnellenberger scoured some of the toughest ghettos in Florida to recruit mostly black players for his team. With a newly branded swagger, inspired and fueled by the quickly growing local Miami hip hop culture, these Hurricanes took on larger-than-life personalities and won four national titles between 1983 and 1991.
Filmmaker Billy Corben, a Miami native and University of Miami alum, will tell the story of how these “Bad Boys” of football changed the attitude of the game they played, and how this serene campus was transformed into “The U.”
Miami Herald: “[The U] accurately and colorfully capture the program’s glory years — blemishes and all — and strike the right balance between what made UM so dominant and dynamic, and what made it a target for critics. Filmmakers Billy Corben and Alfred Spellman… offer up a grimly fascinating portrait of a program reeling out of control”
Miami New Times: "Rakontur succeeded in capturing how the players’ swagger was a testament to the city they represented on the field. Love them or hate them, the Miami Hurricanes are what 305 football is all about."
Variety: “Closing out the fall slate of ESPN’s “30 on 30″ series, “The U” drew the most viewers ever for a documentary on the sports cabler. Airing Saturday night, director Billy Corben’s look back at the heyday of the U. of Miami football program drew a record-setting 2.3 million viewers.”
A.V. Club: "Corben directs with a breathless pace and flash that’s just right for ‘Canes’"