MIAMI, DEC. 25 -- The NCAA, revealing today it was failed drug tests that brought the suspension of two starters on second-ranked Miami -- linebacker George Mira Jr. and offensive tackle John O'Neill -- held out the slimmest possibility the two could be reinstated for the Orange Bowl.
They were barred Thursday night from playing Jan. 1 against No. 1-ranked Oklahoma after both tested positive for a diuretic, a prescription drug that helps rid the body of excess fluids. Eighteen specific diuretics are on the NCAA's list of banned drugs.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma trainer Dan Pickett said he was informed Thursday night that all 36 Sooners had passed tests given earlier this month. A second test will be administered Tuesday to an unspecified number of players on each team. Mira and O'Neill, however, will not be retested.
And Nebraska Coach Tom Osborne said none of his fifth-ranked Cornhuskers tested positive for drugs and all will be eligible to play in the Jan. 1 Fiesta Bowl against third-ranked Florida State.
Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer said last year's suspension of Brian Bosworth -- for use of steroids -- should have served as a warning. "Any time you lose players it's never good for the team," Switzer said. "I have a lot of respect for Mira . . . The Bosworth incident last year was really a message to football teams all over the country."
Mira and O'Neill could appeal and ask the NCAA to check a second -- and, as yet, untested -- urine specimen obtained during the original testing about two weeks ago. At the time of testing, a second sample is taken to minimize the possibility of laboratory error.
It was not known whether Mira and O'Neill planned to ask that the second sample be tested but the Miami Herald quoted W. Sam Holland, an attorney for Mira, as saying he would seek a temporary restraining order against the suspension.