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Sunday Morning Quarterback

Sunday Morning Quarterback

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

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Wherein SMQ chronicles eligibility-crippling issues, legal, academic, institutional and otherwise...

Beat writers spent a lot of time reading the old docket today...



Wait, what? Oh:
Matt Leinart's appearance in a promotional spot for ESPN violated an NCAA rule, but the USC quarterback had his eligibility restored Tuesday, an NCAA spokesman said.

USC declared Leinart ineligible this month after the spot -- a "SportsCenter is next" promo that was taped after the Trojans' Dec. 3 victory over UCLA -- aired on ESPN. The Trojans reported the violation to the NCAA and petitioned for Leinart's reinstatement.

"Whenever we are aware that media outlets ask student-athletes to do these kinds of tags, we immediately cut them off," Tim Tessalone, USC's sports information director, said. "Unfortunately, this one slipped by."

According to the NCAA's Kent Barrett, Leinart's actions were "unintentional and inadvertent. This was the type of thing where it was obvious the student-athlete was not attempting to become an endorser of a network."

"We were unaware of any potential violations for taping a short 'SportsCenter is next' tag during a guest appearance," ESPN said in a statement. "It was an inadvertent mistake and we are glad it's resolved."

Leinart, who finished third in this year's Heisman Trophy balloting and won the award last year, has practiced three times in preparation for the Jan. 4 Rose Bowl against Texas.

Barrett said athletes may take part in practice and team and school activities while reinstatement petitions are considered by the NCAA. Leinart's situation came to light when USC's sports information staff turned down post-practice interview requests for the senior, who is made available to the media only on Tuesdays.

Tessalone said Leinart had been barred by USC from participating in media activities until after Christmas.
Whew! That was a close one!

So he's gonna play. Shocking, eh? The real question is whether a player who was not a high profile, Heisman Trophy-winning, All-America media darling quarterback of a mythical championship participant would have been granted the same fortune. The world may never know.

But hell, Leinart playing in the Rose Bowl is more important than the NCAA's rule of law. Seriously. SMQ would never say such a thing about any person involved in exceedingly tedious minor offenses in the actual legal system but, like Chuck Klosterman, such cold rationality ends when the whistle blows. The NCAA, as a mere regulatory body, is right to let such SNAFUs go.

Next stop, Missouri, where somewhat highly regarded safety Jason Simpson has been benched for the final game of his career due to the unholy trifecta: loud music, littering and a miniscule amount of marijuana.

If this is the behavioral standard, at least 95 percent of SMQ's friends in college, regardless of athletic talent, would be automatically ineligible to play for Missouri. C'mon, it's the guy's last game...
Loud music on a Sunday night, an outstanding warrant for littering and a police search that uncovered less than 35 grams of marijuana have combined to end Jason Simpson’s football career at Missouri.

MU coach Gary Pinkel suspended Simpson for the Tigers’ Dec. 30 Independence Bowl game against South Carolina in Shreveport, La. The senior captain and defensive safety had 88 tackles in a 6-5 regular season, making him the team’s second-leading tackler.

"I don’t discuss the discipline things," Pinkel said in announcing the suspension following a Tuesday morning practice, "although I’m very consistent in what I do."

Marcus Bacon, a starting linebacker, was suspended for one game this season after being arrested for driving while intoxicated. Last season, former linebacker David Richard missed a game after being arrested for marijuana possession.
Because Simpson had only a single game left to play, his one-game suspension has a note of finality that the other suspensions did not have.

Simpson's arrest, at his residence on South Providence Road at 11:20 Sunday evening, came about, according to Columbia police, because of a complaint about loud music.
In conjunction with a police appearance at Simpson's residence, a search of the police computer database revealed an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court on a charge of littering.

That warrant gave the police grounds to search the residence, and that search, according to arrest records, produced less than 35 grams of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Simpson was cited on those two drug charges, both misdemeanors, and posted $100 bond.
First off, boo to the KC Star for its generic, unattractive, hard-to-navigate, Knight Ridder-standard Web page.

Second, boo to police for searching for criminal history on a stupid loud music complaint. And boo to Pinkel for sitting a team captain in his final game for such minor offenses.

Third, when SMQ first read this headline, he thought, "Suspended from what?" Missouri's in a bowl game? Oh yeah...

Jason Simpson: Trouble written all over him.

Now we jet on over to Clemson, where Tommy Bowden gives the boot to two academic violators and the proverbial "unspecified team rule" offender:
CLEMSON, S.C. -- Two Clemson football players were suspended for academic reasons and will miss the Champ Sports Bowl, and a third was kicked off the team by coach Tommy Bowden.

Senior tight end Bobby Williamson and sophomore defensive end Kwam Williams are academically ineligible to play in the game against Colorado on Dec. 27 in Orlando, Fla., the school said Tuesday.

Junior receiver Kelvin Grant was dismissed for violating unspecified team rules. He sustained a knee injury in October and would not have been able to play in the bowl game. He had 45 receptions for 437 yards in 26 games with Clemson.

Williamson started nine of 11 regular-season games and caught nine passes for 100 yards. Williams played in nine games.
Daddy must be so proud!

Booker Booked! On to Wisconsin, where backup back Booker Stanley - the same Booker Stanley who was arrested in May at a New York party that wound up in a bloody orgy of arrests - will miss the Badgers' Outback Bowl date with Auburn after allegedly taking it to a former girlfriend:
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin running back Booker Stanley was suspended from the team Wednesday after he was arrested for allegedly choking a woman at his apartment.

The suspension means the Badgers could be without Stanley when they play Auburn in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 2 in Orlando, Fla. Stanley, a reserve, has 69 carries for 340 yards and three touchdowns this season.

The 22-year-old junior could face charges of second-degree reckless endangerment, false imprisonment, two counts of battery and intimidation of a victim, Madison police spokesman Mike Hanson said.

Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard said he would consider formal charges in the next few days. Stanley was still in custody Wednesday afternoon.

Stanley allegedly battered and choked a woman early Wednesday, Hanson said. There was no indication that the woman, who previously was in a relationship with Stanley, sought medical attention.

Stanley was immediately suspended until charges have been addressed by the legal system and the university, according to a news release from the school.

He had 248 carries for 873 yards and seven touchdowns in his two previous seasons.
Booker would never, EVER hit a woman. Never! But apparently he was willing to shake the shit out of one.

(No links found for that reference, but kudos to those who got it anyway).

What, again? Booker Stanley liked being led away from violent altercations so much here in New York, he though he'd try it home.

And finally, what would "The Rap Sheet" be without its old standby, the University of Colorado:
BOULDER, Colo. - A week after a state audit criticized Colorado's spending on sports, the school has outlined plans to spend about $36,000 on iPods to reward its football players for making it to the Champs Sports Bowl.

The university filed a request for bids Monday for 103 of the hand-held music players for up to $350 each.
"So what, SMQ?," you say. "Gifts for bowl games is nothing new." True, but...
The state audit faulted the Colorado athletic department over paperwork, a lack of spending oversight and a failure to check the criminal backgrounds of staff working with young athletes at summer football camps.

Auditors also said the records of the football camps, run by former coach Gary Barnett, were such a mess they couldn't be sure whether more than $400,000 worth of transactions broke any rules.

Barnett had resigned under pressure days earlier, after weathering a recruiting scandal but ending the regular season with three lopsided losses.
This school has $3 million to toss around to a scandal-cloaked coach and to don its middling, oft-accused athletes with expensive electronic audio equipment?

Wonder what UC-Boulder's teacher licensure or women's studies programs think of that?

If the school is dead set on rewarding its athletes with iPods, it could at least take the Duke route.
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4:16 PM

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