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Sunday Morning Quarterback

Sunday Morning Quarterback

Friday, February 10, 2006

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The week in eligibility-crippling issues - legal, academic, institutional and otherwise...

We begin this week in Columbus, where Maurice Clarett has been i ndicted for allegedly kicking off the New Year with a robbery attempt:
Clarett is accused of flashing a gun and demanding property from a man and a woman early Jan. 1. Police said he got into a sport utility vehicle with two men after he w as identified by the bar owner, who happened to come out into the alley.

No one was injured, and only a cell phone was taken, police said.

Clarett, who led Ohio State to the 2002 national championship, was charged with two counts of aggravated robbery and four lesser robbery counts, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said.

He was sought by police for almost two days before he turned himself in about the time the Buckeyes were completing a win over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2. He posted $50,000 bond and was released from jail.
From All-American to jailbird, when he should be preparing for the draft after his senior season. There's not much to add to this disappointing story.

Better news: As a serial chronicler and frequent mocker of serious legal accusations that could haunt the young men in this space for years to come, SMQ is glad this week to note an exoneration:
STERLINGTON, La. -- Prosecutors have declined to pursue a drug charge against LSU defensive end Claude Wroten Jr., who was arrested by Sterlington police last month after a traffic stop.

Wroten, 22, of Bastrop, was booked Jan. 4 with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute after police stopped him for speeding and found the drug his car, Sterlington police said.

But District Attorney Jerry Jones said Wednesday that his office had declined the case for legal reasons that he would not spell out.
"I let my parents, my team, my whole family down," Wroten said. "I shouldn't have even been around it. This is the first time I've ever done something like that, and the last time. I've just got to prove to everyone that I let down that it's not me."
Good for you, Claude! It might be well worth some nearby, defensive tackle-poor NFL team to take a mid-round shot on Wroten, an SMQ All-American (hint, hint, you Jonath a n Su llivan-drafting bastards).

Remaining in the SEC, Ole Miss gets SMQ's libertarian dander up over the overbearing glut of impossible NCAA regulations, reporting not only the slightly ridiculous Deuce McAllister sideline flap but also the following harrowing violations:
- Tight ends coach Hugh Freeze, who at the time was director of football operations and did not have recruiting responsibilities, participated in telephone calls with four Memphis-area prospects between Oct. 30 and Nov. 13. The players wer e d ecla red ineli gible on Nov. 29 and reinstated by the NCAA Jan. 24.

- Prospects were allowed to wear Ole Miss game jerseys onto the football field during a recruiting visit on Dec. 3. According to NCAA rules, prospects can wear jerseys in the dressing room bu t not on t he field during visits. Fifteen players, including six who later signed with the Rebels, were declared ineligible, then reinstated by the NCAA on Jan. 23.

- Prospect Keiland Williams was weighed and measured by Ole Miss strength and conditioning coach Aaron Ausmus in Orgeron's presence during a tour of the weightroom. According to documents, only doctors are permitted to conduct medical exams and only the trainer may be present.
Break out the death penalty!

As a notement for its sins, Ole Miss flogged itself by instituting a self-imposed two-week ban on calling the Memphis-area prospects and sent letters of admonishment to Ed Orgeron, Freeze and Ausmus.

Still in the Deep South, who couldn't love a player who's not only a kicker, not only a walk-on kicker, not only a drunk driving walk-on kicker, but an underage drunk driving walk-on kicker?:
Police pulled over S te phen Arnold, 1 8, on Sunday night after seeing his vehicle weave. Police said Arnold failed a field sobriety test and had a blood-alcohol content of .14 percent. Under Arkansas law, blood-alcohol content of .08 percent is the threshold for being leg all y drunk. The legal drinking age is 21.

Arnold was released on $880 bond and has a Feb. 27 court appearance in Fayetteville.

He kicked one extra point for Arkansas last season.
Arnold is Arkansas' second drunk-driving kicker in the Nut t Er a - he can s tart a supp ort group with Todd Latourette while SMQ begins an in-depth academic study of social pressures leading to alcoholism among white male college st udent s who are kickers in Fayetteville.

Mercifully moving north, we come again to Wisconsin, where new coach Bert Bielema continues to clean house in the Badger backfield, this time with the suspension of fullback P.J. Hill, who allegedly brandished a bat in "an incident." Are we sure that description of the scene isn't an overstatement, Lt. Eric Holen of the UW police department?

Perhaps most interesting here:
The uni versity said Monday the freshman can't practice or play with the football team during his suspension, but he may continue to use the school's sports medicine, academic support and weight room facilities.
So he is still allowed to infect the team by taking advantage of all athletic perks without the rigorous, mandated off-season program part? And we want to discourage the use of bats in incidents?

Just for the hell of it, while we're on Wisconsin, let's give one last shout out to Booker Stanley, awaiting a hearing on nine counts of assault and bail-jumping in two weeks:

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Bats? Booker don't need no stinkin' bats!

In North Carolina, we get some old-fashioned rival-b ashing at the Ch i Hi Club in Chapel Hill, where Duke's le ading tackler and freshman all-American Michael Shawn Brown and North Carolina's top tackler Larry Daniel Edwards were among four players arrested after a shocking display of adolescent violence:
Officers arrived at the club to find several hundred people outside, many of them encouraging the football players as they fought, Curran said.

"From what the report said, it started off as a private party," he said. "I believe some Duke students rented the place, and then it just got out of hand."
Carolina kids objecting to Blue Devils renting out a Chapel Hill club? Unbelievable!
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6:34 AM

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