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Sunday Morning Quarterback

Sunday Morning Quarterback

Friday, June 16, 2006

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

Breaking news out of the Bay Area earlier today, where darkhorse MOCFP Trophy candidate and studious, handsome scholar Marshawn Lynch was nearly capped Thursday by a dedicated but confused individual who mistook the bright, gentlemanly Cal running back for another target after graduation ceremonies at Lynch's alma mater, the not-at-all menacingly-named Oakland Tech High. No one was injured, but the shooter, or a "representative" of the shooter, later showed up at Lynch's proud childhood home to apologize to his saintly mother and make clear that dear, innocent Marshawn was simply in the wrong place, at the wrong time, in the wrong car.

NoCal: where even blood-thirsty gunmen are polite!

(HT to Orson, bruised but buoyant at EDSBS, whose casual reference to Lynch's less-than-stellar reputation led to a multi-part mea culpa-inducing deluge from Cal commenters and will not be repeated by SMQ)

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Seriously: Marshawn Lynch is a complex, sensitive human being

SENTENCED, 19-year-old Penn State student Nathan Glenn Lehman, of Mechanicsburg, Penn., to at least four months at the Centre County Correctional Facility, a $1,000 fine and costs, and "evaluation and treatment" for rushing onto the field, punching university police officer Cyprien Brien in the face and putting Brien in a "sustained headlock" that left the officer with neck injuries following Penn State's win over Ohio State last October. Lehman pled guilty to aggrevated assault of a police officer on May 9.

Unfortunate as the result turned out for him, Lehman or any of the other 2,000 kids who poured out of the stands onto the field could have had it much worse: if not for Brien's, um, interference, A.J. Hawk might have pulled a Kellen Huston on him, a fate worth a year in prison to avoid.

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Nathan Lehman proves the Union of Field-Rushing Fans will stop at nothing to avenge this guy

PLED, guilty, incoming Oregon freshman DB Marvin Johnson, who had, as previously reported by SMQ, been accused of physically harassing a pair of girls in their off-campus apartment along with now-suspended Nebraska signee Major Culbert on a recruiting trip to Eugene in January. The plea, a minor one compared to the sexual abuse charge he could have faced, means Johnson will spend 30 days in jail (or on a road crew) and five years on probation, during which time he can't even go near a bar. Fine.

But then check out this paragraph:

Oregon officials quickly learned of the accusations against Culbert and stopped recruiting him. Unaware that Johnson was directly involved, they signed him to a national letter of intent. Officials learned of his indictment in May.

Neither of these guys was rated among the elite - why the preferential treatment for Johnson? Whether the university or athletic department knew of his involvement prior to his signing, it doesn't change the underlying moral premise: if the team's not going to tolerate players charged with sexual abuse, it should be consistent no matter when it finds out about the charge. In principle, what changes with a signature?

Anyway, Culbert has pled not guilty and will go to trial at an undetermined date in the near future. Johnson begins practice in a couple months.

SUSPENDED, from the Wildcats' opener against Illinois State, leading returning Kansas State rusher Thomas Clayton, who was convicted of misdemeanor battery last week for hitting a university parking attendant with his car back in September. More minor jail time, a running theme this week, pending: Clayton faces up to six months - which wouldn't have him out until around Christmas - and a $1,000 fine. Sentencing is July 10.

Question: say he misses the whole season in the cooler - would the NCAA grant additional years of eligibility for time missed due to being locked up for misdemeanor battery? Or would it be like a redshirt year?

LIFTED, an order preventing Indiana's leading receiver, James Hardy, from seeing the long-time girlfriend he's charged with slapping, along with the couple's infant child, last month. When last "The Rap Sheet" left Hardy, his lawyer was procaliming his clients' innocence, and now his girlfriend testifies, earnestly, "You don't know him like I know him!":

The woman, the mother of the football player's 7-month-old son, called the dispute a "big misunderstanding" and asked a judge to release Hardy from a protective order that prevented him from contacting her.

Hardy, 20, was arrested last month after police responded to a 911 call at his girlfriend's home. They reported finding her with a torn shirt and reddish marks on the back of her neck. He has pleaded not guilty.

On Tuesday, the girlfriend testified at a hearing that she has never been afraid of Hardy and said she called 911 because she was emotional and trying to "get at him." The two had been arguing, and she said Hardy was trying to defend himself.

"I wasn't willing to listen," she said.

By the time police arrived, Hardy was feeding their son inside the house, she said.

She testified she had completed a class through Allen County's Victims' Assistance related to the removal of the protective order. She said she has been with Hardy for seven years and wanted the order lifted so they could be together as a family.

"We have a good life together," she said. "This is just a big misunderstanding."

After the judge granted the request, Hardy embraced his girlfriend and they walked hand-in-hand from the courtroom.

Hardy's trial is set to begin Aug. 23.

Awwwww! So it was all her fault, after all - those were just reddish marks of love! She's learned! She's willing to listen! SMQ sees a bright future for this caring relationship...

IN OTHER heartwearming relationship news, Missouri running back Tony Temple and his girlfriend, former MU softball player Kendra Power, were arrested on charges of third-degree assault last weekend at a Columbia restaurant where Power works as a waitress:

According to a Columbia Police Department report, Power got into an argument with a kitchen employee about a meal that was prepared for one of her customers. As the argument continued inside the restaurant, Power called Temple to come to the scene. According to the police report, the dispute moved outside and escalated into a fistfight between Temple, Power and the 22-year-old kitchen employee, whose name police did not release. Several other employees broke up the fight as the police arrived at the scene. Temple, Power and an unidentified juvenile were arrested just after 5 p.m.
(HT: The Wizard of Odds)

It's so nice to see couples doing things together! They will have more time to spend with each other, too, until the legal process is cleared and Temple can return from suspension to compete for Mizzou's starting tailback job.

OTHER quick hit, underage drinking items this week via Da Wiz:

Two offensive linemen, Texas Tech starter Gabe Hall and Arizona's Peter Graniello, were both hit this week with DUI and underage drinking charges. Graniello had to spend one harrowing day in prison in a plea deal; Hall, whose blood-alcohol according to the article was way, way over the Texas legal limit, awaits his day in court, but apparently with the support of coach and law school graduate Mike Leach:

Told of the failure to report an accident and leaving the scene charges, Leach said, "Maybe he was going to call them.''

While other coaches are gravely citing "mistakes" and embrassments, it's refreshing to see a coach stick up for his law-breaking charges for a change.

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9:13 PM


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