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Sunday Morning Quarterback

Sunday Morning Quarterback

Saturday, July 08, 2006

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

Opening this week in South Bend, where "a Florida man," Andrew French, pled guilty to "interfering with Tyrone Willingham's ability to enjoy his employment because of threats of harm related to his race or color" for leaving a drunken "4 a.m. rant that lasted a couple of minutes" on Willingham's office phone in November 2003, one that included racial epithets and a threat - really - to burn a cross in the coach's yard. The guilty plea saved a him a felony charge.

Accounts don't specify, but presumably this followed Notre Dame's 37-0 home loss to Florida State, the Irish's sixth in seven games but its only defeat in November 2003 (Navy, BYU and Stanford in subsequent weeks were three of ND's five wins that season). French, 26 now so probably about 23 at the time, cited "peer pressure" along with alcohol as a reason for this incredibly stupid call, from which can surmise that it was the result of endless ribbing from his FSU fan frat buddies - possibly following a week or two of bragging of an eminent Irish upset? A wager or two? That is only conjecture.

What we do know: French, like everyone else, could use one of these.

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Cell phone rule number one, Andy French: friends don't let friends don't drink and dial.

BANNED, by the NCAA, academic transcripts from 16 more "schools" labeled "diploma mills." This on the heels of nine other institutions already called out in the wake of a New York Times story on University High School last November.

All of the newly blackballed schools are from California or the East Coast; this is also the case of 22 schools and academies cleared pending future review, save two in Texas, one down the road from SMQ in Mississippi ("Genesis One" is no powerhouse in the state in any sport, as SMQ's never heard of it), one in Arkansas and a baseball academy in Puerto Rico. Included in the latter group were notables Bridgton Academy in Maine, Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts, Patterson School in North Carolina, St. Thomas More in Connecticut and noted basketball factory Oak Hill Academy in Virginia.

ARRESTED, on misdemeanor marijuana charages, once-projected South Florida starting quarterback Carlton Hill, who was caught with five other people in an epic dorm room smoke out. That's once-projected starter, because, combined with Hill's missing half of Spring practice to remain eligible, playing like a corpse the rest of the session (a very talented corpse! Who chose USF over Miami!) and returning two-year starter Pat Julmiste's sudden, stunning Spring competency, Hill is hereby banished to reserve wide receiver and Jim Leavitt's could-have-been fantasies.

REACHED, a plea deal, by Nebraska recruit Major Culbert, who accepted misdemeanor charges of trespassing and harassment Wednesday along with five years probation and 30 days in prison rather than face much stiffer penalties on a sexual battery charge for allegedly accosting a couple girls in their off-campus apartment with eventual Oregon signee Marvin Johnson during a recruiting trip to Eugene in January (the girls reportedly backed the lesser charges because "They didn't want these guys to be (ruled as) sex offenders," according to Lane County deputy D.A. Bob Gorham). Culbert's scholarship was initally revoked because of the more serious charge, but apparently now could be reinstated:

Coach Bill Callahan said Wednesday night through NU sports information that he wasn't ready to comment on Culbert's future with the Huskers, and planned to review information pertinent to the case as he received it.
Culbert could not be reached for comment, but Bob Gorham, the Lane County deputy district attorney, said Culbert told him he had remained in contact with Nebraska coaches and still planned to come to Lincoln.

(HT: Da Wiz)

If anyone raises any eyebrows here, Callahan can just say he's trying to do everything in his power to bring the program back up to Tom Osborne's standards.

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8:12 AM

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