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Sunday Morning Quarterback

Sunday Morning Quarterback

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

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Items of criminal and/or disciplinary nature are routinely held here for the weekend roundup, but when coaches of mega-programs on both coasts are issuing evasive statements or avoiding reporters outright on the same night days before players officially report for practice, as the otherwise odd couplish Larry Coker and Pete Carroll, respectively, were Tuesday, that is sufficiently news to SMQ.

The situation in Miami is more routine: four players, including projected starters Tyrone Moss and quasi-bust (busty?) Ryan Moore, were suspended under the omnipresent "team rules" umbrella for the big bang Labor Day opener against Florida State (in Moore's case, for Game Two against Florida A&M as well, for whatever that's worth). The Miami Herald story is rebuffed for details by Coker, but quotes a TV reporter, and then Moore's mother, as saying the suspensions stem from the same missed study sessions that caused him to miss the Peach Bowl debacle, which have been made up. Ryan's OK with that, which means his momma's OK with that, and that's good enough for SMQ.

In unrelated news, all-America safety Brandon Meriweather remains slated to start a little over a month after fruitlessly firing three times on an unidentified shooter who plugged teammate Willie Cooper in the butt, a reaction that elicited but a Bowden-esque lecture to the team. Coker puts UM's integrity first!

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Did you ever miss a study session at Miami, Michael?

The bigger news will be out West, where the L.A. Daily News sniffed around and found more than meets the eye to last week's abrupt departure from the team by the Ting Brothers, originally spun as a very respectable shift in focus towards medical school:

USC safety Brandon Ting tested positive for steroids last winter and would have been ineligible this season before deciding to quit the football team with his twin brother, Ryan, according to multiple sources.

Bad enough, by NCAA regulation and conventional sports ethics, but then the rilly big angle, the element that could make its way into the federal judicial system or, like, a SportsCenter "InFocus" segment, and already has the Trojan-haters at Bruins Nation pretty much flipping out, per usual, with glee at the ramifications:

Their father, Dr. Arthur Ting, is a prominent Bay Area physician who treated Barry Bonds for his knee injury in 2005. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Ting was subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury in U.S. District Court in the federal investigation of Bonds.

So: in the equation Barry Bonds+Arthur Ting+x=OMG Steroid Abuse!, does x=Ting's kids?

Es possible. First, let's ask: "Multiple sources" = who? No one at all in the story is quoted as saying either of the Tings' departure was related to illegal substances, much less an expert or well-positioned "insider." No documents are provided to this effect or any other. After the first cannon blast sentence, in fact, there is no new information whatsoever in the L.A. Daily News. Less than three weeks after another, much more detailed and extremely well-sourced "bombshell" scandal story seems to have fizzled into a relative dud (at least where the gridiron-related interests are concerned), conjecture in this case is premature.

Ubiquitous, no doubt, but premature.

Click here for SMQ's wishy-washy opinion on randomly testing athletes for steroids from April.

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7:16 AM

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And don't let the name fool ya - second guessing the phenomenal athletic feats and split-second decisions of college kids under extreme physical duress is for every day of the week.

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