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Sunday Morning Quarterback

Sunday Morning Quarterback

Friday, August 11, 2006

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

First of all, this is not funny:

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Inevitable, but not funny

When you are an accused felon drunkenly eluding police in a virtual armory of loaded assault weapons while wearing a bulletproof vest that wards off stun gun attempts, maybe a $5 million bond for being "a threat to the community" is not as excessive as it first struck SMQ.

Pundits pundit, futily: columnist/professional screamer Woody Paige, who covered Clarett's brief stint with the Broncos, hollered against the most fundamental concepts of the Western criminal justice system Wednesday on the WWL's Around the Interruption, suggesting (in a commanding sort of way) instead that Clarett be placed "in a home" for a couple years, away from "the spotlight" to recuperate and grow up a bit, in order to "save a life" rather than throw it away in prison. Bloomberg's Scott Sloshnick ruthlessly mocks such bleeding heartism, and says the only person responsible for throwing an inordinately talented and potentially charmed life away is Clarett. Mike Lopresti says substantively little in his syndicated column, but otherwise declares Clarett "a perfect example of how much can go wrong."

Given that there at least half a dozen football players on various levels currently in prison or facing prison on murder charges, and scores more with rape and other sexual and domestic abuse charges, Clarett isn't exactly the perfect example of how things go wrong. Things can go worse. But his case is the most high profile since Ray Lewis' murder and obstruction of justice charges, and certainly one of the most bizarre/senseless. Were he not caught when he was - using spike strips to stop his out-of-control SUV and mace after the tasers failed, no less - Clarett's situation might have wound up in the same very, very serious territory. At least, so far, he hasn't hurt anyone other than himself.

So, too, the less spectacular case of another (momentarily, at least) ex-Buckeye, tight end Marcel Frost, who started during the tidal wave of yards and points that was the OSU offense over the last five games of '05 but was suspended Tuesday for an undisclosed violation of far-reaching, super-secret team rules. Frost apparently was not arrested or cited for illegal activity, but he'll miss the entire season rather than the standard game or two, which portends serious infractions, even if not Clarett-level.

BREATHED, sighs of relief, by programs nationwide after the Auburn athletic department was cleared of puffed-up accusations it steered players towards fast and easy grades, though the fallout from the original New York Times story did culminate this week in the ouster of two AU profs. One of those was James Petee, the sociology department director whose massively untenable load of "directed reading" classes allegedly aided the GPAs of many, many non-athletes, which SMQ suspects from his 100 percent outsider position was exactly the coup de gras colleague/whistleblower/academic egotist James Gundlach was secretly aiming for from the beginning. Luckily there is a peachy consulting job waiting for Petee at prestigious Spicoli U.

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Gundlach: Worst...scandal...ever!

DISMISSED, for yet another "team rule violation," Oklahoma receiver Jermaine Hardison, whose description in the ESPN account has SMQ suspecting even Sooner fans are left wondering, "Who?" Hardison was a walk-on who never played a down for OU in three years.

Hardison's dismissal seemingly has no connection whatsoever to that of Rhett Bomar and J.D. Quinn - especially because no sane person was paying Hardison to do anything football-related - but does give SMQ reason to briefly reference the sweepstakes underway for the one-time blue chip QB. The latest: TCU may be out of the derby, but now Bomar takes a look at Houston (as a devotee of a potential C-USA opponent, SMQ would like to say, doesn't Texas A&M-Commerce have a beautiful campus? SMQ hears the girls in Commerce are pretty unbelievable...).

This week's quick hits:
FOX: USC All-American Jarrett reinstated

ESPN: USU player charged with felony distribution, suspended from team

Boston Globe: O'Hagan penalized: Harvard suspends QB for five games [HT: Da Wiz; Crimson captain and all-Ivy League linebacker Matthew Thomas was also suspended in July after an arrest for assault, battery and domestic abuse and breaking and entering]

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2:01 AM

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