• Too Much Too Soon! USA Today, on the heels of a similar report by the Worldwide Leader two weekends ago, is all over the growing phenomenon of early Spring entry by freshmen: the paper has tracked the trend in the six BCS conferences over the last six years and found last year's record 69 early enrollees is a 97 percent increase over the 35 players who left high school a semester early in 2004, and concludes it's all Tim Tebow's fault. Of those 69 this year, there's Jimmeh Clausen, of course, but eight others (twelve percent) participated in drills at Florida. Six came early to Texas, a number you can count on rising as commitments continue to come earlier and earlier in the process. Mack Brown says here seven of the 'Horns' seventeen (!) '08 verbal commits have already asked about coming to UT next January.
Early enrollee. Case closed.
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The tone here, though, unlike at ESPN, comes off to me as generally negative, citing Jevan Snead and Maurice Clarett, among other situations that didn't work out, and quoting mainly questions about the acceleration of promises and the potential academic upheaval. Brown is "sounding alarm bells" about the practice, despite being one of its heaviest practitioners, and Virginia's director of admissions, Jack Blackburn, calls early entry "an uphill battle. It's not fair for the student." Why? Because they miss prom? I did jack my last semester in high school. My sister's in her last semester as we speak and acknowledges there's barely any reason for her attend at all. Football stars aren't likely to have much more to accomplish socially. Jim Tressel says "it gives players a head start academically," as early enrollees are people who "tend to have their ducks in a row academically and have a plan in place." This is a route for achievers, I think, and should be encouraged - readily accepted, at least - if the grades are in order. It takes a while for a freshman to show he can play, and it can only help his adjustment time and his chances of helping the team immediately if that "prove it" phase comes seven months earlier.
In his suit, John David Terry claims that Chancellor John White and system President B. Alan Sugg should have done more to investigate e-mails sent by Teresa Prewett, a family friend of football coach Houston Nutt.
The suit claims that White and Sugg should have investigated a possible connection between Prewett, Nutt and running backs coach Danny Nutt, said Terry's attorney, Eddie Christian Jr. of Fort Smith.
Terry alleges that White and Sugg had a responsibility to initiate an independent investigation, rather than an investigation conducted by the athletic department.
The connection between Prewett and the Nutts: she was Danny Nutt's physical therapist following his brain surgery a few years ago. That was a tough one.
Arkansas officials surely are remorseful for the no doubt wrenching personal trauma suffered by John David Terry as a result of their inaction regarding e-mails that do not concern him or anyone in his family or employ sent among individuals who - I'm guessing, since the report mentions no link between Terry and Arkansas football or anyone involved - he does not personally know.
Here is the infamous letter, if you've missed it. You will not have forgotten it if you haven't and should read it again, anyway, for a shining example of the complete opposite of sane adult behavior. Nutt banned Prewett from the program, one of the few completely appropriate acts in this story in months. University Chancellor John White also responded, contrary to this insane waste of time of a lawsuit.
Not that I oppose frivolous lawsuits, especially where embarrassing personal e-mails, text message logs or other private information is involved. It's the American way, actually.
• Rich Get Richer! The long-term effects of the NCAA's pending text message ban in recruiting? It can only help the USCs, according to Mike Bellotti, who told the Oregonian, "It hurts every program from a non-highly populated area." Those coaches have to cover more ground, and are already barred from using highly sophisticated telephone technology from shortening the distance.
And then the recruits keep fumbling the damn ball, anyway. Dammit.
Beginning to think he could use a little space.
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• State of Alabama Prescribed Xanax! The Tuscaloosa News reviews Alabama's Spring position by position, as if half the state didn't just see it for their own selves. The paper is probably partly right about the "long and lasting impression of the college football world" created by the 92,000 people who showed up to watch practice Saturday - it really only solidified everything we already thought about Alabama football fans, which is that they will one day produce from their crimson ranks an obsessed, disillusioned, Mark David Chapman-esque shooter - but probably goes a little too far when it suggests the turnout "kill[ed] any further discussion on whether or not the University of Alabama should have made Nick Saban the sport's highest-paid coach," unless his expectations are limited to the A-Day Game.
• Quickly: Georgia's Tra Battle is optimistic about his draft prospects, but still, it's kind of hard to hold a two-day party... How necessary are 40 times? USC trackster Travon Patterson reinjured a hamstring running for football days before a meet with UCLA ... Fred Bennett is only the latest in South Carolina's "DB Club"...A third of Conference USA's coaches this fall will be new ... Ex-Michigan blue chip Matt Gutierrez has a message for Wolverine fans ... Penn State's offensive line? Gellin'? Don't make A.Q. Shipley laugh ... Colorado State's George Hill is making the rounds on national talk shows after his quick reaction to his collision with a four-year-old during CSU's Spring game. The boy? Thirty stitches, but recovering ... Nebraska's Dane Todd is on the clock: medical school, or NFL? ... and Jim Harbaugh thinks he's found his go-to guy.
The Rap Sheet
Crimes, misdemeanors and eligibility-crippling issues legal, academic, institutional and otherwise.
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Suspended, three Iowa State players accused of taking items from an unattended purse earlier this month, along with running back Josh Johnson, who was kicked off the team for multiple unknown offenses. Devin McDowell, Derron Montgomery and Jose Vargas allegedly "came into contact" with a purse on an Ames bus, removed unidentified items and threw the purse in a trash can after getting off the bus. They were identified via cameras (Big Brother is everywhere! - ed.). No word on the length of the suspension.
Dropped, a complaint against a Florida football player accused of assaulting another UF student at a party last weekend, cutting the guy's neck and throwing him against a car in the scuffle and attempting to steal a keg while being drug away three different times by teammates. The Gainesville PD told the UF student Alligator the alleged victim identified his attacker by looking at pictures on the school's athletic Web site, but had already changed his story Monday, a day before the original story broke, when he said he couldn't positively ID the players. My instinct is that it is not a positive development when the local police begin to use your athletics Web site as a de facto lineup.
Charged, with bribery, 10 Sports Marketing director Bill Henkel, agent of Adrian Peterson, among others. It was his efforts to woo LaDainian Tomlinson away from International Management Group, in fact, that has Henkel in trouble:
"To make it clear, there are no charges against LaDainian Tomlinson," said Brian Burgess, a spokesman for the district attorney's office.
If you can't trust an agent, who can you trust in this crazy world? Henkel expects his "loyalty of the players he represents speak for itself" as part of his "vigorous" defense. And to players he doesn't represent? Speaks even louder!