• Slick Rick and Caveat Emptor. As solidly behind Rick Neuheisel's hiring at UCLA as Los Angeles appears to be, Washington is adamantly warning its conference mate: Let the buyer beware. There's already the obvious string of institutional malfeasance following Neuheisel everywhere he goes. Now, The Seattle Times, seeking to remind readers why, exactly, the road back to the top of a major college program began with a volunteer gig as a high school assistant, went in-depth Sunday - and will continue through the week - on the off-field adventures during the on-field glory days of Neuheisel's tenure with the Huskies, the 2000 Pac Ten champion/Rose Bowl team that finished third in the final polls but was besieged by arrests and criminal accusations, fielding an opening day roster that included:
Ah, the, uh, the good times.
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• A linebacker under investigation for robbing and shooting a drug dealer. He had left behind a fingerprint stained with his blood. By the season opener, police knew the print was his -- but they didn't charge him until the season was over.
• A tight end under investigation on suspicion of rape.
At least a dozen members of the Rose Bowl team were arrested that year or charged with a crime that carried possible jail time. At least a dozen others on that team got in trouble with the law in other seasons.
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Legal authorities weren't much tougher on Husky outlaws.
When one player was sentenced to 30 days in jail, the judge wrote in her order: "To be served after football season."
Another Husky, facing a felony charge of assaulting a police officer, was released without bail and granted a delay so that he could keep playing.
Yet another player in trouble was allowed to perform 150 hours of community service at football camps.
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Parker, the police detective who handled the case, recently said:
"I thought he should have been charged. I think most people in the Police Department thought he should have been charged. From the police perspective, I think there was overwhelming evidence that a crime had occurred. And then I think we should have left it to a jury to decide.
"I think we just felt, in our unit and in the Police Department as a whole, that this case was handled differently. And we felt it was because he was a University of Washington football star."
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A month later, Stevens pleaded guilty to hit-and-run and received a 90-day jail sentence, suspended on condition that he stay out of trouble. Stevens' parents took the truck's keys away from him. Neuheisel suspended Stevens from the first half of that season's opening game. Stevens said afterward: "It was hard sitting the first half."
Stevens has learned his lesson, Neuheisel said.
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Part Two, from today's editions, covers the investigation of linebacker Jeremiah Pharms, who had avoided a proseuction for punching another student in 1998 and in 1999 for allegedly assaulting his wife (who was charged her own self with assaulting Pharms' girlfriend in the stands during Washington's win over Oregon the next day), for shooting and wounding a weed dealer and stealing his stash in March of 2000. On Pharms' coach, who had been informed of Pharms' assault arrest the morning of the Oregon game: "Neuheisel said he had no idea Pharms was under investigation" for the shooting. Again, RTWT.
Good, detailed investigative work by the Times.
The Rap Sheet
Crimes, misdemeanors and eligibility-crippling issues legal, academic, institutional and otherwise.
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Dismissed, for threatening to "blow up campus" on his Facebook page, Wake Forest running back Luke Caparelli, who also promised friends and fans logging on to his profile over Christmas break that "for those left standing he will have an uzi locked and loaded in his bag."
Helpful note from the Winston Salem-Journal: "Uzi is a kind of submachine gun."
Whether he withdrew or was expelled from the university is in the air, if it matters - Caparelli apparently didn't want to be at their stupid school, anyway, also allegedly posting, "Tomorrow I return to the hell known as (W)ake, surrounded by arrogant, rich, spoiled little brats." This is probably not Jim Grobe's idea of exemplary team morale.
Only seven and a half months to go, Phil.
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Charged, with disorderly conduct, all-SEC lineman Anthony Parker of Tennessee, the fourth Volunteer arrest in two weeks. Four days after Phil Fulmer sent the whole team on early morning sprints in response to a misdemeanor drankin'/scrappin' charge against running back Daryl Vereen, Knoxville police Saturday came across Parker "yelling loudly and waving his arms in the parking lot of Sutters Mill Apartments," then refusing to leave the scene unless escorted in handcuffs to the local intake center, where he posted $500 bond.
Dismissed, officially, embattled Penn State players Chris Baker, Navorro Bowman and Knowledge Timmons, pending the resolution of court cases against the trio for their role in a fight in November that left a man with, essentially, a broken face. None of the three played in the Alamo Bowl, and Baker is also still awaiting charges on the well-publicized apartment melee that originally broke the bank on offseason charges last April.