NCAA Scholar-Athletes…

I am sure you have heard about the three Tennessee football players who were arrested for attempted armed robbery of a guy at a gas station filling his car with gas. The police released one of the three; the other two have been released from the Tennessee football team. Nothing horribly unusual in the story so far; these kinds of things happen…

However, think back to the time just after Lane Kiffen got the job at Tennessee and he was engaged in an intense recruiting battle with Urban Meyer at Florida for WR, Nu’Keese Richardson. This was the case that caused Lane Kiffen to accuse Urban Meyer – wrongly – of “recruiting violations” even though Richardson enrolled at Tennessee. There were no violations; these accusations did not sit well with Florida football folks; it was a tad embarrassing at the time but it gets better…

You guessed it; Nu’Keese Richardson was one of the guys arrested in the attempted armed robbery and one of the guys released from the Tennessee football team. So, I guess Lane Kiffen was doubly wrong here:

    1. He was wrong to accuse Urban Meyer of “cheating” on the recruiting trail.

    2. He was the coach that wound up with Nu’Keese Richardson and had to deal with jettisoning him.

I am sure this will work out just fine in the end since this scholar-athlete will now have sufficient time to hit the books and “go pro in something other than athletics”.

In another interesting twist involving NCAA scholar athletes, the University of Minnesota prize basketball recruit, Royce White, has a lawyer actively trying to resolve a variety of charges against White. It seems as if White stands accused of theft and assault at the Mall of America and is one of the folks targeted in an investigation into the theft of a laptop computer from a dorm room at Minnesota just a couple of days after the Mall of America caper. Tubby Smith has suspended White pending resolution of all this “stuff”.

However, it gets better… Not all of this should surprise Tubby Smith and the Athletic Department; Royce White did not arrive at Minnesota with a pristine record. He was suspended twice as a junior in high school and ultimately dismissed from DeLaSalle High School for “academic mistakes”.

Let me say this. If – - I said IF – - the authorities ever find that laptop computer in White’s possession, I am going to guess that it is not filled with term papers and lab reports that White wrote on his own. I wonder what he will be going pro in “other than athletics”.

David Whitley had this item in a recent column at It seems as if Professor Whitley and I share similar views about NCAA scholar-athletes:

“ ‘We have become the laughingstock of Spain.’

”So said a politician from the country’s Extremadura region, where students are now offered a sex-education class in ‘self-pleasure.’

”The American term for that is … well, I’m not going there. But I know it’s only matter of time until the University of Kentucky turns it into an academic major to help John Calipari sign players.”

Brandon Jennings scored 55 points in a game against the Warriors recently and that feat has brought a lot of attention to Jennings and his decision to skip a freshman year in college to play pro basketball in Italy. People have begun to say that his notoriety will take other high school kids to Europe as pros rather than to the NCAA institutions for their one-year apprenticeship for the NBA. Before going completely overboard here, allow a little thought to enter the processes:

    1. The 55-point game was an important accomplishment. Only Wilt Chamberlain – - a scorer of some repute – - has scored more points in a game as a rookie. That was in the 1950s…

    2. The 55-point game came against the Warriors. Let me say that the Warriors’ defense is about as intense as the defense played by your typical “Over-30 Rec League” teams.

    3. Jennings’ status as a role model will hinge on his accomplishments on the court to a degree AND on his image off the court to at least the same degree. Until we see how that image plays out in the minds of teenagers, I would not anoint him as the Pied Piper of Basketball.

With Allen Iverson out there as a free agent – and presumably waiting for God to place him in his next basketball venue – there is a lot of speculation about where Iverson might go and/or where he should go.

The NY press says that the Knicks are preparing an offer to Iverson. I have one question here:

    Did the Knicks learn anything – anything at all – from the Stephon Marbury Era? I am not sure Iverson is more of a “team-player” than Marbury was. He is more talented than Marbury but he is also extremely difficult to deal with. The phrase “coach-killer” comes to mind…

Orlando Sentinel columnist, George Diaz, wants the Magic to sign Iverson. Why? The Magic need someone to fill in for Jameer Nelson who will be on the shelf for the next 5-8 weeks. Here is the key question the Magic will need to deal with:

    Then what?

Michael Wilbon says the best place for Iverson is in Cleveland with LeBron and Shaq.

    How is that going to work? There is only one ball allowed on the court at one time in a game.

Finally, here is a comment from Jim Armstrong in the Denver Post regarding a highly touted football recruit at Colorado:

“Just wondering: If CU recruit Munchie Legaux makes it big in Boulder, wouldn’t he be a natural for a medical-marijuana endorsement?”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…

Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.


  • Rich  On November 21, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    I think the Knicks did learn a lesson from the Marbury episode. They are passing on Iverson.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On November 23, 2009 at 11:57 am


    Good move by the Knicks – - and that is a sentence that has not been typed all that often over the past 5 years or so.

    Of course, Allen Iverson would have you believe that God did not want him playing in NYC and that is why the Knicks turned down Iverson’s offer to play for them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>