College football’s theme of the week: Sorting the suspensions

They’re waiting in Columbia. They’re waiting in Chapel Hill. They’re waiting wherever the NCAA has come calling this summer, which means they’re waiting a lot of places. Teams are waiting to see just who can actually play in the season opener.

This isn’t a Washaun Ealey thing. (Ealey has been suspended for Georgia’s opener after being arrested on two misdemeanor charges.) This is bigger, and it bears deeper implications.

For reasons involving the agent-funded party in Miami and an cheaper-than-Priceline hotel stay at South Carolina to possible academic shenanigans at North Carolina, high-profile programs have been given reason to believe that some of their bigger names might not be, shall we say, fully eligible.

The price of trotting out a player found ineligible ex post facto could result in a “vacated” victory. And nobody wants that. (Except maybe John Calipari, the Kentucky coach who’s the king of the vacates. But that’s a different sport.)

South Carolina opens against Southern Mississippi on Thursday night. The Gamecocks are under scrutiny because some of its players stayed, for apparently less than the rack rate, at the Whitney. Steve Spurrier told Neil White of The State on Tuesday: “We haven’t heard anything [from the NCAA]. We should hear something this week. They usually tell you before the first game.”

Then this: “If we don’t hear anything, we’ll play everybody we’ve got.”

Then this: “Well, almost everybody we’ve got.” The reference was to tight end Weslye Saunders, who’s under investigation for possibly having received illegal benefits from an agent. So is defensive end Marcell Dareus of Alabama, which opens against San Jose State on Saturday. So are two North Carolina defenders, and the Tar Heels face a high-profile date with LSU beneath the Georgia Dome on Saturday night. And now the North Carolina tempest has widened to include academic issues.

Spurrier announced Tuesday, according to Chris Low of ESPN.com, that Saunders won’t play in Carolina’s opener. Quoth Spurrier: “He’s not on the team.”

It must be noted that these issues could have a clear and present impact on the local programs. Georgia plays at South Carolina on Sept. 11, and Georgia Tech visits North Carolina on Sept. 18. Both Carolinas could be missing some men, perhaps several men. For now, nobody knows and everybody waits. As North Carolina quarterback T.J. Yates told the Associated Press: “We kind of want to know before[hand], going into the game. We kind of just want to have it set so we know who’s going to be playing.”

Trouble is, the Heels mightn’t like the answer. Stay tuned. (And, borrowing from Fox’s Chris Myers, I know you will.)

121 comments Add your comment

South Jax Beach Bulldawg!!

August 31st, 2010
9:49 am

When will the suspense end Mark……interesting and thougtful column!

Mark Bradley

August 31st, 2010
9:50 am

Wow, South Jax. You commented before I could even Tweet this. Warp speed!

South Jax Beach Bulldawg!!

August 31st, 2010
9:51 am

Depending upon the position and the impact of the player could missing one or two players change the outcome of the game over something like this. It all depends upon the depth of teams like North Carolina and South Carolina. Oh and Uno by the way

GT Alum

August 31st, 2010
9:59 am

I wonder how everyone who’s had UNC as their vogue pick to win the ACC Coastal the last couple years (including this season) is feeling about that pick now. They haven’t lived up to expectations so far, and now we find out they apparently haven’t even been getting the results they’ve gotten within the rules.

That said, I still hope UNC finds a way to beat LSU. The ACC is solid this year bandwagon will likely lose a few people if they lose to a team that’s expected to be at the back of the lead pack in the SEC this year.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Party On!

August 31st, 2010
10:19 am

Suspended players—it will not matter in week 1 against all these creampuffs that sec teams play (miami-ohio, la lafayette, san jose st., southern miss….)—-easy wins, even with backups.

Coolest in the Clutch

August 31st, 2010
10:25 am

Dawgtards ruin this state

August 31st, 2010
10:30 am

Isn’t this a full time job at thUGA?

Mark Bradley

August 31st, 2010
10:33 am

I can speak only for myself, GT Alum. And I picked North Carolina over Tech and South Carolina over UGA. I’m feeling smart.

FLA DAWG

August 31st, 2010
10:36 am

The fact other named teams have similar problems doesn’t ease the bite of our Dawg’s violations / acts / suspensions. This stuff happened for years but not to this extent. This has gotten out of hand.

Coolest in the Clutch

August 31st, 2010
10:40 am

I also wondered how everyone who’s had Christian Ponder and Jacory Harris as vogue picks for the Heisman, failed to mention Joshua Nesbitt.

GT had the # 1 OFFENSE in the ACC.

WONDER

August 31st, 2010
10:47 am

Let’e all be honest and admit the day of student-athlete is long over. It’s all about money now!!

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

August 31st, 2010
10:47 am

There are some tensions apparent right now. I got my a$$ painted and I was vocal about not liking it. Now, there is no decision on whether I will suit up for the home opener or another little dog will be in my place. Call it suspended or call if fired . . . just don’t expect me to mascot for you if you plan to paint my a$$.

What will it be, Coach? Your loyal little mascot buddy, Russ.

Does that sound like I am groveling?

SimpleDawg

August 31st, 2010
10:54 am

UNC looks to be the biggest loser in this mess, although the Gamecocks could lose a few players for more than one game.

I’d rather see UNC play LSU with all of their players just to see who has what. I think LSU will beat them either way. Yates has a way of keeping the Tar Heels’ opponents in the game.

I believe the SEC and the ACC will both have many good teams and that no one will make it through their season without a loss.

It’s going to be a very interesting year.

Dan

August 31st, 2010
10:55 am

this is really screwing things up. The NCAA should be required to declare suspension mandates a minimum number of days before the school in question has a game to play. Now none of us know who will play and who won’t, and the games start in 2 days. How am I supposed to make an educated bet without all the facts?

Permanent Disability

August 31st, 2010
10:57 am

RUSS deserves better.

Dawglasville

August 31st, 2010
10:59 am

Wow Mark, you should have reported something bad about UGA. You would be up to about 200 comments by now.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

ATL is TigerTown

August 31st, 2010
11:00 am

Mister Leslie sucks. I hope UNC tears him a new one.

D-Man

August 31st, 2010
11:01 am

Mark, I just can’t see Georgia losing to SC. I think the Dawgs can beat SC by just running the ball. I think the offense surrounding Murray is just that good. As long as he manages the ball and doesn’t do silly things, I think they can get through this one alright. If the defense of SC is silly enough to stack the line and leave AJ Green one on one and Orson Charles one on one, etc…I think it will be a long night for the cocks. (Pardon the pun).

Paddy

August 31st, 2010
11:04 am

Party On….So Miss a cream puff? Must not have followed college football for very long.

RxDawg

August 31st, 2010
11:06 am

UNC won’t beat LSU. They weren’t going to beat them before all of this extra stuff happend.

devil dawg

August 31st, 2010
11:07 am

I love the A She She fans on here that talk about the out of conference games for the SEC. Lets take a look at the opening games for some ACC teams:

BC: Weber State
Clemson: North Texas
Duke: Elon
Fla St.: Samford
Gay Tech: South Carolina St.
Miami: Famu
NC State: Western Carolina
Wake Forest: Presbyterian?

Right, so who plays cream- puffs?

reality

August 31st, 2010
11:07 am

Da’Rick Rogers will be playing. Dooley is all talk.

Facts

August 31st, 2010
11:14 am

Party On! – Tech opens their season against a cream puff in SC State.

Coolest in the Clutch mentioning Nesbitt with that name? Didn’t he throw 4 straight incomplete passes in the final minutes against UGA last year? Seems pretty clutch to me.

TommyP

August 31st, 2010
11:15 am

Exactly, reality. When will the national scrutiny turn up on Dooley at Tennessee with the way he’s dealt (or not dealt) with off the field lawbreaking?

Dooley’s supposedly won the press conference (dumbest thing said in sports, by the way) when he said he was here to “change the culture” in Knoxville.

Darren Myles resisted arrest with cops and received…..drumroll please…….”internal discipline.” (i.e. stadium steps) Fight with a cop = running. Yeah. Nice culture change.

A group of 7-9 Vols beat the crap out of a patron, kick an offduty cop in the middle of the street until he’s unconscious and resist arrest/flee the scene. So how does Dooley change the culture? Kicks off Myles and apparently everyone else is fine.

Bryce Brown situation? Botched big time.

There’s your next column, Mark.

NCAA

August 31st, 2010
11:18 am

Problems? No, we dont see any problems?

We RARELY see any problems?

And, when we do, its 4-5 years before we get around
to reviewing anything.

So, whats the big fuss all about?

angel dawg

August 31st, 2010
11:19 am

Louisiana Lafayette is a real powerhouse.

kevin

August 31st, 2010
11:19 am

All of these “Nesbitt for Heisman” folks are out of their minds. Newsflash–he can’t throw! Against Clemson last year (1st game), he was 4 for 17 with to picks. I mean the guy completed half as many passes to the opposing team as he did his own! I have seen better arms on chairs.

That said, the guy is a great runner and plays hard. Nesbitt is good at what he does–running the triple option. But, that will not afford him Heisman numbers/ worth.

kevin

August 31st, 2010
11:20 am

that should have read, “…with 2 picks.”

F*D-WADE

August 31st, 2010
11:20 am

Nesbitt is a below average quarterback with speed, running a gimmick offense. His passing accuracy is about that of Michael Vick’s. Does anyone seriously think he has even an outside shot at the Heisman?

WONDER

August 31st, 2010
11:21 am

I think it’s great that the Redcoat Band is playing Dixie this year. Sanford Statium will finally come to life!!!!!

F.A.C.T.S.

August 31st, 2010
11:22 am

South Carolina State was 10-2 last year.

T3

August 31st, 2010
11:23 am

UNC will likely beat LSU, with or without the players in question.

LSU was plain awful in 2009. It’ll be even worse in 2010.

LSU is still my #1 pick to finish Dead Last in SEC-West.

A loss to UNC on Saturay will GUARANTEE Les Miles gets fired.

Conflict of Interest????

August 31st, 2010
11:24 am

At the center of this investigation is a conflict of interest. Marcus Wilson, a former UNC football player on the NCAA’s staff interviewed Saunders as part of this investigation. The NCAA is mum about this issue. Let’s see now far this goes given the conflict of interest. “The Snake” in Columbia wrote an article on the conflict but here’s another perspective from the Sacramento Bee: http://www.sacbee.com/2010/08/28/2989829/ncaa-not-following-its-own-rules.html

Nesbitt for Heisman

August 31st, 2010
11:25 am

jimmymack

August 31st, 2010
11:26 am

at least the bulldog’s don’t seem to be involved in party gate.the hotel mess in s.c shows a heck of a lack of control by the coaches

T4

August 31st, 2010
11:26 am

UGA was plain awful last year.

SEC

August 31st, 2010
11:26 am

Didnt Tech have the same event for Dwyer? Dwyer for heisman! That didnt pan out so well. Oh and he was suppose to be a first round pick. Nesbitt is a great player but c’mon. Tech fans call Dawg fans crazy for always having high expectations and then turn around and do the same thing.

Theme of the Week

August 31st, 2010
11:29 am

A.J. Green has never been to Miami,
only to Shreveport.

ManUp...

August 31st, 2010
11:33 am

devildawg, it’s a good point you make. I, as a Tech fan, have never thought anyone should point fingers at the cream-puffification of the 12 game schedules. EVERY team does it, and I don’t care who we talk about. I give major props to teams like VT , UNC, LSU, Boise etc this season and Bama, Clemson, GT, Auburn, Notre Dame, etc in past seasons who have chosen to open with ranked and named opponents. Not that these teams don’t still play the little guys, but at least they’re willing to jump in with a real game every now and then rather than a tune up.

As far as the never-ending ACC v. SEC thing…well, I think there have been years worth of “put up or shut up” games between the two leagues, and so far the ACC’s job has been to shut up. Could things change? Sure. Definitely. Have they changed yet? I’d say yes since the ACC is clearly improving, and I hope the evidence is clear on the field in the head-to-head OOC games. I’ll stay humble about the ACC until we can produce a national champion in the same season as a winning head-to-head record against the SEC.

As a parting reminder, just because I’m not crowing about the ACC anytime soon doesn’t mean I don’t think my team is the real deal. Tech should impress this season. I’m hoping the players get what they want (to play for the crystal football and have their leader get some Heisman respect.) My actual expectations center around winning the Coastal, beating Georgia, and winning a bowl game.

kevin

August 31st, 2010
11:33 am

Nesbitt was not even mentioned on Todd McShay’s mock draft for 2011. But sure, he’s a heisman candidate. Get Real.

Breaking Yellow Jacket News

August 31st, 2010
11:33 am

Nesbitt’s Heisman campaign is now LIVE !

Facts

August 31st, 2010
11:36 am

UGA was plain awful last year and they beat Tech!! AJ Green didn’t even play in the game.

This year, you guys lost your best WR, RB, DE and FS to the NFL. We have 10 guys back on offense. The only guy that isn’t back (QB Joe Cox) was the worst player on offense.

UGA will beat Tech this year and it won’t be close.

Mel Kiper Junior

August 31st, 2010
11:36 am

Todd McShay
is an arrogant a$$.

Nesbitt for Heisman

August 31st, 2010
11:38 am

Louisiana-Monroe 21, Alabama 14

August 31st, 2010
11:39 am

Enter your comments here

ManUp...

August 31st, 2010
11:47 am

Facts, a lot of what you have said there is fact…but that last line is fiction. Don’t get me wrong, it’s exciting fiction for the loyal “Union March – Glory, Glory To The Northern Aggressors,” bark-at-anything-red, Dawg fans. But it is fiction just the same.

Save it till November or risk eating crow pie.

Lance

August 31st, 2010
11:49 am

Kevin– you are absolutely correct. Nesbitt is an awful QB. Great runner but that is it and that will not win you the Heisman. He has zero chance!