Dez/Deion mess gets murkier; Cowboys could lose wins

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If Oklahoma State was looking for a clean, concise and — most importantly — extremely quick resolution to the Dez Bryant situation, the overnight developments are pointing to things possibly getting worse before they have a chance to get better.  If they do at all.

According to Tulsa World, a meeting is tentatively scheduled for this coming Tuesday in Indianapolis between OSU assistant director of compliance Scott Williams and NCAA officials to discuss Bryant’s eligibility issues.

At the very heart of Bryant’s ineligibility is his relationship with Deion Sanders and why he felt the need to initially lie about it.  The best-case scenario for Bryant — and Sanders as well — is that the NCAA finds the extent of the relationship between the two to be exactly what they say it is — a jog here, a dinner there, and a kid who simply “panicked” and lied when asked by the NCAA about those innocuous interactions.

The worst-case scenario for both?  The NCAA finds that Sanders was serving as some type of conduit to Eugene Parker, an agent who represented Sanders during his time in the NFL and a man who the Hall of Famer still remains close to as the case of “Crabtree, Michael” suggests. 

For Bryant, such a conclusion would mean the end of his collegiate career, although he was very likely to jump to the NFL early anyway.  For Sanders?  I’m certain Mike Florio will have something to say about what it would mean to Prime Time.

According to the Associated Press, the issues swirling around Bryant and his involvement with Sanders — as well as another former NFL player, Omar Stoutmire — started well before the start of the 2009 season.

Emails obtained by the AP show that OSU was actively looking for a resolution to Bryant’s case before the season began.  And the reason for that is quite simple.  If the NCAA ultimately finds Bryant ineligible — remember, it was OSU that declared the receiver ineligible — the Cowboys could be forced to vacate any wins in which Bryant played.

In an Aug. 26 e-mail, associate athletic director for compliance Scott Williams mentions that Oklahoma State’s season opener was approaching – at that point 10 days away – and the school would need to make “a determination on Dez’s playing status.”

Even more ominous was an email exchange obtained by the Daily Oklahoman, with the NCAA reminding OSU that it’s the school’s responsibility to certify a player’s eligibility.

On Sept. 2, responding to an inquiry about Bryant’s status, an NCAA official reminded Williams “it is the institution’s responsibility to certify the eligibility of its student-athletes,” adding that OSU “must feel comfortable that Mr. Bryant is eligible to compete.”

OSU released a statement on Wednesday announcing that Bryant was ineligible because he “failed to openly disclose to the NCAA the full details of his interaction with a former NFL player not affiliated with OSU.”  The interesting twist, though, is that OSU wanted to include the relationship between Sanders and Parker in the statement.

“Would it be possible to release information regarding an alleged association between the former NFL player and an active agent? Would it be permissible to release information regarding the alleged workouts?” Williams asked in an e-mail this week according to the AP. “What parts of the investigation are we restricted from discussing?”

The NCAA advised the school to not include specifics of the investigation in their public statement.

It’s very clear that OSU will attempt to shift the blame for Bryant’s initial dishonesty to the Sanders/Parker tandem in a misguided attempt to curry some type of of favor from the NCAA in regards to their handling of the case.  What’s unclear at this time is what exactly the remainder of the ’09 season will hold for Bryant.

Another certainty?  Deion Sanders should be considered hazardous waste by any and all collegiate football player and institution of higher playing learning from here on out, and should only be approached while wearing HAZMAT-approved equipment.

Or, as Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News so eloquently put it:

For most of Deion Sanders’ 14 years in the National Football League, it was a good idea for wide receivers to stay away from him.

Apparently, it still is.

New Mexico AD Paul Krebs in hot water for Scotland golf trip

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New Mexico AD Paul Krebs (right) had it all figured out. He wanted to go to Scotland to play golf (who doesn’t) but he didn’t want to pay for it (who does?). So he came up with a solution: he’d turn it into a UNM fundraising trip and make the school pay for it.

The school sold 23 packages to travel across the pond for a getaway of luxurious accommodations and bucket-list golf, but put the bills of himself, two UNM executives and a handful of local businessmen on the school’s dime. Lots of dimes, in fact. The trip cost the Lobos nearly $65,000.

“The trip was a working trip and it was designed to immerse us with these donors. It was an intensive experience and I understand why people may question it,” Krebs told KRQE-TV earlier this month.

Despite his attempt at justification, it appeared Krebs knew from the start the trip was an ethical no-no. The $65,000 bill was classified as a basketball tournament on UNM’s accounting paperwork, and Krebs failed to disclose the nature of the June 2015 trip to acting president Chaouki Abdallah until last week.

“VP Krebs came to me and told me that he wanted to tell me something that he had forgotten or did not tell me before,” Abdallah told KRQE. “I was not happy.”

It is not clear why the UNM Foundation or the Lobo Club,  non-profits that handles the school’s and the athletics department’s fundraising efforts, respectively, did not cover the cost of the trip, especially since Lobo Club executive director Kole McKamey was one of the UNM officials who was on the trip. Putting the bill on the university’s ledger also appears to be a violation of the state’s anti-donation laws. The $24,000 cost to take the Albuquerque businessmen has since been refunded by an anonymous donor.

“(Krebs) told me about it in no uncertain terms,” Abdallah told said. “He didn’t try to sugarcoat it. He said I made a mistake. I didn’t tell you about it before. Here’s what happened. I’m going to try to fix it.”

 

Miami Beach Bowl officially moves to Frisco, Texas

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The Miami Beach Bowl was an unnecessary bowl game played in a metro area already populated by bowl games — but at least it was in Miami. Bowl games may have lost their luster over the past decade-plus, but it’s hard to complain about being sent to South Beach in December for a football game.

The Miami Beach Bowl is no more, and it’s now been reincarnated as another unnecessary bowl game to be played in a metro area even more populated by bowl games — and it won’t be anywhere near as interesting as Miami.

Meet the Frisco Bowl, the newest ESPN-created postseason college football game to be played in the scenic locale of Frisco, Texas.

The north Dallas suburb will host the game at Toyota Stadium, a 20,500-seat outdoor venue that’s home to MLS club FC Dallas as well as the FCS National Championship every January. The Frisco Bowl will also compete for sponsorship dollars and public attention with the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, the Heart of Dallas Bowl in Dallas and the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth.

“We are pleased to be able to host this game in one of the most vibrant football markets in the country,” said ESPN vice president of events Clint Overby. “The infrastructure and facilities that exist in Frisco are outstanding and will be an excellent venue for the teams, players, administrators and fans traveling into the marketplace. We look forward to working with civic organizations and businesses in the area to create an annual event that embraces the spirit of the community.”

The first annual Frisco Bowl will pit an American Athletic Conference team against a to-be-determined conference at 8 p.m. ET on Dec. 20.

2017 Texas signee sees felony drug charge reduced to misdemeanor

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It appears the door to one member of Texas’ 2017 recruiting class arriving in Austin this summer has opened a little wider.

In late February, Reese Leitao was arrested at his Oklahoma high school on a charge of possession/delivery of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to sell within a thousand feet of a school, a felony.  Tuesday, the Austin American-Statesman is reporting, Leitao pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drug possession charge.

As part of the plea agreement, Leitao received a four-year deferred sentence; provided he stays clean during that time, the charge will be wiped off his record.  The American-Statesman writes that, “[a]ccording to Leitao’s attorney, Leitao has ‘some probationary work,’including speaking engagements at schools, and will be under the supervision of the district attorney.”  A $1,000 fine was part of his punishment as well.

The ball is now in the hands of first-year UT head coach Tom Herman as to whether Leitao will have a football future with the Longhorns.

“I’m happy,” the attorney, Allen Smallwood, told the newspaper. “Hopefully the University of Texas will be happy.”

At the time of Leitao’s arrest, a statement attributed to Herman said that “[w]e’re collecting information, will talk to Reese and his family, let the legal system run its course and then address it further at the appropriate time.” As of this posting, the university has yet to publicly address the development.

Leitao was a three-star 2017 signee, rated as the No. 19 tight end in the country and the No. 8 player at any position in the state of Oklahoma.

Miami All-American, NFL Hall of Famer Cortez Kennedy dead at 48

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One of the most physically-gifted and talented players in the history of Miami Hurricanes football is gone way, way too soon.

The Orlando Police Department confirmed Tuesday afternoon that Cortez Kennedy passed away earlier today.  He was just 48 years old.

No cause of death has been determined, with the OPD stating that “at this time there is nothing suspicious to report but we are conducting an investigation regarding his unattended passing.”

After starting his collegiate playing career at the junior college level, Kennedy moved on to the University of Miami, earning All-American honors in 1989.  In 2004, he was inducted into the university’s Sports Hall of Fame.

The third overall pick of the 2000 NFL draft, Kennedy spent his entire 11-year pro career with the Seattle Seahawks.  In 2012, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Not surprisingly, Kennedy’s sudden passing has brought an outpouring of emotion from those connected to the football program.