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.

Ex-Western Michigan WR reportedly holding up payouts in $208 million lawsuit with NCAA

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It’s been well over a year since the NCAA reached a settlement in a class-action lawsuit over grant-in-aid/cost of attendance and yet the $208 million the organization is still just sitting in a bank account waiting to be doled out. While you might first think that this is the result of the usual dragging of their feet from those in Indianapolis, it turns out that is not the case at all.

USA Today is reporting that it’s actually former Western Michigan wide receiver Darrin Duncan who is the one holding things up. He withdrew from the class-action case but his attorney, Caroline Tucker, “attempted to obtain $200,000 from the plaintiffs’ lawyers in exchange for dropping the objection.” The lawyers on the plaintiffs’ side have naturally responded in force, asking either of the two to post a five-figure bond to cover their own legal fees resulting from this delay. The judge in the case, Claudia Wilken, knocked that down to $5,000 last Friday by calling Tucker/Duncan’s objection to the case “meritless and thus his appeal is unlikely to succeed.”

At this point, Duncan/Tucker can either put up the money and risk losing it to continue their objection or drop things and let the payments — which could go as high as $6,000 per athlete — begin. While this is naturally focused on money, there’s a bit more to what the former Broncos receiver is going through:

All of this is occurring against the backdrop of Duncan dealing with personal hardship.

Now 28, he has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to his mother and a GoFundMe page established on his behalf about a year ago. He has received death threats because of his objection to the settlement, his mother, Arleen Pollard, said in an interview with USA TODAY Sports.

It does appear as though a solution to this long-running saga is in the cards somewhat soon but until then, the wait continues before the checks can start hitting the mail.

Pitt reportedly poaches Mississippi State staffer to be new director of recruiting

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Could we have the start of a budding rivalry between Pitt and Mississippi State? No, but the two programs did see one poach a staffer from the other.

A source told FootballScoop that Mississippi State assistant director of football operations Reed Case has taken the director of recruiting position at Pitt. Both positions are off-the-field roles but as anybody who has worked in a football office will tell you, each is crucial to the day-to-day success of a program.

Per the folks over at FootballScoop, this is one of the first big jobs that Case has had at an ACC program in the Northeast but he’s got a diverse background from stops at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and East Carolina among others.

The move by Pat Narduzzi fills the vacancy left behind by long-time staffer Mark Diethorn, who previously served as the Panthers’ director of recruiting for six years before heading to a new job at his alma mater of Virginia Tech last week.

Recruit who reportedly didn’t have offer still commits to Virginia, Hoos pick up actual pledge from Danish recruit instead

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Ahh ‘crootin.

The lifeblood of every college football program, recruiting can sometimes give us some awkward moments and it appears we have another courtesy of Virginia. Let us first bring up this tweet from Philadelphia (Pa.) Imhotep Class of 2019 wide receiver Anthony Gordon, who seemingly committed to the Cavaliers last Thursday.

Great for the kid, right? Well, there’s just one problem, 247Sports says that Gordon is not actually a commitment for the program for a rather big reason:

There was an issue though, the 6-foot-1, 175-pound wide receiver never had the scholarship offer from UVA he reported in March. According to multiple sources, Virginia had not been in contact since March and no call was made to the Virginia staff before the post on social media.

So… yeah. This immediately brings Kevin Hart (no, not that one) to mind after the former offensive lineman staged a ceremony to commit to Cal even though the Golden Bears never recruited him nearly a decade ago. It does seem like there is at least some contact between Virginia and Gordon in this case though, as that report makes clear, it has been a while since the two have talked.

All is not lost for Cavs fans though, as the program did add a commitment from Emil Bo Andersen at their summer camp. Why would we mention this? Well, Anderson is not only a 6-foot-5, 280-pount defensive tackle that comes at a position of need, but he’s actually Danish and is apparently ticketed to a full-ride across the pond thanks to what he showcased at the UVA camp. Very cool and not the first ACC player to come from overseas either should his pledge hold up.

It’s never dull in the ‘crootin world.

Syracuse QB Rex Culpepper on beating cancer: It felt like beating Clemson

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There’s been a lot of cool moments across college football this past spring but one of the best came in one of the most unlikely of places: Syracuse. At the Orange’s spring game in mid-April, backup quarterback Rex Culpepper suited up in between chemotherapy treatments and managed to throw a (tear-jerking) touchdown pass in the final drive of the afternoon.

Fast forward a few months and Culpepper, after undergoing over 100 hours of treatment, was declared cancer-free in early June. Fully healthy and finally cleared to return to regular football activities, the signal-caller recently went through an offseason workout with his teammates and later spoke to the media about everything that has happened throughout the process.

And how did he describe beating cancer? Well, naturally he brought an a very special on-the-field victory from last season.

“The closest thing I can say is it felt like beating Clemson,” Culpepper said, according to Syracuse.com. “You just feel so incredibly ecstatic that nothing in your life could ever go wrong.”

We’re pretty confident that even Tigers fans won’t mind hearing that given what the quarterback has been through and what a joyful moment that it was for the program back in October.

Next up for Culpepper and the team? Fall camp later this year as he competes with senior Eric Dungey in one of the more impressive quarterback rooms in the ACC for a variety of reasons.