Game Misconducts

College Football's Real-Life Top 25

7. KANSAS STATE (10-1)

Million-dollar coach Bill Snyder has resurrected football on the plains, and, some say, a university as well. Snyder's program has been fortunate in other respects. Last winter, the Wildcats escaped serious NCAA penalty in the case of a top junior college recruit who took money from a booster to buy a used car. KSU declared the player, Frank Murphy, ineligible for four games and disassociated itself from the booster. (Graduation rate, all students: 46 %; football players: 47%; black players: 26%)

8. MICHIGAN (9-2)

illustration by Jeff Wong

The Wolverines have money issues. Matthew Schembechler, son of Bo, the Wolverines coaching legend and AD, is suing his father and the university for $500,000 for lost business opportunities. Matthew is accusing UM of reneging on a contract that entitled him to remove old seats from Michigan Stadium and sell them to raise money for a cancer center in his mother's (and Bo's ex-wife's) name. Meanwhile, two Wolverines players—lineman Jason Brooks and fullback Ray Jackson—were suspended from the team last January in connection with an alleged burglary and altercation at a UM frat house. Another, cornerback Will Peterson, was suspended from the team after being charged with stealing money from a stripper's purse while she performed in a dorm room. Two other Wolverines—linemen Jonathan Goodwin and Maurice Williams—were charged in connection with an embezzlement scheme at a local Kmart. (Graduation rate, all students: 83%; football players: 52%; black players: 43%)

9. MICHIGAN STATE (9-2)

Warning, Baton Rouge: Nick Saban ain't exactly a strict disciplinarian. Saban, who left East Lansing for LSU earlier this month, took a lot of heat for repeatedly forgiving talented receiver Robert Newkirk despite his eight arrests in two-plus years with the team. Under Saban, Newkirk never missed a game until he left the program for personal reasons in 1998. After Newkirk pleaded guilty in the spring of 1998 to two counts of assault and battery for tossing a man into a dumpster and getting into a fight with a dorm worker, Saban announced that Newkirk had been placed "on probation" and was "one misstep away" from being suspended. The quote made national headlines. Under media scrutiny, Saban finally suspended tailback "Little" John Flowers last year after he was arrested for shooting craps in a Kalamazoo park. (Graduation rate, all students: 67%; football players: 40%; black players: 28%)

10. FLORIDA (9-3)

Sanctimonious coach Steve Spurrier, as judgmental of quarterbacks as he is of in-state rival Bowden, has remained relatively mum recently as school police investigate allegations that agents funneled money and gifts to players in order to get the inside track on representing them as pros. Former UF players Jevon Kearse (now with the NFL Titans), Johnny Rutledge, and Reggie McGrew all claim to have received gifts from renegade agent Tank Black. Two other former players—Dock Pollard and Tim Beauchamp—allegedly received similar benefits from agent Sean Alfortish. The investigation is ongoing. (Graduation rate, all students: 64%; football players: 52%; black players: 44%)

11. MARSHALL (12-0)

Thundering Herd coach Bob Pruett signed a new seven-year contract in November entitling him to a $132,000 annual salary through 2007. The deal was meant to end any speculation about the coach's future at Marshall, his alma mater. "We're just happy we worked this out and ended any speculation before there is anything to speculate about," Pruett said at the time. Less than a month later, however, the coach had reportedly agreed to a much more lucrative deal with the University of Houston before backing out less than 24 hours later. (Graduation rate, all students 35%; football players: 42%; black players: 44%)

12. MINNESOTA (8-3)

An investigation conducted by a Minneapolis law firm last spring found that athletic department officials ignored several complaints of sexual misconduct and assault involving star athletes (seven of them football players) over the past six years. The 110-page report will result in policy changes, school officials say. One employee cited in that report, Rufus Simmons, who coordinated sexual violence awareness training for the school's male athletes before retiring in July, was arrested in June for soliciting prostitution. It was his second such offense in the past eight years. (Graduation rate, all students: 50%; football players: 50%; black players: 29%. Athletes make up 52% of all black male undergrads.)

13. PENN STATE (9-3)

Million-dollar coach Joe Paterno couldn't control his All-America linebacker, LaVar Arrington, in a game against Pitt. Arrington repeatedly attacked Panther punter Greg DeBolt in an embarrassing display. (Graduation rate, all students: 79%; football players: 78%; black players: 82%)

 

14. TEXAS (9-4)

While coach Mack Brown's players have avoided any off-the-field incidents during his two years at the helm, Texas fans may not have to wait long. Several players he recruited at UNC—where he coached until he left for a 10-year, $10 million-plus contract with Texas in 1998—have had brushes with the law, making life difficult for his embattled successor, Carl Torbush. (Graduation rate, all students: 65%; football players: 57%; black players: 48%)

15. MISSISSIPPI STATE (9-2)

When it comes to team discipline, Bulldogs coach Jackie Sherrill isn't exactly taking the bull by the horns. The man who once had a bull castrated in front of his players to inspire them for a game against Texas has watched this fall as four of his players were arrested in connection with an on-campus fight (though only one was found guilty of any wrongdoing). (Graduation rate, all students: 48%; football players: 57%; black players: 50%)

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