Game Misconducts

College Football's Real-Life Top 25

 

16. SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI (8-3)

Head coach Jeff Bowers's up-and-coming program is not without problems. In 1997, then redshirt freshman running back Dawayne Woods was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of loitering in a "drug area." That case was dismissed, but Woods was arrested again in 1998 on battery charges and failed to appear for a court date. The school took no disciplinary action. (Graduation rate, all students: 43%; football players: 49%; black players: 41%)

 

17. GEORGIA TECH (8-3)

Fearing he would leave for another job, Tech officials signed coach George O'Leary to a six-year, $3.6 million contract extension last year—an astounding 41 percent raise. At least he shares the wealth. The NCAA forced O'Leary to coach from the press box during his team's season opener because of an improper loan he made to former Tech running back C.J. Williams in 1996. The loan for $200 to $400, O'Leary said, was to cover a fine for damage to Williams's dorm room. (Graduation rate, all students: 68%; football players: 46%; black players: 37%)

18. TEXAS A&M (8-3)

Tragedies aside, Texas A&M has had a lot to contend with legally as well. Million-dollar-a-year coach R.C. Slocum had to forfeit a win last season after it was discovered that one of his players—running back Tiki Hardeman—should have been academically ineligible. Another player—freshman fullback Ja'Mar Toombs—was arrested earlier this fall for marijuana possession (charges were later dropped). (Graduation rate, all students: 69%; football players: 32%; black players: 19%)

 

19. PURDUE (7-4)

QB Drew Brees had a refreshing attitude about his Heisman Trophy candidacy: He actually instructed Purdue's SID not to send any literature or gimmicks promoting him to the media. Not all of coach Joe Tiller's players are so pure, however. The coach suspended senior linebacker Willie Fells in the spring after an arrest for battery, disorderly conduct, and resisting law enforcement (Fells returned to the team this fall). (Graduation rate, all students: 67%; football players: 48%; black players: 30%)

 

20. EAST CAROLINA (9-2)

ECU was a football feel-good story this season, having been displaced by Hurricane Floyd and upsetting Miami in temporary digs in September. Their "Real-Life" track record was so-so, though. In the last two seasons, two players were dismissed from the program, for unspecified reasons. Head coach Steve Logan has become the coaching candidate du jour, however, and his departure, if and when it occurs, could leave an up-and-coming program in disarray as it enters the tougher Conference USA in 2001. (Graduation rate, all students: 49%; football players: 51%; black players: 60%

21. GEORGIA (7-4)

Scandal rocked Tuscaloosa in October when vandals drove into hallowed Sanford Stadium and dug deep donuts into the mid-field Georgia "G." Officials were so upset over the "dastardly act," as AD Vince Dooley put it, that they offered up a $10,000 reward for info leading to the arrest of the evildoers. They could take that money out of the $100,000 raise coach Jim Donnan got in the offseason, upping his package to $750,000 per. (Graduation rate, all students: 62%, football players: 44%; black players: 29%)

22. STANFORD (8-3)

Violence at "The Big Game," Stanford's annual matchup with Cal, is growing into a tradition. This year, cops decked out in riot gear ringed the field to limit the outbursts that have cropped up recently. Last season, three officers were injured when fans stormed the field in Berkeley, and in 1997 there were six arrests and 23 injuries in a post-game rukus. This year, there were 20 arrests when the cops were pelted with eggs and water balloons as they moved in to clear out unruly fans. (Graduation rate, all students: 93%; football players: 81%; black players: 86%)

23. MIAMI, FLA (8-4)

Coach Butch Davis has been busy turning Miami Vice into Miami Nice: No longer do the Hurricanes lead the nation in assaults, financial aid scandals, and on-field obnoxious behavior. Still, five players were suspended by the school this year for academic deficiencies. The players—LBs Chris Campbell and Sheven Marshall, and DBs Delvin Brown, Darell Arline, and Markese Fitzgerald—missed the first four games of the season, with Fitzgerald scratched for one additional contest for "disciplinary reasons." (Graduation rate, all students: 59%; football players: 58%; black players: 53%)

24. ARKANSAS (7-4)

Hawgs head Houston Nutt caught flak for the first time in his two years at Fayetteville after he lifted the suspension of his star defensive end, Carlos Hall, after only one game. Hall, a sophomore, was arrested last summer on felony forgery charges for cashing $220 worth of checks made out to the university—a surveillance camera caught him doctoring the documents. He plead guilty to misdemeanor theft, but that wasn't all. Hall also was involved in a hit and run while under the influence. That led to two more guilty pleas for the 20-year-old. (Graduation rate, all students: 42%; football players: 25%; black players: 16%)

25. BOSTON COLLEGE (8-3)

Three years, 13 player suspensions, and two 4-7 seasons after a headline-generating season complete with a point-shaving probe, the Eagles are back. Tom O'Brien, a Naval Academy grad, was brought on board in 1997 to right the BC ship, and it looks as if he's done the job—even if one of his squad's three losses came after blowing a 28-0 lead to Miami. (Graduation rate, all students: 86%; football players: 83%; black players: 83%. Athletes make up 26% of all black male undergrads.)

This poll combines the AP rankings with NCAA findings on institutional ethical conduct, graduation rates, and exploitation of African American athletes. Graduation rates and enrollment data cover entering freshman from '89-'90 through '92-'93, all given six years to get degrees.

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