Unsportsmanlike Conduct

College Football's Real-Life Top 25

7. FLORIDA (10-2)
Last spring, Gators coach Steve Spurrier threw receiver Derrick Jabar Gaffney off the team and revoked his scholarship. Gaffney was accused of stealing $245 and a gold watch from the Florida Field locker room during the state HS football championships, which were held there in December 1999. Gaffney later admitted to stealing $40 and agreed to pay $175 restitution; in exchange, no charges were filed. Spurrier reinstated him as a walk-on in August but had to "suspend" him for half a game after he made the dreaded throat-slash gesture following his game-winning TD catch at Tennessee in September. He may get his scholarship back next month. (Graduation rate, all students: 65%; football players: 50%; black players: 50%)

8. OREGON (9-2)
UO president Dave Frohnmayer fumbled a political football when he decided to stop paying dues to the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), an anti-sweatshop group the school joined in response to campus demonstrations. In making the decision, Frohnmayer cited dubious concerns about the school's liability should the nonprofit organization be sued. Many, however, think it had more to do with Nike CEO and UO alum Phil Knight. Knight initially reneged on a promised $30 million to expand the Ducks' football stadium when UO joined the WRC last spring. Oregon students accused Frohnmayer of making the decision to abandon the WRC in hopes that Knight would once again donate money to the school. (Graduation rate, all students: 58%; football players: 58%; black players: 45%)

9. NEBRASKA (9-2)
How'd you like to be a fly on the wall when Cornhuskers' defensive end Chris Kelsay and linebacker Mark Vedral hang out? Last spring, Kelsay's one-time girlfriend accused Vedral of rape. Vedral was cleared of charges at the trial in September, but testified that he had consensual sex with the woman. (Graduation rate, all students: 47%; football players: 57%; black players: 52%)

The Maize and Blue's corporate sponsors certainly get their money's worth.
illustration: Michael Dougan
The Maize and Blue's corporate sponsors certainly get their money's worth.

10. NOTRE DAME (9-2)
The Golden Dome has definitely been blemished in recent years. An age-discrimination lawsuit filed in 1998 by former assistant coach Joe Moore (who had been fired by head coach Bob Davie) resulted in an $86,000 jury-awarded settlement. Then, a 1999 NCAA investigation revealed that more than a dozen football players received gifts, trips, and money from a booster who had embezzled $1.4 million from her employer. Still, at 9-2, the Irish are on their way to a big-time bowl—the Fiesta—and a $13.5 million windfall. That's more than enough to cover legal fees, as well as Davie's new two-year contract extension. (Graduation rate, all students: 94%; football players: 82%; black players: 80%. Football players make up 33% of all black male undergrads.)

11. KANSAS STATE (10-3)
K-State pays its coach, Bill Snyder, roughly $1 million annually, and recently shelled out $13.3 million on stadium renovations. All that money and still one of the lamest schedules in college ball. This year, the Wildcats beat up on Louisiana Tech, Ball State, and North Texas for their annual early-season slate of cupcakes. Snyder, meanwhile, routinely incurs the wrath of his coaching brethren by refusing to announce player injuries during the week before games. (Graduation rate, all students: 50%; football players: 44%; black players: 25%)

12. TEXAS (9-2)
When the Longhorns opted to back out of their scheduled early-September game at Hawaii, Rainbows coach June Jones accused the school of "backing down from a fight." AD DeLoss Dodds said UT actually wanted to reduce the team's travel expenses—probably to cover its coach's salary. The school paper, The Daily Texan, reported in August that four of the top five UT salaries go to athletic department officials. Top 'Horn is football coach Mack Brown, who now receives a salary of $1.45 million a year, thanks to a recent extension. (Graduation rate, all students: 65%; football players: 56%; black players: 43%)

13. TCU (10-1)
The Horned Frogs spent an estimated $90,000 (including TV and radio ads, billboards, and bumper stickers) on a Heisman campaign for star tailback LaDainian Tomlinson, who was, at best, a dark horse in the race. A Web site featuring highlights of Tomlinson's career, biographical information, and "extras" such as "LT" wallpaper and screen savers cost $30,000 alone. Despite rushing for more than 2000 yards this season, however, Tomlinson finished a distant fourth in Heisman voting. (Graduation rate, all students: 62%; football players: 42%; black players: 34%. Football players make up 41% of all black male undergrads.)

14. PURDUE (8-3)
Kicker Travis Dorsch's performance against Michigan in October was truly for the birds. Dorsch, whose missed field goals have cost the Boilermakers three games over the past two seasons, missed a go-ahead 32-yard field goal with 2:11 left in the contest against the Wolverines and heard boos from the home crowd in West Lafayette, Indiana. Given one more chance with four seconds left, however, he made a 33-yarder to give Purdue a 32-31 victory. He celebrated by raising both arms—middle fingers extended toward the fans. Coach Joe Tiller opted not to suspend Dorsch, who issued a public apology. (Graduation rate, all students: 65%; football players: 54%; black players: 42%)

15. GEORGIA TECH (9-2)
To "teach" offensive lineman Dustin Vaitekunas what poor pass blocking looks like to a quarterback, Tech coach George O'Leary had four of his defensive players charge the second stringer at full speed during practice this fall. Two of them leveled the player, who spent several minutes on the ground gasping for breath after the incident. He has since quit the team and school and is mulling litigation for physical and mental injury. The school did not discipline O'Leary. In fact, he was recently given a six-year contract extension and named ACC Coach of the Year. (Graduation rate, all students: 68%; football players: 37%; black players: 31%)

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