Home > football, player issues, Sports > Reasons to Hate College Football -or- It’s a Cold World

Reasons to Hate College Football -or- It’s a Cold World

March 12, 2008

It’s a cold world, better pack your own heat. – Redman

via Wizard of Odds and Every Day Should Be Sunday:

Dudes get cut with eligibility left. That’s kinda rough; on an 85 scholarship roster, there’s no room to keep a kid you made a promise to?

In the case of Ray Ray McElrathbey, who was profiled on ESPN and in the NY Times for becoming the guardian of his then 11-year old younger brother (and taking him from his drug-addicted mother), he has graduated, and wouldn’t get much playing time,. He’s been offered a graduate assistant job, but perhaps after the fact of his forced departure came to light. Here is an excerpt from the Charleston Post and Courier piece:

McElrathbey had a difficult relationship with his coaches, reportedly because of academic setbacks and spotty attendance at team functions. During spring drills last year, he was suspended for four practices because Bowden said he was “having a tough time juggling academics.”

“I’m not sure he can do it at the level that he needs to at both ends,” Bowden said at the time.

A sociology major, McElrathbey landed on the honor roll last semester while taking 21 hours, according to Clemson. If he does graduate in August, he’ll have received his degree three years after his arrival at Clemson.

In September 2006, the NCAA made McElrathbey an exception to its long-standing rule against extra benefits, allowing him to receive aid in the form of a trust fund set up for Fahmarr, and also daily care provided by the coaches’ families. Fahmarr is still in Ray Ray’s custody.

McElrathbey was celebrated for his willingness to juggle academics, athletics and parenthood. He was named Person of the Week by ABC’s “World News”; he received the Keith Jackson Award of Excellence on the ESPN College Football Awards Show and appeared at the Orange Bowl in Miami to accept the FedEx Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award.

Davis said McElrathbey isn’t going public with his side of the story because he “doesn’t want them to badmouth his name if he wants to play football somewhere else.”

Davis wonders whether all this will have negative recruiting repercussions for the Tigers.

“There’s a lot of guys they recruit in Atlanta,” he said. “People are going to ask: ‘What happened to Ray Ray?’ His high school (Mays High), they’ve got a lot of talented guys coming out of there.”

Not that any other collegiate sport is much better; players are told “it’s better for you to transfer” all the time. Coaches have the power, and they do what they think they need to to keep their jobs.

Categories: football, player issues, Sports
  1. None
    March 13, 2008 at 1:48 am

    Big deal. Single parent soldiers are sent to Iraq all the time for a year. Ray Ray got a trust fund for his little brother of around 60k, a bachelor’s degree for free and a post graduation job offer that other guys would kill for.

    Clemson’s gone far beyond what they’ve done for a thousand others in a similar situation. Quiet whining.

  2. picodulce
    March 13, 2008 at 9:12 am

    I think you mean “quit” whining, and I think it’s important to talk about the power imbalance between coaches and players. I’ve seen it happen too many times (and to family members, also, in a less-revenue paying sports) and it’s a breach of promise. And when did that offer for a post-grad job come? After the news came out?

    As for your reference to Iraq, the government needs to do MUCH better by those people, also. What happens to soldiers who enlist (not just in Iraq) is damned criminal. Those people are giving their lives for our country, and what happens to them is worse.

    But a non-sequitor comparison doesn’t make coaches yanking scholarships saintly.

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