COMMENTARY: New Details on McClinton Saga


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New details on Todd McClinton's status have come to light in the past couple of days.

It appears earlier speculation that the Clemson recruit had retaken his SAT or ACT was incorrect.

According to a source close to the situation, the Columbia native should have taken the test earlier. However, it appears there was a miscommunication between McClinton and the testing service on the date and time of the test. Either that, or one of the two didn't have the proper paperwork available on the testing date.

Now I'm hearing McClinton and/or the proctor have everything squared away, and he was scheduled to take the test two days ago. The source was unable to confirm if McClinton had been retested, however backup plans called for the former C.A. Johnson standout to take the test today if he missed Thursday's appointment.

Clemson will not comment on why McClinton's eligibility is being questioned, citing the privacy of student records.

However it is believed McClinton's second attempt at either the SAT or the ACT saw his score rise dramatically from his first try, which in turn raised eyebrows in Clemson's admission's office.

The school automatically red-flags any test score which rises over a certain number of points (300 or more on the SAT, for example), and sends the results back to the testing service for validation.

McClinton's absence leaves a gaping hole at the tight end spot for Clemson. With last season's starter, Pat Cyrgalis, kicked off the team late last week, the Tigers are without an experienced player at the position.

But despite being a true freshman, McClinton's size (6-foot-6, 250 pounds) and his athleticism made him a strong candidate to be the starter had he been in camp on time.

In the meantime classes start Wednesday, but the NCAA grants a grace period for athletes to enroll in school beyond the first day of classes. Still, even if he passes the test and is granted eligibility, the longer the process takes the less likely McClinton is to be a factor in Clemson's offense this season.

Meanwhile both parties involved - not to mention Tiger fans - are forced into a twisted game of hurry up and wait.

Which, other than bleed money from every possible source, is what the NCAA seems to do best.

Nothing.

***

You have to believe junior guard Will Merritt's nerves have been on edge the past couple of days.

He was kept out of practice Wednesday with what originally was thought to be a virus. However, after complaining of being dizzy and lightheaded, Merritt was sent to the hospital to have a battery of tests run on his heart.

There was some initial concern over his resting heart beat, which hovered around 40 beats per minute. However such a heart rate apparently is normal, at least for Merritt.

A stress test and other exams showed nothing wrong, and Merritt was back and practicing full speed Friday afternoon. He is expected to participate fully in Clemson's scrimmage at 10 a.m. today at Death Valley.

The scare brought back horrible memories for Merritt, his teammates and the Clemson coaching staff.

It was just four months ago (April 29) when redshirt freshman defensive end Brandon Rouse died suddenly of cardiac arrhythmia while watching a movie in downtown Clemson.

Rouse had never played a game for the Tigers, but was expected to contribute to the team this fall.

So, between Rouse's untimely death and his own scare, you can understand why Merritt probably delivered the understatement of the year Friday.

"You just can't be too careful," he said.


Dan Scott is the sports editor of Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Daily Messenger.
His columns can be read at www.dailyjournalmessenger.com.

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