Commentary: All Not Well At Clemson Despite Another Strong Class


by - Correspondent -
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Signing Day is supposed to be a day of joy and anticipation for fans of big time college football programs - a Christmas in Feb., if you will.

The two, sometimes three years of hard work by a coaching staff recruiting a player - building a relationship with the kid and his family - is supposed to pay off with an early-morning fax to the football office, returning to the school a signed Letter of Intent.

Often times the faxes are delayed by press conferences scheduled at the player's high school. Sometimes there are hi jinx or shenanigans which delay the process, like the switching of hats or a round of musical jerseys. All have become commonplace in recent years.

But by and large when a coaching staff arrives at its office that first Wednesday in Feb., it has a pretty good idea of who's coming and who isn't. Sure, there are always a surprise or three around the corner (Bobby Bowden swore a year ago he went to bed not knowing for sure where as many as 12 players would sign), but then what fun would Signing Day be without a little mystery?

At Clemson, however, a number of faxes failed to arrive on Wednesday for markedly different reasons. And a fan base, which should be celebrating what is still a very good recruiting class pulled in by Tommy Bowden and staff, instead is asking a very direct question today:

What the devil is going on at Clemson University?

The questions - and subsequent firestorm - began early Wednesday morning when WCCP radio personality Mickey Plyler reported that at least two players, and maybe as many as four or more, were declared off limits to the Clemson coaches by some sort of special academic advisory board at the university.

Apparently the way it works is as follows:

Every player Clemson recruits has already submitted high school grade transcripts and any ACT or SAT testing scores to the school. The advisory board reviews each player's high school academic profile, then apparently determines whether or not - in their opinion - the recruit could ever obtain a degree from Clemson University.

When the board decides a player wouldn't be able to make it through Clemson and graduate, apparently the coaching staff is notified that they can no longer pursue the athlete and can't put a scholarship offer in front of him.

It is an academic standard which goes above and beyond the NCAA requirements for admission and eligibility to a school like Clemson.

That fact alone is enough to ruffle some feathers, though there are a number of high profile colleges and universities out there who set their entrance and eligibility standards significantly higher than those of the NCAA.

But if Plyler is correct - and he repeated the facts as he knows them to be true on my show this morning, as well - the issue isn't just that the coaching staff was prohibited from offering a scholarship to these players by an academic board.

It's when they were informed.

By all reports, at least one of the most highly sought after wide receivers in the country told Clemson coaches as late as this past Sunday night that all was well and the school could expect his LOI to be faxed in Wednesday morning with no problem.

But - again according Plyler's story today - the academic board told Clemson's coaches Tuesday that they couldn't offer a scholarship to the wide receiver and some number of other recruits.

If that's the case, if the coaches were blind-sided by such restrictions this late in the process, then it's no wonder they - and fans alike - are upset today. The academic board, it would seem, has forced the Clemson coaching staff to compete on a playing field that's anything but level.

Earlier Wednesday on my talk show (Cruise Control, 9 a.m.-Noon on 104.9 FM, The Drive), I asked Clemson wide receivers coach Dabo Swinney if there was anything to the story.

Swinney's response was, and I'm paraphrasing, that he couldn't address the issue. Any comment, he said, would have to come from his higher-ups.

Anybody see a denial there?

Later, in his post-Signing Day press conference, Bowden was asked about the issue as well. He, too, refused comment on the issue.

Again, no denial.

Makes one pause and think, doesn't it?

The bottom line here, then, simply is this:

There is a rift between the academic world and the athletic world - especially the football program - at Clemson University. How large is the rift? How wide the divide?

No one knows. Or at least no one will say publicly.

But when a wide receiver Clemson can't even offer turns around and signs a scholarship with the University of North Carolina, it speaks volumes about the relationship between the two sides here.

Beneath the beauty of this campus nestled around Lake Hartwell, there could be an ugly battle beginning to brew.

Meanwhile, though he walks without a limp, Wednesday's events only seem to further highlight the speculation that Bowden is, indeed, a lame-duck coach.

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Subject (Replies: 72) Author
Commentary: All Not Well At Clemson Despite Another Strong Class
Crump®
What the devil is going on at Clemson University?***
daveman018
Fire Barker.***
TheHill2
Last sentence...wow.***
luckyj®
I'm not sure if that last sentence follows from the story.***
MDT1GER
####! This pisses me off!
CUinDE
Bottom line: This is an outrage.
00Grad
Nah... just add Hillbilly BArker to the idiot list for me..
deleted
Re: Nah... just add Hillbilly BArker to the idiot list for me..
orangeaddict
Re: Nah... just add Hillbilly BArker to the idiot list for me..
cubobby80
Re: Nah... just add Hillbilly BArker to the idiot list for me..
cubobby80
Explained fairly well Dan. Good job summarizing everything.
Tiggity®
Re: Explained fairly well Dan. Good job summarizing everything.
roarmore51
wow.
Colapaw®
Problem is that this isn't the ACC. It's internal and it
Tiggity®
yeah, I'm looking forward to hearing the other side of this
Colapaw®
Re: Problem is that this isn't the ACC. It's internal and it
cubobby80
Well for those wanting Bowden gone, you might get your wish.
clemsontyger
mediocrity...looooooong term***
CUinDE
How long has the "Academic c***
mtnbee
sorry about that...but how long has the "Academic Committee"
mtnbee
Barker's dream coach: Al Groh?***
MDT1GER
The Last Thing we need
Country Gentleman®
it's a logical conclusion to be drawn...
HoyaTiger
Re: The Last Thing we need - off target about Bowden
bparent
"Solid Barker" "One Barker"***
OldManTiger
Re: Commentary: All Not Well At Clemson Despite Another Strong Class
BlockC61
Re: Commentary: All Not Well At Clemson Despite Another Strong Class
preacher
Re: Commentary: All Not Well At Clemson Despite Another Strong Class
cubobby80
so where is the info on our recruiting class?????????????***
tigerjim®
Gee, Dan, thanks for your original thoughts.***
jdenlaw
Love the article!***
Clemson_Orange
Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaam
TS_Tiger®
Re: Commentary: All Not Well At Clemson Despite Another Stro
tdr1991®
Re: Commentary: All Not Well At Clemson Despite Another Strong Class
cwp74
Re: Commentary: All Not Well At Clemson Despite Another Strong Class
buck1973
discrimination***
buck1973
Clemson's internal staff. or whatever sickens me. get rid of
tgrpride7
Re: Clemson's internal staff. or whatever sickens me. get rid of
cubobby80
Just one more reason for me to dislike Barker...***
Clemson327
Re: Just one more reason for me to dislike Barker...***
cubobby80
I think Barker's great
tmmicha
Re: I think Barker's great
cubobby80
Normally support Dan, but..
DownunderTiger®
Re: Normally support Dan, but..
cubobby80
Here Here
tmmicha
So Dan doesn't like Bowden, GET OVER IT FOLKS!
Kinghunterx5
Re: Commentary: All Not Well At Clemson Despite Another Strong Class
tdelc
I agree.***
tmmicha
Re: Commentary: All Not Well At Clemson Despite Another Strong Class
tdelc
Last time I checked this kid got into UNC
Clemson327
Re: Last time I checked this kid got into UNC
tmmicha
Re: Last time I checked this kid got into UNC
cubobby80
Re: Last time I checked this kid got into UNC
eye_of_the_tiger
Re: Commentary: All Not Well At Clemson Despite Another Strong Class
cubobby80
Please tell me you are kidding.***
tmmicha
Are you all a bunch of idiots?
tmmicha
Re: Are you all a bunch of idiots?
cubobby80
Re: Are you all a bunch of idiots?
OldCUTFan
"if there is no way he will be able to qualify?" THERE WAS
cadcock
So the kid gets into UNC, but not Clemson......
ClemsonZJ
What good is...
danielatclemson
Re: Are you all a bunch of idiots?
Knuck
Finally an articulate post
tmmicha
Re: Are you all a bunch of idiots?
Kinghunterx5
I am completely OK with CU being more selective than UNC******
74leroy
Re: I am completely OK with CU being more selective than UNC******
bparent
Re: I am completely OK with CU being more selective than UNC******
danielatclemson
Re: Commentary: All Not Well At Clemson Despite Another Strong Class
paws1973
Top tier football will raise Clemson academics
Razzmatazz
Re: Commentary: All Not Well At Clemson Despite Another Stro
Bdawks20
Re: Commentary: All Not Well At Clemson Despite Another Strong Class
whitehurstfan09
Re: Commentary: All Not Well At Clemson Despite Another Strong Class
bubba25

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