Vincent's Status For Bowl Still Up In The Air

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON - All those expecting linebacker Cortney Vincent to play in the Dec. 31 Chick-Fil-A Bowl despite a DUI charge hanging over his head may want to step back a moment. Apparently nothing is set in stone.

In a meeting with the press following Saturday's bowl practice, head coach Tommy Bowden was asked about Vincent. His reply indicated the reports which circulated earlier this week were premature.

"I've seen in the papers where he's going to play. I've seen it on TV and read it in the papers," he said. "But nobody quoted me saying so."

The reports that Vincent would play stemmed from a statement from Bowden released earlier in the week by Clemson University. Until Saturday, the statement was the only comment the coach had made on the incident since Vincent's arrest early last Sunday morning.

The statement, in its entirety, read as follows:

"I am aware of Cortney Vincent's arrest last weekend. I take the charges against him seriously. I have spoken with him about this matter. We will evaluate his status with the team and determine any appropriate disciplinary action after the legal process runs its course."

The confusion stems from the ambiguity of the statement's language.

It appears to say that any type of discipline Vincent faces won't happen until after his day in court, which at the moment is scheduled in January. As such, it was reported by several media outlets that Vincent would be allowed to play against Auburn and face discipline later.

Bowden, however, indicated Saturday that his statement concerned only Vincent's final status with the team. Whether or not he plays in the bowl game, he said, remains to be determined.

"We haven't decided that yet," Bowden said.

Bowden said he keeps a file on all his players, noting any discipline problems which might arise; problems not only of a legal nature, but other areas such as missed classes or tutoring sessions, misbehaving in class, missed weight room assignments, etc.

"I don't tell (the media) every time I discipline a player...," he said. "Some guys have money in the bank. How much? It depends. Did he buy an X-Box for Christmas or did he buy a candy bar?

"I treat everyone fair. I don't treat them the same. If a guy has a track record of good behavior and makes a mistake, he'll get treated differently than a guy with a series of mistakes."

Pressed on when he will make a final decision on Vincent, Bowden avoided giving a direct answer.

"We play on Dec. 31. What's today, the 15th?," he said. "I don't have to make the decision now."

In other notes from Saturday:

- Linebackers Nick Watkins and Tremaine Billie, along with offensive lineman Christian Capote, missed practice due to academic work.

All three have what Bowden termed a "grace period" to either turn in makeup work or projects, or take a final test. All three face the possibility of being ineligible for the bowl game.

"We'll know for sure by Tuesday," he said.

- Because of the rain, the team worked out inside the indoor track facility.

After a day off Sunday, the Tigers will practice Monday-Friday of next week.

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