Sunday, December 18, 2005

Texas Longhorns: Doing What it Takes to Win (and keep players eligible).

I admit I'm biased against the Texas Longhorn athletic program. As a graduate of the top academic institution in the state, Texas A&M, I've come to root against the Longhorns whenever they take the field, in every sport.

The football team is enjoying their greatest season in years, and are playing for the national championship against USC in the Rose Bowl. Even though the Ags out-gained the might Longhorns by 60 yards, we still came out on the short end of the scoreboard. Clearly, Texas is deserving of playing in the Rose Bowl.

But how did they get to this position? How did they accumulate so much talent in Austin? Why is it that every junior who's a first-rounder-to-be stays in Austin for their senior years? Think Ricky Williams, Roy Williams, Cedric Benson, and Derrick Johnson. Each of these players was a sure-fire first rounder after their junior years, but chose to forego millions of dollars to return to Austin for their senior years. Care to guess what Vince Young will do after this year?

Another point of interest is the criminal behavior on the Longhorn team. Every program has their share of issues, but most teams discipline accordingly. A&M, for example, dismissed two of their young stars from the team (including their starting cornerback) after they were busted with marijuana. Here is a quick list of recent criminal issues in Austin:

  • Kwame Cavil and Aaron Humphrey among 4 kicked off the team for toking at the Cotton Bowl hotel. 2000 (not arrested)
  • Brock Edwards convicted of assault where the victim required facial reconstruction surgery. Edwards remained on the team. 2002
  • Benson arrested on posession and paraphenelia charges, 2002. Charges were dropped, and Benson remained on the team.
  • Larry Dibbles, Aaron Harris, Edorian McCullough and Selvin Young arrested for possession, 2003 The charges dropped after DA says illegal search and seizure, but players remained on the team.
  • Cedric Benson breaking and entering for his plasma, 2003. He was convicted, but remained on the team.
  • Matt Nordgren and Cedric Griffin assault and criminal mischief, 2003. They were convicted, but remained on the team.
  • Aaron Harris gets into a fight on 6th and gets breaking his jaw. Arrested along with Kaelen Jakes, 2003. Players remained on the team.
  • Erik Hardeman arrested for dealing in 2004. The trial is pending, and Hardeman is no longer on the team.
  • Ramonce Taylor, Cedric Griffin, and two other players investigated for aggravated robbery this December. Investigation underway, but both players will play vs. USC in the Rose Bowl.

    That's 9 incidents involving 12 players (including a couple multiple-offendors) in 6 years. Congratulations to Mack Brown to winning his first-ever conference championship in 20+ years as a head coach. Who cares if he has to play part-time warden?
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