Monday, March 10, 2008

The Truth Comes Out: Clemson Ran Ray Ray


The Ray Ray McElrathbey story is a special one. The Clemson reserve tailback gained national fame for taking custody of his 11-year-old brother Fahmarr in 2006, then received a rare waiver from the NCAA that allowed him to get assistance from the university and the public in taking care of his younger brother and still maintain his football eligibility.

On Saturday, Clemson announced that McElrathbey, who has two years of football eligibility remaining, was going to graduate in August and was no longer a member of the team.

Now the truth. Tiger tailback James Davis says McElrathbey didn't have a say in the matter. The coaching staff decided not to renew McElrathbey's scholarship for the 2008-09 season.

"He said something about how they weren't going to renew his scholarship," said Davis, who has known McElrathbey since their high school days in Atlanta. "It really surprised me. But there's a lot of stuff you can't say. It's something I guess everybody has to learn to live with."

Why is Clemson doing this, especially to a player — a person — with a heart as big as McElrathbey's?

After signing 25 players last month, the Tigers are over the 85-scholarship limit and have plenty of depth in the backfield.

"We're pretty good at running back right now," coach Tommy Bowden said.

Said Davis: "He knew in his mind they were going to do it. It's hard on him right now. I kind of feel his pain."

Davis suggested that of this could end up backfiring on Clemson.

"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."

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."

Clemson now says McElrathbey could become a graduate assistant this fall in the athletic department, which would help pay for his planned graduate school. But seriously, would you want to work for a school that just stabbed you in the back?

Last December, Bowden used an offer from Arkansas as leverage to get a new contract and a fat raise out of Clemson. And now he has discarded Ray Ray McElrathbey because he thinks he can do better.

Bowden can go to hell on this one.

Let this be a lesson to any recruit interested in playing for Bowden or any other coach who demands long-term security from their employer, but fails to show the same respect to their players. We can only hope a tsunami of negative publicity results from Bowden's decision because frankly, college football can use more kids like McElrathbey, a kid who has more character than his former coach.

Thanks to Get The Picture.

27 comments:

brandon said...

Man, I pray it didn't go down like this. That's one helluva young man to step up to the plate the way he did. With so man "men" ignoring the responsibilities that come their way because of their actions, I can't believe Clemson/Bowden would stoop to this level. This is a young man that went above and beyond to do the right thing. I'm with you. I hope Clemson/Bowden BURNS for this one.

brandon said...

uh...

proofreading ftw...

lawdog185 said...

Thanks for posting this and calling Bowden for what he is: an amoral career opportunist who leverages his public religiosity when it suits him and privately savages those who support him. Too bad many of the mainstream media in SC and elsewhere won't pick up on this story, as it highlights a lot of what is wrong with major CFB and how athletes are simply chattel used for revenue and then discarded by some schools. Clemson recruits, take note. The "commitment" is only one-way.

Anonymous said...

Pitiful! How Tommy Bowden got the Clemson job anyway is beyond me. He's not much of a head coach but he does have some assistants that recruit well. Things like this seem to be the way of the world these days; I guess Tommy is keeping up with the Jones? Clemson is rabid about their football, despite their head coach's abilities. They should have dumped him during the crier presser, then he would not have to dump players that give their all. Ray Ray deserves respect for what he's put in. If the recruiters aren't all it takes to take Clemson to the top; Baby Bowden (I know he's not the youngest) will get his just reward. Tommy can't touch Pop with class for others. Pop gives the best handshake I've seen when he's on the losing end of a game. Tommy is a real piece of work!

gerry dorsey said...

this very blog (and about 1000 others) would f'ing crucify nick saban if he did this. i'm sure the outrage is coming in tomorrow's edition.

Undrafted said...

I remember watching Ray Ray on ESPN thinking these are the people who deserve to represent universities each Saturday. What Bowden did is disgusting.

seamusfurr said...

May Clemson suffer 10,000 Citrus Bowl losses for this.

J said...

Uh... Ray Ray graduated, has not contributed on the field, and was offered a job. Sure, Ray Ray wants to play in the NFL, and I'd like to close for the Red Sox. It sure seems to me that Clemson kept its end of the bargain by allowing Ray Ray to get a college education, and went one better than that by offering him a grad assistantship. It would be nice if the story had worked out differently, and he was on the Heisman shortlist, but it didn't. He has a BA, a good job offer, not to mention 100k in trust for his little brother. Tell me again how he got screwed? I am not a Bowden fan, but throwing him under the bus for this is just retarded.

Anonymous said...

gerry - saban does do this, all the time, it's why he was able to sign 30-some kids with only 19 to give. don't get your point.

j - it's called class, and realizing maybe one schooly isn't that much of a sacrifice for a guy who's got a lot on the line, a guy who didn't cause problems for four years...not to mention the PR side of things...it's dumb on a lot of different levels...besides that, closing for the red sox would kind of suck, you wouldn't get very many innings (T12 despite winning the WS)

gerry dorsey said...

my point mr. anonymous is that if this story was about saban it would be presented in such a unbiased manner. there would be some hilarious (but not really) fark borrowed from the likes of losers with socks. just scroll down a post or two...you'll see what i mean.

CLTDawg said...

Here's where you'd like to see Mark Richt step up and tell his son to give up his scholly for Ray Ray and go to walk on status. With the extra $800,000 we just dropped in his lap, I'm pretty sure he can afford it.

Anonymous said...

Nice slanted point of view. Clemson and Bowden have done a lot of good for Ray Ray and his little brother. This includes paying for the bachelor's degree he's getting this August so he can enter the workforce with a level of skill with a grad assistant job if he wants it, something anyone who wants to enter the coaching ranks would kill for.

It also includes a $60k fund for the little brother's future education.

Clemson's done far, far more for Ray Ray than for hundreds of just as disadvantaged students that have attended there.

For some people, like you, nothing is ever enough.

eric said...

Nice slanted point of view.... why not write about the full story.

First Ray Ray has graduated
2nd he was going to be given a full ride for graduate school. He is a student athlete. Bowden basically stated that if you want to continue playing football you will not be seeing the field here at Clemson. WTF is so wrong with that, it happens everywhere, not just Clemson.

tater said...

Here's the deal. Bowden pulled his scholarship on Saturday! Monday when he saw the article in the Charleston Post and Courier the spin machine began to work. They then offered RAY a Grad assistant's position and offered to pay for the rest of his Education. The sad part is, Courtney Vincent has been Arrested 3 times at CU and is still on the team. Why not pull his scholarship?

Simply because Bowden needs room for a better player.

Also, Clemson people will say Ray Ray was not doing the things he needed to get better! Yet they offer him a GA's position? WTH?!
Give a man a GA position who is not doing what it takes? GA's are usually people who worked hard while on the team and will make a good impression on the current players! Spin Spin!

Anonymous said...

The kid just wants to play football at Clemson-that is the issue. Why does Bowden want him OUT if he clearly wants to stay????

Tiger Alum said...

I love a feel good story but let's look at the facts....

1) Feel good stories don't put fans in the seats but wins do. As a shareholder, I want to see wins, ACC championships, BCS births, etc. Competition breeds success.
2) I didn't have the luxury to have my undergraduate or graduate school paid for; Ray Ray will have that luxury without even starting a single position on the field.
3) He will get another $100K to support his little brother from a trust fund that Clemson lobbied to the NCAA for. Clemson will still embrace him because nothing has changed there.

There's tons of kids including myself at the time that wish they had that type of financial support. There's tons of scholarship players who lose their annual renewable scholarship, without being able to graduate, let alone go to grad school for free. Competition and the emergence of success brings out the best in a program but it also reveals the low hanging fruit. The media is all about being the first to break a "feel good story" or someone's demise. They don't have to put people in the seats, meet university presidential goals, and justify added expenses. If NCAA football was strictly about feel good stories then the stadiums would be half full on Saturdays.

Anonymous said...

I like Ray Ray but if this move helps TB win an ACC championship at Clemson (FINALLY) then I say bye bye Ray Ray and good luck luck.

Anonymous said...

Its my clemsons fault as much as it is bowdens

Anonymous said...

First of all, there is obviously more to this story than what this biased article states. Clemson hasn't won an ACC championship since '91, but Clemson has kept Bowden around because he is a good man with good morals and the players love him. I highly doubt this is how it went down...

More importantly, Clemson fans have been asking "WHY" since '91. If this went down in the worst way possible (The Wizard of Odds way), my response is this: It happens in schools all over the country on a yearly basis. If you want to win championships, you're going to have to show more intensity than pitching a fit and throwing a headset when you're hanging 50 on FAU. While I don't agree with a "win at all cost" attitude, if this is what it takes to win a championship then I hope Ray Ray enjoyed his free education and immediate job...because it's a lot more than I've received from Clemson University.

Anonymous said...

Contact the President of Clemson University: James F. Barker, FAIA
President
Clemson University
201 Sikes Hall
Clemson, SC 29634
(864) 656-3413
jbarker@clemson.edu

DBDR said...

See, the problem with a lot of your comments is this--when coaches recruit kids they almost always (and I would say ALWAYS, but threw in the "almost" just in case), anyway, the tell the kid that he won't have his scholarship pulled as long as he doesn't get in trouble with the law or not pull his weight in the classroom. Now of course a coach will do everything he can to get a kid to transfer, but it is just wrong to pull a kid's scholarship when he has eligibility remaining and didn't fail out of school or get in any legal trouble.

All of you Clemson fans (to the guy who referred to himself as a shareholder, I wasn't aware that you could buy shares of Clemson stock), I hope you guys keep explaining this away as you drink your moonshine by saying that this happens all of the time, b/c the fact of the matter is that pulling a kid's scholarship really does not happen very often, even in the dog-eat-dog world of the SEC.

bill said...

POOR SPIN. shame on this blog.

ray ray is looking to become a grad assistant rather than transfer. (i will also wonder aloud, knowing that he has a 2nd sibling he's wanted to care for, if it will allow him to do that.)

i think ray ray could contribute nicely on special teams, and would be worth a scholarship. but if he's graduating and has other priorities in his life, he might choose to stay in a COMMUNITY THAT HAS REACHED OUT TO HIM BIG-TIME. this could also be an opportunity for him to learn a coaching career, if he ends up wanting to do that someday.

this blog just lost a lot of credibility by not presenting balanced info.

Anonymous said...

The guy who said he is a shareholder is by far the dumbest person I have encountered in quite some time. Clemson is a public university, which I hate to break the news to you but this means it is run by the state of SC. Please issue an apology to everyone who momentarily became less intelligent from reading your terrible post.

Anonymous said...

he's not saying he's an actual shareholder... but if you give to the university, and have season tickets... you have a vested interest in the program...

Anonymous said...

I have season tickets at Yankee stadium and I don't consider myself a shareholder. I don't say that damn Hank Steinbrenner he should have done this because I have two seats all year. What I am is a fan who is exactly that. I have the right to go to the games and cheer not to pretend that I have a "vested" interest in a team and that in someway I should have a say in how it is run. People need to take a step back and look at the big picture here. If this person is donating money to the school for education purposes I'd be extremely suprised but then I could see his arguement somewhat.......but he's not a shareholder, he has no "vested" interest, etc. Be real, your a fan and that is it....nobody owes anybody anything.

emags said...

I think this guy's on SI.com is very similar to yours in form... perhaps not enough to be "plagiarism," but worth a second look nonetheless.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/phil_taylor/03/12/mcelrathbey.clemson/index.html

Cheryl said...

I dislike Bowden as much as the next person, but this isn't as bad as it's being made to be. He GRADUATED, and everyone has to move on some time. It's not like he was in the middle of his undergrad and it got yanked away from him, leaving him to find a way to pay. He has a Clemson degree and can continue to pursue his goals at another institution if he feels like he wants to continue. There is nothing wrong with giving the scholarships to people who are still pursuing a degree! Yes, he is an outstanding role model and an amazing person for taking responsibility the way he did, but he has an education now which is what college is about, and I'm sure will have no problem moving on.