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.
Posted by dawizofodds at 4:15 AM