Rounding out tales of U-Dub

Given the general back and forth from last week's mention of the Seattle Times series about U-Dub football in the Neuheisel era, it seems worthwhile to follow up regarding the rest of the stories in the series. Suffice to say, two of the three don't make for inspiring reading, though the third is a welcome conclusion. The Seattle Times also published a defense of the articles in response to early criticisms, of which more anon....

So, the stories that followed the drunken debacle that was Jerramy Stevens:

  • Linebacker Jeremiah Pharms played for an entire season after shooting a local drug dealer for a bag of marijuana, having purchased from the s ame individual previously. Evidence against Pharms included a bloody fingerprint on a car belonging to a friend, but for a variety of reasons, it took 14 months for charges to be filed; Pharms took a deal for a short sentence and has been in and out of trouble with the law since.
  • Strong safety Curtis Williams was constantly in trouble for spousal abuse, a deadbeat father, a convicted felon, and managed to get arrested each of the five years that he played for the Huskies. Williams came to a sad end, dying at age 24, a year and a half after a spinal injury on the field left him paralyzed from the neck down.
  • On a more inspiring note, despite pressure from within the team, linebacker Anthony Kelly overcome the educational and social deficits of a hard upbringing to become engaged in his studies and in working with youth in South Africa, including adopting a South African girl with his wife. Well worth a read when you're feeling cynical about "student" athletes.

Overall, a pretty mixed bag.

As you might imagine, there's been some pretty strong responses to the article up in Seattle, including accusations that the Seattle Times are trying to scupper both efforts to get public monies for renovations to Husky Stadium, as well as recruiting. Executive Editor David Boardman addressed them here, focusing on the relative recency of some of the data, and the general importance of how the program is run.

Interestingly, Boardman did say this:

We did not intend to impact UW recruiting one way or another, though in retrospect the story seems more likely to hurt recruiting by UCLA, where Neuheisel is the new coach, than it does at Montlake.

That was pretty mild by comparison to this epic rant by Bob Rickert on OregonLive.

I rather doubt that there will be much of a "Thanks but Neu thanks" effect - Neuheisel's got plenty of coaching to do, but he's also inherited a pretty clean program and given players incentives to commit in the form of the coordinators. I'd be surprised if any bruins commits had changed their minds as a result of these article describing events that happened when they were probably in grade school. Interesting times ahead, any way that you slice it.

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